Friday Offcuts – 17 April 2014

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The biennial gathering of major forestry managers, fund managers and institutional investors finished up in Melbourne on Tuesday. Over 200 industry leaders met in both New Zealand and Australia as part of the Forest Industry Engineering Association’s Forest Investment and Market Outlook 2014 series. Some of the key drivers and investment trends shaping timberlands investment, both in this region and globally were discussed by forestry investment specialists from Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.

From the significant number of recent acquisitions in Australasia, equity investors are very focused on this investment class. The two-day programmes in both countries provided an insight into just where forest owners need to be positioned in the current environment to make the most of their own businesses. As expected, China, both as an investor and as an investment destination was one of the key themes for this latest conference series. We have included a short story in this week’s issue on a veneer revolution occurring in a southern region in China. In another story, we report on how it’s not just logs leaving our shores to China. Lumber is being imported into China in increasing volumes, up a massive 18.9% last year compared to 2012.

Two weeks ago we profiled the dramatic drop off in new plantings in this region. This week the NZFOA (see story below) suggests that the NZ Government is still “sitting on its hands” when it comes to policies to actively encourage new tree planting. The added incentive to the politicians in the international arena right now (aside from September’s election of course) is the ETS – which is likened at the moment by the NZFOA to a “patient on life support”. Increasing deforestation right now is leading to forestry moving from a being a carbon sink to being a carbon source – a fact you’d think would make the politicians sit up and take notice.

Finally, on the technology front, we have more details on the already very popular Wood Flow Logistics 2014 event being run for forestry managers, harvesting contractors and transport operators in both countries in mid-June and a story linked to the Wood Innovations 2014 event being run in Australia and New Zealand in September. Accsys Technologies Director of Business Development, Eddie Pratt based in the UK who founded Accsys Technologies has confirmed that he'll be speaking to local companies on the wood modification technology and the growth of the company as part of this event. Further information can be found on www.woodinnovations2014.com.



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Call to reverse forestry research collapse

Plans to revive Australia's forest products research have again been outlined at a national forestry investment conference. The Forest Investment & Market Outlook 2014 conference heard funding for forestry research and development has collapsed from a peak of AU$100M to AU$25M this year. The cuts have seen 200 forestry research and development jobs lost, leaving fewer than 80 positions in Australia.

But Forests and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) statistics show forestry and timber harvesting activity is starting to rise with demand for softwoods for Australian housing and for woodchips in China. FWPA managing director, Ric Sinclair says the industry is now looking at long-term investment in research to drive productivity gains.

"One of the challenges of the forest sector is that it is long-term investment," he said. "Making the right investments at the start of the cycle is about achieving that productivity”. "There's a proposal at the moment by the Australian Forest products Association, AFPA, to create a research institute. This is a long term proposal about holding the research capacity in a new structure, whether that is in one location or across several nodes”.

"We are also in the process of developing a bid for a CRC, which is very much focussed on how we transform the sector, given that we know the future markets and what are the type of products that are required. It's really aimed on the principle that we know the trees that are in the ground, for the nest 15 to 20 years, we know their qualities: what is the best way to process those to ensure a sustainable and profitable sector? "There are three themes we are looking at: solid wood products, as well as engineered products and new engineered biomaterials".

Source: ABC



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A new face of wood processing in China

China understandably was a key focus for the just completed Forest Investment & Market Outlook 2014 (FIMO 2014) series run for senior forestry managers and institutional investors over the last two weeks by FIEA. Over 200 attended and the Australian leg of the series finished in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Johnathan Wu, Associate Director, Premium China Fund Management, Bill Liley, Managing Director and Bill Lu, Senior Consultant, China Operations, Indufor, Bruce Easton, Managing Director, Asia Pacific Resource Management Service and Jon Dey, Director, FORME Consulting reviewed investment options and trends in investing in China timberlands as well as providing an insight into the underlying trends and projections for the country’s growth.

Guigang was selected as one case study detailing just how the Guangxi region in Southern China has led a veneer revolution and is now a rising star in the country’s wood processing activities. Whereas just 10 years ago there was virtually no wood processing in the region, the Guigang processing centre has now over 2000 mills ( more than 3000 registered lathes) operating today.

Over 1700 veneer mills are concentrated on eucalypt veneer production with 270 plywood mills now producing plywood and concrete formwork. In 2013, Guigang’s plywood production reached 4 million m3 (which equates to 5.5 million m3 in round log form) of air dried veneer production. With each lathe needing 0.4 ha to air dry the veneer sheets, over 1200 ha is now required for a veneer drying field. The area is so large – it can be picked up quite easily on Google Earth.

As well as veneer operations the region now boasts large and modern MDF and Particle Board plants and is leading the trend in establishing new plantations, both regionally and globally. In total, Guangxi has approximately 1.4 million ha of eucalypt plantations, around 50% of China’s total eucalypt plantation area.

Guigang is an amazing new face of wood processing in China. New veneer mills will continue to be built – as there is a continued ramp up in harvesting activities. Details on how this presentation – and other presentations given as part of FIMO 2014 – can be downloaded by those participating in this latest series will be sent out to all delegates in the near future.

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FWPA has grand designs on TV ad

On Sunday April 6th across Australia, television viewers were greeted by award-winning architect Peter Maddison, host of Grand Designs Australia, promoting wood for Planet Ark and Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA). The commercial, produced under Planet Ark’s Environmental Edge brand and co-branded Wood. Naturally Better.™ returns to free-to-air and pay TV in metropolitans and major regional markets in a short, targeted schedule.

“Tracking research has indicated excellent increases in awareness of our key messages from the previous campaigns with 74% of respondents saying the points in the ad were believable” said Ric Sinclair, Managing Director of FWPA, “Our market research also shows this ad is effective in helping people’s understanding of the environmental benefits of wood – and indicates that Peter, our presenter from Grand Designs Australia is doing a great job. I look forward to this campaign continuing to create good results for our industry.”

In the commercial, Peter Maddison explains that wood stores carbon and that carbon is better locked away in wood than free in the environment. He ends by suggesting that by choosing wood, viewers are doing good. Planet Ark’s Environmental Edge is a series of advertisements designed to provide people with facts to help them make more informed environmental decisions.

On free to air TV, the spot will feature in programs such as My Kitchen Rules, Better Homes & Gardens, The Living Room, movies, news and lifestyle programs. A pay TV and online schedule rounds out the campaign, aiming to reach a broad audience while targeting people interested in building and renovating.


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New Zealand’s ETS is on life support

New Zealand has met its Kyoto obligations by a whisker, but it has little to do with the ETS, say forest owners. “From 2008 to 2012 the country’s 25 per cent increase in carbon emissions was masked by carbon stored in forests planted in the 1990s. As these trees are harvested, forestry will move from being a carbon sink to being a carbon source,” says Forest Owners Association chief executive David Rhodes.

“At that point New Zealand’s environmental credentials will be delivered a double whammy. Our steady increases in gross emissions will no longer be masked by forestry and indeed, forestry emissions will add to the negative ledger.”

Mr Rhodes says the government is portraying the ETS as a success because the Crown had a surplus of credits at the end of 2012. But that has little or nothing to with the ETS. It’s all due to a boom in forest planting in the 1990s. Since then we have moved to net deforestation, a trend that appears to be gathering pace.”

In its report to the United Nations Climate Change Convention in December last year, the government predicted the line from carbon sink to carbon source would be crossed in 2017.

“With large areas of harvested forest lying fallow and tree nurseries reporting falling demand for seedlings, Mr Rhodes says this line could be crossed much earlier than this. It may have occurred already.

“New Zealand has escaped by a whisker. The Kyoto reporting years from 2008-2012 portray the ETS in a good light, so long as you don’t look too closely. Our ETS is like a patient on life support. It’s meant to be a vibrant and alive, encouraging good behaviour like planting trees and discouraging excessive emissions, but it’s not achieving anything”.

“If the government truly believes the planting of new forests is a good thing for New Zealand – as it has said so many times – it needs to provide forest owners with an income stream from carbon. A good example is California which last week issued its first carbon credits to a forest owner.

“Forest offset credits there are selling for $US10 a ton. In New Zealand, a forest owner would struggle to get more than $NZ3 a tonne.”



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Technologies to improve wood harvesting and transport

Over 400 forest managers, owners and harvesting contractors from New Zealand, Australia (a group of around 30 forest contractors visited as part of an industry tour organised by AFCA), the US, Canada and South America converged on Rotorua at the end of last year. The occasion was the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) organised Steep Slope Wood Harvesting conference and a Forestry Safety Summit. It was certainly this region’s largest gathering of forest managers and contactors seen for many years.

The success of the November event along with innovations drawn from a transport and logistics programme run for US forestry companies in the Pacific North West in October last year have been incorporated into this year’s Wood Flow Logistics 2014 event. The mid-June series is being run for local companies in both Australia and New Zealand. “New technologies, new practices and new operating systems being developed and adopted by some of the more innovative forestry, harvesting and wood transport companies” will be the focus for Wood Flow Logistics 2014”, says Brent Apthorp, FIEA Director.

At last year’s Steep Slope Wood Harvesting event, technologies that improved both worker safety and productivity on steeper terrain were highlighted. What was interesting is that a number of these new innovations were being developed by those working in the forest. There was an immediate need to change how wood was being harvested with their current equipment. The initiative was coming from contractors working together with local engineering companies.

Dale Ewers is a harvesting contractor based in Nelson with crews working around New Zealand. Late in 2011 the company decided after experimenting with a number of grapple carriages on their cable hauling and yarder operations to design and build their own – the Falcon Forestry Claw. The grapple carriages are now employed in all of Dale’s crews and have been picked up by other contractors. Fifteen have been produced. A smaller and lighter carriage has also just been built (800kg lighter with a maximum payload of approximately 4 tonnes) and at the time of writing, was being trialled by two of Dale’s crews.

The forestry claw incorporates a camera into the grapple carriage providing the operator a real time bird’s eye view of the operation. It includes an infrared camera and carriage lighting for operating in the dark, GPS location (with data on cycle time, elevation, distance, speed and slope being supplied), details on carriage distance to hauler and a host of other benefits. Dale’s Nelson crews are up to 95% utilisation with the grapple carriages.

Other innovations include an addition of an extra arm on the grapple that will hold trees already within the claw to multi-bunch (potentially leading to a 30% increase in the number of trees brought up to the landing). Other innovations being worked on by Dale and his team include a remote winch assist dozer, remote winch assist digger, crew voice recorders, automated hauler controls and a log carriage being fitted with a felling head. The objective from the start was to mechanise their harvesting operations with the aim of eliminating or reducing incidents on the landings, then with breaking out operations and finally, incidents through manual felling on steeper slopes.

Dale will be outlining these innovations and one of Australia’s largest stand-alone harvest and haul operations, Sunchip will be presenting as part of the harvesting component of the Australian leg of the Wood Flow Logistics event his year. In addition, the very latest developments from Waratah Forestry Attachments, Tigercat, Brightwater Engineering, an overview of innovations being used by leading South American harvesting operations and a new on-line mapping product to assist in harvest planning will be discussed at both the Australian and New Zealand legs of the Wood Flow Logistics 2014 event.

Wood Flow Logistics 2014 will run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 11-12 June and again in Melbourne, Australia, in the following week on 17-18 June. Further details on each programme can be found on the event website, www.woodflowlogitics.com







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Accoya’s acetylated wood producer’s shares climb 40%

When Paul Clegg was drafted into Accsys Technologies five years ago to turn the loss-making business around, it was haemorrhaging cash and struggling to convince global construction companies and timber groups to pay a premium for its modified wood products.

Accsys, a spin-out of Queen Mary University of London, invented a method for turning cheap soft wood into a durable construction material to rival expensive hard wood. Accsys's acetylated wood, branded Accoya, is now being used on everything from doors and decking to electricity pylons, coy carp ponds in China and entire buildings in the monsoon regions of India.

The firm listed on Aim in 2005 raising €27m (£22.5m) to build a demonstrator plant. In 2007, a further listing on Euronext gave Accsys a market capitalisation of €600m. The plan in those early days was to license the technology around the world. However, the business model was flawed. The demonstrator plant was used primarily as a research and development centre, which placed a huge drain on the balance sheet. The business was restructured.

Rather than cold-calling prospective licensees, Mr Clegg turned Accsys into the global shop window for acetylated wood, finding customers in new markets and shipping wood all over the world. "We seeded these markets," he says. "We focused on windows, doors, decking and cladding - 150m cubic metres of wood are used for these applications each year."

Today, Accsys has distribution agreements spanning 45 countries. Once customers began working with Accoya, the licence requests started flowing in. In its interim management statement for the six months to December 2013, sales were up 60% to £18m year-on-year.

The company has benefited from increasing environmental awareness and tougher building regulations, requiring carbon and energy neutral specifications. While other modified and engineered woods are available, no other companies have successfully commercialised Accsys's proprietary acetylation process.

Mr Clegg is keen to prove to investors that Accsys will generate significant returns. After a tough few years, he believes that the company is on a sound footing. In the past six months, the share price has increased by almost 40 %.

As part of this year's Wood Innovations 2014 event covering wood preservation, wood modification and wood composites, Accsys Technologies Director of Business Development, Eddie Pratt (founder of Accsys Technologies (then called Titan Wood) and the first CEO of Accsys Technologies PLC) from the UK will be speaking to local companies on the technology and growth of the company.

Details of the event running in mid-September in both New Zealand and Australia can be found on the event website, www.woodinnovations2014.com.

Source: Sunday Telegraph


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Framework for Independent Forestry Safety Review agreed

New Zealand’s Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel has agreed on a framework for doing its work and work is well underway on the development of a public consultation document. Panel Chair, George Adams said “the framework will help the Panel engage with industry stakeholders and the public.

For the framework, the Review Panel has drawn from the work of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety. The Taskforce formed a view that there were three key features (the workplace, people in a workplace and work organisation), which “combine together within a workplace to determine the workplaces’ safety culture and collectively impact on the workplace health and safety outcomes for the workplace”. The three themes have been used to create work streams for the Review.

The consultation document will set out the key issues impacting on health and safety in the forestry sector as the Panel understands them. It will also set out some options for change. But, the Panel Chair notes “there are no silver bullets – It is clear from our work so far, health and safety in the forest is not about one or two big changes. It will be about many changes, for everyone: forest owners, forest managers, contractors and workers”. This was made clear when the Panel visited some forest sites in Rotorua.

The Panel will be inviting feedback on the issues and on the options. It will be asking for written submission. Along with the consultation document, the Panel will travel to some forestry regions in mid to late June over a period of three weeks.

The Panel will be meeting with key industry stakeholders, forestry health and safety experts and forestry contractors and workers in the regions. Details of the consultation process will be made available on the Review’s website, www.ifsr.co.nz. To signal interest in attending the consultation process people can email, info@ifsr.co.nz

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Chinese lumber update

In 2013, China’s total sawn wood imports rose by 16.5% to 24.0 million m3. China’s softwood lumber imports totalled 16.9 million m3, up 18.9% over 2012. Canada was the leading supplier with 6.8 million m3 of exports (+8% over 2012) to China, followed by Russia at 6.4 million m3 (+16%). As we have explained in the past, the bulk of Russian softwood lumber exports are from Chinese mills that moved their equipment into Russia to bypass the prohibitive Russian log export tax.

Other leading softwood lumber suppliers to China in 2013 include the following:

- The U.S., whose exports reached 876,000 m3 in 2013 — a 32% increase over 2012;

- Chile, at 819,000 m3 — up 65%;

- New Zealand, at 498,000 m3 — +4%;

- Finland, at 401,000 m3 — up 159%;

- Sweden, at 356,000 m3 — up 215%;

- Argentina, at 88,000 m3 — up 57%; and

- Brazil, at 71,000 m3 — up 69%.

More lumber from Europe and other countries — especially Sweden, Finland, Germany and Romania — has been showing up in the Chinese market, where it is filling a number of softwood niches. Finland, Sweden and Romania made China’s top 10 import list by volume in 2013. Softwood lumber from Europe is mostly used in the furniture market and some specialty applications due to its higher and consistent quality, small live knots, and metric sizes. This has resulted in softwood lumber prices that have remained steady at high levels in 2013 and so far into 2014. European lumber does not compete with SPF, hemlock and Douglas fir in the concrete forming markets, as prices and grades are too low for Europeans to consider. The Swedish Wood Association estimates that its lumber exports to China could potentially triple in 2014 to approach one million m3 — a sign that European wood is being discovered by the Chinese.

As well, more Southern Hemisphere softwood lumber is destined for China for similar reasons as European wood: niche applications, higher quality, and metric sizes. Radiata pine from New Zealand and Chile tends to move into the furniture, remanufacturing and industrial sectors, while southern yellow pine seems to be more focused on the outdoor and treated market, and not in concrete forming applications.

Chinese lumber price trends continue to be influenced by U.S. market price trends, and with the U.S. market looking weak due to ongoing winter storms (resulting in a slowdown in housing construction) and given rising lumber inventories (especially at eastern mills), the potential for a price correction in Q2/2014 in both China and the U.S. appears to be building. We are forecasting a modest correction, but this could be exacerbated by many other factors until the supply chain reaches better balance in both markets.

Source: International Wood Markets Group, www.woodmarkets.com


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Local forester earns NSW Service Medallion for public service

Coffs Harbour forester David Wilson (centre photo) received on Tuesday the NSW Service Medallion for 42 years of meritorious public service. David said the award was a great honour and that he’d enjoyed every moment of his long career.

“I’ve worked all over the State and loved every town I’ve lived in. I’m lucky enough to enjoy going in to work on Monday morning as much as I enjoy knocking off on Friday afternoon,” David said.

Forestry Corporation of NSW Regional Manager Craig Busby said while David’s career had taken him around NSW, he had spent the past 18 years in Coffs Harbour.

“David joined the then Forestry Commission as a trainee in 1972 and worked in Bega, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Deniliquin, Mildura and Armidale before moving to Coffs in 1996,” Mr Busby said. br>
“During his time with forestry he’s completed a professional exchange in the USA, participated in major fire-fighting efforts, coordinated major industry training programs and offered his services as a Justice of the Peace for 26 years.

“For the past decade, David has been the region’s Community Partnerships Forester and has worked with locals, community groups and councils to provide information and advice and improve their experiences in the region’s State forests.

“David has put his heart and soul into forestry over the past four decades. His love of the bush, diverse experience and enthusiasm have seen him inspire others both at work and in his personal life where he’s an active member of the local community as President of the Coffs Coast Tigers Football Club. I congratulate him on this milestone and thank him for his many years of service.”

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WA wood chip exports get the nod

Wood chips will soon be exported through the Esperance Port in WA following 18 months of preparation. An agreement between Esperance Ports Sea & Land (EPSL) and Australian Plantation Log Exports (APLE) has been approved and will see wood chips finally exported through the port.

APLE has been working closely with the Esperance Chamber of Commerce and Industry and EPSL for the last 18 months and said they were pleased with the breakthrough. Farmers who planted trees before the global financial crisis hit, will see the trees go when work begins in May of this year.

APLE logistics Manager Peter Sutton said he would work closely with landholders and contractors on the project. “It will be a seven year project that landholders have been very eager to see start”, Mr. Sutton said. “We have seen a lot of this come and go and there has been a lot of talk around the forestry industry in Esperance.”

Mr Sutton said APLE became involved after looking at projects around Australia. We amalgamated together and have been talking to the landholders about their options after finally being approved to export chips.

“More than 30 permanent jobs would be created by the project as well as supporting local industries including fuel, training and maintenance.” he said. Harvesting crews will be showing up in May to set up locations around Esperance.

Source: The Esperance Express


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Austrian steep terrain tour to focus on safety and training

This October, forestry contractors and company people will again have the opportunity to visit modern steep terrain harvesting operations in Austria. In addition to visiting operations and innovation in steep terrain harvesting, a focus will also be on safety and training. The 5 day tour will include a full day of professional training at the Ossiach Austrian Federal Training Institute. The tour is being organized by Prof Rien Visser from the School of Forestry at the University of Canterbury.

In addition to two previous successful trips, Rien completed his PhD in Austria and is quite familiar with their operations and has good contacts to organise such a trip. The tour will visit a number of live yarder operations, inspect their forest roads, as well as a tethered harvester and forwarder operation.

Other tour highlights will include visiting two yarder and steep terrain equipment manufacturers; Mayr-Melnhof and Konrad ForstTechnik who make the Syncrofalke and Mounty yarders respectively – both leading brands in the European market. For the first few days the Austrian Professor Karl Stampfer, a recognized leader in steep terrain productivity, safety and ergonomics will join the tour.

The last day will be hosted by the Austria Federal Forest service, an entity that has an exemplary record in professional training and innovative steep terrain operations. The trip will start and end in Vienna, and the cost of the trip is 1300 Euros which includes the training fees, transportation, accommodation and food for the five days. For more information please contact Rien Visser at rien.visser@canterbury.ac.nz

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China anti-dumping duties on pulp imports

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has announced that it will impose anti-dumping duties on cellulose pulp imported from the United States, Canada and Brazil. The duties will last for five years, starting from Sunday, the Ministry said. It had launched an anti-dumping probe into imported cellulose pulp in February last year.

According to the Ministry's final ruling, companies from the above-mentioned countries have dumped cellulose pulp on the Chinese market and such imports have caused substantial damage to the domestic industry.

Anti-dumping duty rates for USA imports range from 16.9 percent to 33.5 percent, those for Canadian imports from zero to 23.7 percent, and Brazilian companies are subject to rates from 6.8 percent to 11.5 percent, with the exception of products from Bahia Specialty Cellulose, said the Ministry.




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Design crush: The paper house

Here is a little shack in Gothenburg, Sweden, whose facade is covered in glossy black-and-white marbled corrugated paper not even an inch thick. Based on the proportions of a Swedish friggebod, a tiny shed that requires no planning permission to build, the Chameleon Cabin was designed by architect Mattias Lind at White Arkitekter for printing company Göteborgstryckeriet (in collaboration with brand agency Happy F + B).

The printing company asked the designer to come up with a project that would showcase the possibilities of the printing process. "The fundamental idea was to see what a printing company can do," Lind said. "Can we build a house with our machines and our materials?"

The architect answered with a resounding yes in the form of 95 modules made of extra-stiff Miniwell corrugated paper that fit together to form a 7-square-metre, nearly 3-metre-high, 100-kg "house" with a gabled roof. The flexible structure can be extended if desired by 60 or so metres. Photoshopped images of marble were used to create a white Italian Carrara marble pattern on one side of the house's accordion-like folds and black marble on the other.

"We asked ourselves if we could use their knowledge and printing capacity to make it look like anything we want," Lind said, rejecting the idea of metal and deciding that wood would be too literal as it's already a source material for paper.

While he said that the building is stable once the modules are slotted together, it's obviously more of an exercise in style than a viable housing option, given that it would not stand up to rain or other elements. The Chameleon Cabin, named as such because its bi-coloured folds make it appear either black or white depending on the angle, is currently used at trade fairs and other promotional events.






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Koppers to buy Osmose's wood preservation and railroad services

Koppers Holdings Inc, a producer of carbon compounds and treated wood products, has announced that it has agreed to acquire the wood preservation and railroad services businesses of Osmose Holdings, Inc. for US$460 million. Under the deal, Koppers' wholly-owned subsidiary, Koppers Inc., will acquire the business that had combined revenues of about US$390 million in 2013. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2014.

Walt Turner, President and CEO of Koppers, said, "Acquiring these businesses from Osmose represents another important step in our long-term growth strategy by expanding both our chemicals offering and extending our existing railroad and utilities products and services platform. This unique growth opportunity will complement our existing businesses through leading market positions in strategic end-markets."

Buffalo, New York-based Osmose is comprised of utilities services, wood preservation technologies, and railroad services. The company is a privately-owned corporation and a portfolio company of private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management L.P.

Osmose's wood preservation business develops, manufactures and markets wood preservation chemicals and wood treatment technologies. The business, with operations and sales in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Australasia, accounted for about US$350 million of the acquired business' combined revenue in 2013. The business's products serve a diverse range of end-markets including infrastructure, residential and commercial construction, and agriculture.

Locally, Osmose says that they are pleased to become affiliated with Koppers, a large strategic partner that has an understanding and an appreciation of the unique complexities characterizing the wood preservation industry. Koppers recognizes the value in maintaining and supporting Osmose as an efficient and progressive operating unit and Osmose Wood Preserving will continue to operate as it has with very little visible change to its customers and markets.

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Wood’s good for your health

Recent studies, along with evidence emerging from Europe and Asia, suggest that the use of wood indoors lowers stress reactivity of the sympathetic nervous system. This is associated with lower blood pressure, lower heart-rate, lower psychological stress, lower susceptibility to illness, and a better ability to focus attention.

The reason for this effect is biophilia, the innate attraction of humans to life and life-like processes. Simply being in the built environment produces a low level of stress since urban living is relatively new on an evolutionary scale. Canadians spend 88% of their time indoors, so finding ways to reduce this stress is important. In addition to greater use of natural daylight, access to views of nature, and the introduction of plants, architects and designers are specifying more wood in public spaces.

One recent study that supports this theory was conducted by the University of British Columbia and FPInnovations. For details about this study click here.


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Jobs



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...and one to end the week on...easter bunny












































And on that note, go easy on the chocolate this coming weekend and have a great Easter break. Remember for those wanting to contribute stories or place an advert, best do so before Wednesday evening as next week's issue also will be sent out on Thursday morning because of ANZAC day on Friday. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
PO Box 904
Level Two, 2 Dowling Street
Dunedin, New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 470 1902
Fax: +64 3 470 1904
Web page: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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