VANCOUVER, B.C. – Canfor reports the pulp product market improved during the first quarter of 2021, leading to a reported operating income of $4.9 million.

The company saw a slight bounce back after the last quarter of 2020 resulted in an operating loss of $28.3 million.

Canfor reported a net income of $8.4 million, or $0.13 per share, in the first quarter of 2021. The company’s net debt is $60 million, and net debt to capitalization is 9.9 per cent as of March 31st.

Improved global pulp market conditions and a 25 per cent increase in quarter-to-quarter pulp production are reflected in the Q1 report.

Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft pulp orders from China saw prices shoot up 39 per cent to $973 per tonne in March, an increase of $246 per tonne from the previous quarter.

In North America, prices increased less dramatically to $1,302 per tonne, increasing by 14 per cent.

Canfor Pulp owns and operates a mill in Taylor, BC, with an annual production capacity of 230,000 tonnes of Bleached Chemi-Thermo Mechanical Pulp.

CPPI Chief Executive Officer Don Kayne says employees have been committed to safety during the pandemic.

“For over a year, our employees have faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by staying focused on their commitment to safety and producing high-quality products for our global customers,” says Kayne.

“With the Northwood Pulp Mill recovering well after its RB5 capital upgrade, we are focused on fully capitalizing on the current strong pulp market conditions.”

The Northwood NBSK pulp mill completed upgrades to recovery boiler number 5 in mid-January. The upgrades result is a production level of 292,000 tonnes, up 59,000 tonnes from Q4 of 2020.

According to Canfor, bleached kraft paper demand is anticipated to be strong in the second quarter and will stabilize toward the end of 2021.