05/06/2014 07:49 EDT | Updated 07/06/2014 05:59 EDT

International Forest Q1 profit soars to $27.5M on deferred income tax recovery

VANCOUVER - International Forest Products Ltd. (TSX:IFP.A) says a big income tax recovery help to sharply boost net income in the first quarter.

The Vancouver-based lumber producer says net earnings were $27.5 million or 43 cents per share in the three months ended March 31. That was up from $15.2 million or 27 cents in the prior-year period, courtesy of a $16.6 million deferred income tax recovery.

Sales revenue rose to $294.8 million from $242.5 million.

Lumber production in the first quarter was a record 495 million board feet, up 27 per cent over the same period of 2013.

The company said the growth reflected a realization on strategic capital investments over the past several years and production capacity added through the acquisition of six mills in the U.S. Southeast over the last 14 months.

Lumber sales of 439 million board feet, including wholesale and agency volumes, lagged production by 11 per cent in the quarter due to transportation bottlenecks, including a strike in the Port of Vancouver and limited availability of both trucks and railcars. As a result, the company held excess lumber inventory of some 70 million board feet at the end of the first quarter.

"Container truck drivers servicing the Port of Vancouver returned to work near the end of March . . . and throughput volumes are expected to return to normal levels in the second quarter as congestion dissipates," it said.

"Railcar availability should improve as weather in the U.S. returns to seasonal norms," it added.