Timber company slowly leaving Alaska

Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2000

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Louisiana-Pacific Corp. should be finished with its Alaska logging and cleanup operations within a few years, according to a company spokesman.

The corporation's Alaska subsidiary, Ketchikan Pulp Co., is carrying out the final year of its logging contract and should be finished harvesting timber in October, said David Dugan, Louisiana-Pacific communications manager.

Until then, Ketchikan Pulp will continue operating its four logging camps at Twelve Mile Arm, Klu Bay, Shrimp Bay and Hassler Island, he said.

Ketchikan Pulp no longer operates processing facilities. The company is selling its logs to Gateway Forest Products.

Gateway plans to open a veneer plant at the former Ketchikan Pulp pulp mill site in August. Gateway purchased Ketchikan Pulp assets and the remainder of its log supply last year.

After Ketchikan Pulp finishes logging, the company will continue cleanup work for several years, Dugan said. Most of the company's cleanup efforts should be wrapped up this year.

Louisiana Pacific's Alaska operation centered on the Ketchikan pulp mill, which closed in March 1997. KPC also operated a sawmill in Ketchikan and Metlakatla's Annette Hemlock Mill. Gateway purchased the Ketchikan sawmill and is operating the facility.

In an effort to narrow the company's focus, Louisiana-Pacific is attempting to sell its last two pulp mill operations in Chetwynd, British Columbia, and Samoa, Calif., Dugan said.

At the same time the corporation is attempting to get out of the pulp mill business, the company is reporting a 73 percent increase in pulp prices and an 8 percent rise in the sales volume of pulp. The profits should make the two pulp mills easier to sell, said Dugan.

The strong construction economy has led to higher earnings for the company, said Dugan. The Portland-based company posted earnings in the first quarter of this year of $58 million. That's up nearly 50 percent from the same quarter last year, when L-P reported $27 million in profits.

Louisiana-Pacific operates facilities in 29 states, Canada and Ireland.

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