Feature

Economic trends hurt Canadian WPC manufacturers

High energy costs, a weakened U.S. dollar and the slow U.S. housing market are being blamed for the closure of one Ontario wood plastic composite (WPC) manufacturer, and slowing sales for another.


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September 1, 2007 by Canadian Plastics

High energy costs, a weakened U.S. dollar and the slow U.S. housing market are being blamed for the closure of one Ontario wood plastic composite (WPC) manufacturer, and slowing sales for another.

In July, Carney Timber Company, a Barrie, Ont.-based producer of WPC decking, ended its operations, with the loss of approximately 60 jobs. “Canada’s high energy costs and the weakening U.S. dollar impacted the [WPC] product’s price tag, and our determination to close the Barrie plant,” said Gregory Phillips, product manager for Carney Timber’s parent company McFarland Cascade.

Added to this, WPC extruder CPI Plastics Group Ltd. of Mississauga, Ont., has cited a limp U.S. housing and building products sector for a sales decline of nearly 28 per cent in second quarter 2007 over second quarter 2006. “The ongoing weakness in the American economy, and depressed housing markets, has had a significant negative effect on the entire building products sector as well as consumer spending for home improvements,” the company explained.

According to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department in July, nationwide sales of new single-family homes for the previous month was 22.3 per cent below a year earlier, and down 40 per cent from the housing market peak in mid-2005.