04/30/2014 01:45 EDT | Updated 06/29/2014 05:59 EDT

Canfor Corp. reports drop in Q1 earnings; blames harsh winter and port strike

VANCOUVER - Canfor Corp. (TSX:CFP) is reporting adjusted net income of attributable to shareholders of $45.5 million, or 33 cents per share in the first quarter.

That compares to $61.9 million, or 43 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

The Vancouver-based company blames the drop on a harsh winter that reduced home construction across much of North America and a recent truckers`strike at the Vancouver port.

The company says lumber shipments were down 16 per cent and pulp shipments were down 22 per cent from the previous quarter due to transportation challenges, while lumber production was up three per cent.

Lumber sales in North America were up from the previous quarter, largely due to a five per cent weaker Canadian dollar and, to a lesser extent, the absence of export taxes on U.S. bound shipments.

Global softwood pulp markets showed a modest improvement in all major regions in the first quarter, while global softwood pulp producer inventory levels remained balanced over the period.

During the quarter, on March 28, Canfor Corp., completed the sale of its Daaquam Sawmill, raising about $25 million.

"Despite the many challenges presented by weather and transportation related disruptions, we continued to see progress during the quarter," said president and CEO Don Kayne.

Canfor says North American lumber consumption is forecast to rebound in the second quarter of 2014, as warmer weather contributes to stronger demand in the residential construction market.

Lumber shipments across North America are anticipated to improve through the second and third quarters of 2014, releasing the backlog of shipments caused by the shortage of railcars earlier in 2014.