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INDUSTRIAL | Construction / Lumber & Wood Production
columbiavistacorp.com

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Stage

Acquired | Acquired

Valuation

$0000 

About Columbia Vista

Columbia Vista is a lumber manufacturer that focuses production on Douglas Fir specialty products for the Japanese and U.S. markets. Columbia Vista operates a sawmill business in Washington State and has been in business for over 60 years.

Columbia Vista Headquarter Location

18637 SE Evergreen Hwy

Vancouver, Washington, 98683,

United States

(360) 892-0770

Latest Columbia Vista News

Western Forest Products : 2020 Annual Report

Feb 19, 2021

02/19/2021 | 03:42am EST Message : Management's Discussion & Analysis The following Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") reports and comments on the financial condition and results of operations of Western Forest Products Inc. (the "Company", "Western", "us", "we", or "our"), on a consolidated basis, for the three months and year ended December 31, 2020, to help securityholders and other readers understand our Company and the key factors underlying our financial results. This discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with our audited annual consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, which can be found on SEDAR at www.sedar.com . The Company has prepared the consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"), as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board. Amounts discussed herein are based on our audited annual consolidated financial statements and are presented in millions of Canadian dollars, unless otherwise noted. Certain prior period comparative figures have been reclassified to conform to the current period's presentation. The Company has adopted IFRS 16, Leases, with a date of initial application of January 1, 2019, using a modified retrospective approach. Under the modified retrospective approach, the cumulative effect of initial application has been recognized in retained earnings at January 1, 2019, and comparative information has not been restated and continues to be reported under International Accounting Standards ("IAS") 17, Leases. Reference is made in this MD&A to adjusted EBITDA1. Adjusted EBITDA is defined as operating income prior to operating restructuring items and other income (expense), plus amortization of property, plant, and equipment and intangible assets, impairment adjustments, and changes in fair value of biological assets. Adjusted EBITDA margin is adjusted EBITDA as a proportion of revenue. Western uses adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin as benchmark measurements of our own operating results and as benchmarks relative to our competitors. We consider adjusted EBITDA to be a meaningful supplement to operating income as a performance measure primarily because amortization expense, impairment adjustments and changes in the fair value of biological assets are non-cash costs, and vary widely from company to company in a manner that we consider largely independent of the underlying cost efficiency of their operating facilities. Further, the inclusion of operating restructuring items which are unpredictable in nature and timing may make comparisons of our operating results between periods more difficult. We also believe adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin are commonly used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties to evaluate our financial performance. Adjusted EBITDA does not represent cash generated from operations as defined by IFRS and it is not necessarily indicative of cash available to fund cash needs. Furthermore, adjusted EBITDA does not reflect the impact of certain items that affect our net income. Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin are not measures of financial performance under IFRS, and should not be considered as alternatives to measures of performance under IFRS. Moreover, because all companies do not calculate adjusted EBITDA in the same manner, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin calculated by Western may differ from similar measures calculated by other companies. A reconciliation between the Company's net income as reported in accordance with IFRS and adjusted EBITDA is included in Appendix A to this report. Also in this MD&A, management uses key performance indicators such as net debt, net debt to capitalization and current assets to current liabilities. Net debt is defined as long-term debt less cash and cash equivalents. Net debt to capitalization is a ratio defined as net debt divided by capitalization, with capitalization being the sum of net debt and shareholders' equity. Current assets to current liabilities ratio is defined as total current assets divided by total current liabilities. These key performance indicators are non-GAAP financial measures that do not have a standardized meaning and may not be comparable to similar measures used by other issuers. They are not recognized by IFRS, but are meaningful in that they indicate the Company's ability to meet its obligations on an ongoing basis and indicate whether the Company is more or less leveraged than in the past. This MD&A contains statements that may constitute forward-looking statements under the applicable securities laws. Readers are cautioned against placing undue reliance on forward-looking statements. All statements herein, other than statements of historical fact, may be forward-looking statements and can be identified by the use of words such as "will", "estimate", "commit". "project", "expect", "anticipate", "plan", "intend", "believe", "seek", "should", "may", "likely", "pursue" and similar references to future periods. Forward-looking statements in this MD&A include, but are not limited to, statements relating to our current intent, belief or expectations with respect to: market and general economic conditions, the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 labour dispute, accounting standards, future costs, available harvest levels, capital allocation including issuance of dividends and capital expenditures, and our future operating performance, objectives, and strategies. Although such statements reflect management's current reasonable beliefs, expectations and assumptions as to, amongst other things, the future supply and demand of forest products, global and regional economic activity and the consistency of the regulatory framework within which the Company currently operates, there can be no assurance that forward-looking statements are accurate, and actual results and performance may materially vary. Many factors could cause our actual results or performance to be materially different including: economic conditions, international demand for the Company's products, the Company's ability to export its products, competition and selling prices, international trade disputes, changes in foreign currency exchange rates, labour disputes, natural disasters, relations with First Nations groups, First Nation's claims and settlements, changes in laws, the availability of allowable annual cut and fibre, changes in regulations or public policy affecting the forest industry, changes in opportunities, information systems security, the existence of a public health crisis (such as the current COVID-19 pandemic) and other factors referenced under the "Risks and Uncertainties" section herein. The foregoing list is not exhaustive, as other factors could adversely affect our actual results and performance. Forward-looking statements are based only on information currently available to us and refer only as of the date hereof. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update forward-looking statements. Unless otherwise noted, the information in this discussion and analysis is updated to February 18, 2021. 1 Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization Summary of Selected Annual Information (1) (millions of dollars except per share amounts and where otherwise noted) As at and for the years ended December 31,Revenue Lumber Logs By-products Adjusted EBITDA Adjusted EBITDA margin Basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share (in dollars) Cash dividends declared per share (in dollars) Total Assets Net Debt (Cash) (2) (1) Included in Appendix A is a table of selected results for the last eight quarters. (2) Net debt is defined as the sum of long-term debt and bank indebtedness, less cash and cash equivalents. Overview Western delivered adjusted EBITDA of $116.8 million in 2020, as we returned to more normalized operations and capitalized on improved markets. Despite unprecedented operating challenges including the re-start of operations after a lengthy strike and the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, we successfully re-established the earnings capabilities of the business. We took advantage of strong North American markets by growing our Western Red Cedar business and by redirecting production from weaker export markets. In February 2020, we reached a new 5-year collective agreement to end strike action (the "Strike") by the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 ("USW"), which had been ongoing at most of our British Columbia ("BC") operations since July 2019. Following the Strike, we performed all necessary safety and maintenance procedures before commencing a gradual restart of Strike-curtailed operations. As we worked to restart our Strike-curtailed operations, the novel Coronavirus pandemic ("COVID-19") began to impact the global economy, resulting in government-imposed lockdowns and stay at home orders. We implemented enhanced health and safety protocols at all our operations to keep our employees and communities safe. With the support from a COVID-19 related government support program, we were able to prevent significant temporary curtailments and employee layoffs, and offset the cost of enhanced health and safety protocols. Despite uncertainty created by COVID-19, we continued to make significant progress implementing our strategic initiatives in 2020 and early 2021, including: • Expanding our environmental, social and governance ("ESG") disclosure with the release of our latest annual sustainability report. We manufacture one of the most sustainable building products on the planet, and we are committed to defining a higher standard in our sustainability practices and our ESG reporting. • Advancing our strategic partnerships with First Nations and continuing to reposition our coastal tenure assets. We announced an agreement to sell an incremental ownership interest in TFL 44 Limited Partnership to the Huumiis Ventures Limited Partnership, a limited partnership beneficially owned by the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. • Advancing our sales and marketing strategy, which targets the sale of high-margin and high-value products of scale to selected customers. During the year we reached marketing and vendor purchase agreements which are expected to increase our lumber sales into North American Home Centre and Pro-Dealer sales channels. We also created a new product branding strategy to differentiate our high-quality products and drive increased demand for Western's specialty products. • Achieving long-term collective agreements with key labour unions. In February 2020, the USW, which represents approximately 1,500 of our hourly employees and approximately 1,500 personnel working for our Timberlands' contractors, ratified a new 5-year collective agreement that expires in June 2024. In February 2021, members of the Public and Private Workers of Canada ("PPWC") representing unionized employees at our Ladysmith Sawmill ratified a new 8-year collective agreement that expires in December 2028. We also continue to benefit from our prior strategic and safety initiatives, and capital investments, including: • Investments in our information technology and systems, to further improve security and facilitate remote work for certain employees to enhance safety, while also ensuring we remain connected, both internally and with our global customers. • Investments in supplemental safety programs and training, identifying safety leaders and implementing enhanced reporting measures which contributed to improved metrics in 2020, including achieving zero-incident workplaces at many operations. • Our Columbia Vista division, which was acquired in February 2019, continues to exceed expectations. Despite weaker Japanese markets during 2020, Columbia Vista generated adjusted EBITDA above its long-term historical trend levels while delivering two years of incident-free safety performance. We continue to evaluate opportunities to lever and grow our Columbia Vista platform. • Leveraging our Arlington facility to assist us in re-positioning and growing our product lines and streamlining our logistics and distribution platform, moving us closer to the final customer. • Our strategic capital investments in our BC operating platform has supported our ability to re-direct production from weaker export markets into the specialty treated lumber segment in North America. Our investments in our BC coastal mill platform has positioned us as the only lumber manufacturer capable of consuming and economically manufacturing the entire forest profile of the BC Coast. The successful execution of our strategic initiatives and prior capital investments, combined with strong lumber markets and the reduction of our debt outstanding, has resulted in our Board of Directors reinstating a regular quarterly dividend of $0.01 per share. Going forward, we remain committed to a balanced approach to capital allocation, while also considering internal and external growth opportunities to grow long-term shareholder value. Looking ahead, we're encouraged by robust North American market fundamentals and returning strength in export markets. Longer-term, we are also excited about the growth opportunities the increased use of Mass Timber building technologies ("Mass Timber") in North America will provide our industry. In addition to increasing the demand for wood products, Mass Timber will further help solidify wood as one of the world's most sustainable building materials. We continue to evaluate how we may best participate in this potential growth opportunity. We plan to publish our third annual sustainability report in 2021. The report will further demonstrate Western's commitment to ESG policies and practices, as well as offer expanded commentary and metrics on key topics. We expect to continue to engage and work with our customers, employees, unions, communities, first nations, shareholders, other stakeholders and all levels of government. We remain committed to working together to develop mutually beneficial relationships to support jobs and the communities in which we operate, while ensuring we are creating long-term value for our shareholders. Our long-term focus remains the same; to successfully and sustainably implement our strategic initiatives to strengthen our foundation; grow our base; grow our business; and deliver long-term shareholder value. We will continue to look to strengthen our customer relationships and grow volumes, while maintaining a safe work environment during COVID-19. Summary of Selected Quarterly and Annual Results (1) (millions of Canadian dollars except per share amounts and where otherwise noted) Summary Information Export Domestic Pulp Total Net production - thousands of cubic metres(4) Saw log purchases - thousands of cubic metres Log Price - per cubic metre(5) Illustrative Lumber Average Price Data(6) Price Basis Grn WRC #2 Clear & Btr 4x6W RL ($C) Grn WRC Deck Knotty 2x6 RL S4S Grn WRC #2 & Btr AG 6x6 RL Coast Grn WRC Std&Btr NH 3/4x4 RL S1S2E Grn Hem Baby Squares Merch 4-1/8x4-1/8 13' S4S Grn Dfir Baby Squares Merch 4-1/8x4-1/8 RL S4S KD White Fir Shop Moulding&Btr C&Btr 5/4 S2S Grn Dfir (Portland) #1&Btr 100% FOHC 6x6 Rough Hemlock Lumber 2x4 (40x90) Metric RG Utility Coast KD Hem-Fir #2 & Btr 2x4 c.i.f. dest. N Euro Net f.o.b. Mill Net f.o.b. Mill Net f.o.b. Mill c.&f. dest. Japan c.&f. dest. Japan Net f.o.b. Mill Net f.o.b. Mill c.i.f. dest. Shanghai Net f.o.b. MillAverage Exchange Rate - CAD to USD Average Exchange Rate - CAD to JPY Q4 2020 56.0 34.4 0.09 (2) Includes Columbia Vista operations, acquired February 1, 2019, and wholesale lumber shipments. (3) BC business only. (4) Net production is sorted log production, net of residuals and waste. (5) The average realized log price per cubic metre has been presented on a gross basis, which may include fee-in-lieu and shipping charges incurred on behalf customers to facilitate sales to export markets. (6) Sourced from Random Lengths in USD/Mfbm, except Hemlock Lumber Metric RG Utility that is sourced from the Forest Economic Advisors LLC China Bulletin. Summary of Fourth Quarter 2020 Results Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2020 was $71.1 million, as compared to negative adjusted EBITDA of $18.1 million during the same period last year. The recovery of export tax attributable to the final determination of 2017 and 2018 United States ("US") imposed export tax rates accounted for $31.6 million of adjusted EBITDA. We grew fourth quarter adjusted EBITDA, despite volatility in North American commodity markets, by increasing lumber shipments, redirecting certain commodity volumes to a strong North American treating segment, and by recognizing a non-cash recovery of export tax. Operating income prior to restructuring and other items was $56.0 million, as compared to operating loss prior to restructuring and other items of $29.6 million in the same period last year. Comparative results were significantly impacted by the Strike, which curtailed all of our timberlands and most of our BC based manufacturing operations from July 2019 through February 2020. Sales In the fourth quarter unseasonably strong demand and constrained supply supported pricing for our North American product lines, while prices in our export markets remained relatively weak. North American lumber pricing was volatile through the quarter as inventory in the distribution channel could not supply demand that was stronger than anticipated. Domestic log markets continued to improve in the fourth quarter supported by the strength of lumber markets and constrained supply. Pulp log markets remained muted while prices for export logs into China improved marginally. We took advantage of strong North American lumber markets by maintaining Western Red Cedar volumes during a traditionally slower period and by redirecting production and sales from weaker export markets. We grew lumber revenue by 23% from the third quarter of 2020, on the strength of higher prices for our Western Red Cedar products, and increased sales volumes and prices in our commodity lumber segment. Lumber revenue was $256.6 million, as compared to $66.1 million in the Strike affected fourth quarter of 2019, and $208.6 million in the third quarter of 2020. We grew lumber shipments by 24% from the third quarter of 2020, led by a 60% increase in commodity lumber shipments which were mostly directed to the specialty treated lumber sector. Specialty lumber represented 48% of fourth quarter shipments in 2020 compared to 80% in the same period last year and 59% in the third quarter of 2020. A greater commodity weighting to our lumber sales mix and stronger Canadian dollar ("CAD") to United States dollar ("USD") reduced our average realized lumber price from the comparative periods, while benchmark pricing for the majority of our products continued to rise. Log revenue was $53.4 million, as compared to $12.1 million in the Strike affected fourth quarter of 2019, and $73.7 million in the third quarter of 2020. We achieved a higher average realized log price than the comparative periods despite a weaker sales mix and lower export market pricing. We directed the majority of our export log inventory to our sawmills to capitalize on the strong North American lumber market. Limited export log shipments originated primarily from commitments under First Nation partnership and joint venture arrangements. By-product revenue was $8.9 million, as compared to $1.9 million in the Strike affected fourth quarter of 2019, and $8.3 million in the third quarter of 2020. By-product revenue increased from the third quarter of 2020 as a result of moderately improved chip pricing and higher by-product shipments. Operations Lumber production was 180 million board feet, as compared to 34 million board feet in the Strike affected fourth quarter of 2019, and 192 million board feet in the third quarter of 2020. Production decreased by 6% from the third quarter of 2020 as we balanced lumber production with remanufacturing capacity. We have continued to lever our flexible operating platform by redirecting production from relatively weak export markets into the strong North American market. We reduced operating hours at our Duke Point sawmill by 10% and temporarily curtailed our Cowichan Bay sawmill operations for two weeks to balance production to secondary processing capacity. Our Port Alberni sawmill was curtailed for two weeks due to unplanned maintenance. We have resumed operations at Cowichan Bay and Port Alberni, while Duke Point continues to run on an adjusted two-shift basis. In early February 2021, we added a second shift at our Ladysmith sawmill as lumber markets in China began to improve. We produced 901,000 cubic metres of logs from our BC coastal operations in the fourth quarter of 2020, as compared to 21,000 cubic metres in the same quarter of last year and 1,138,000 cubic metres in the third quarter of 2020. Harvest volumes were reduced due to typical seasonal operating conditions. BC coastal saw log purchases were 222,000 cubic metres, as compared to 34,000 cubic metres in the same period last year. Although market log supply has been limited, we have been successful in growing log purchase volumes to support our mills. Freight expense was $24.9 million, as compared to $5.1 million in the Strike affected fourth quarter of 2019 and $22.4 million in the third quarter of 2020. An increase in container shipping rates and greater lumber shipment volumes drove an increase in freight expense over the comparative periods. Fourth quarter adjusted EBITDA and operating income included $12.1 million of US-imposed countervailing duty ("CVD") and anti-dumping duty ("AD") expense, as compared to $3.4 million in the same period last year and $11.0 million in the third quarter of 2020. Duty expense rose as a result of increased US-destined lumber shipment volumes, which offset the benefit of the December 1, 2020 reduction in applicable combined duty rate from 20.23% to 8.99%. In addition, we recognized a $31.6 million export duty tax recovery against export tax expense in relation to the US Department of Commerce's ("DoC") final determination on assessed rates applicable to 2017 and 2018. For further information on CVD and AD see "Risks and Uncertainties". Selling and Administration Expense Fourth quarter selling and administration expense was $11.9 million in 2020 as compared to $8.0 million in the Strike affected fourth quarter of 2019. Improved financial performance drove an incremental $1.5 million of incentive compensation expense, while appreciation of the Company's share price led to a $0.9 million increase in long-term compensation liabilities. In addition to increased health and safety and IT costs associated with COVID-19 operating requirements, we expensed an incremental $0.5 million of non-recurring strategic and governance consulting fees. Finance Costs Lower average outstanding debt balance and the recognition of interest income on duty receivable resulted in income from financing activities of $0.5 million, as compared to finance costs of $2.2 million in the same period last year. As at December 31, 2020, the Company had drawn $70.2 million on its credit facility, significantly reduced from $114.1 million drawn at December 31, 2019. See "Financial Position and Liquidity" for further information. Other Expense We recognized other expenses of $6.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, including impairments of $3.6 million on non-core lands and a $2.0 million loss on asset dispositions partially offset by other income. In the same period of 2019, we recognized other expense of $5.3 million, including $2.8 million fair value reduction in private timberlands and multiple lesser non-recurring expenses related to asset acquisitions, dispositions and environmental remediation. Net Income (Loss) Net income for the fourth quarter was $34.4 million, as compared to net loss of $29.2 million for the same period of 2019. Net income improved as we increased shipments to strong North American markets by redirecting volumes from relatively weaker export markets, and recognized export tax recovery. Summary of 2020 Annual Results Financial and operating results were significantly impacted by COVID-19, the Strike, and the gradual restart of Strike-curtailed BC operations in the first half of 2020. Despite financial impacts and significant uncertainty arising from COVID-19, we maintained employment and operating levels with support from the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy ("CEWS") program. On February 15, 2020, USW members voted in support of a 5-year agreement to replace the collective agreement that expired on June 14, 2019, resulting in the end of the Strike. Following the Strike, we performed the necessary safety and maintenance procedures before commencing a gradual restart of certain Strike-curtailed BC operations. Upon restart, our manufacturing productivity was impacted by the consumption of lower quality log inventory that had degraded during the Strike. In late March 2020, as a result of COVID-19, we curtailed certain of our BC operations for one week to implement enhanced health and safety protocols and to re-evaluate market conditions. We then resumed operations except at our Ladysmith and Cowichan Bay sawmills which remained curtailed due to a lack of log supply. Operations resumed at our Cowichan Bay and Ladysmith sawmills on May 4 and August 4, 2020, respectively. Our US-based Columbia Vista division operations were unaffected by the Strike and took no COVID-19 related downtime. Adjusted EBITDA for 2020 was $116.8 million, as compared to negative adjusted EBITDA of $1.5 million from the prior year. Operating income prior to restructuring items and other items was $61.2 million, as compared to an operating loss prior to restructuring items and other items of $46.7 million in the prior year. We capitalized on improvements in North American lumber and log markets, beginning in June 2020, to overcome operating losses incurred earlier in the year. COVID-19 initially reduced demand for our products and caused some customers to defer order shipments. Demand for our products slowly recovered after governments started to lift their shutdowns and other restrictions. Demand slowly began to return in China early in the second quarter, followed by Europe and North America in the third quarter. Throughout the year we levered our flexible operating platform to transition production and shipments to higher margin North American markets. Sales Lumber revenue grew to $737.2 million in 2020 from $628.3 million the prior year. Lumber revenue was impacted by COVID-19 and the Strike, which limited our BC based sawmill production from the third quarter of 2019 through the first quarter of 2020. Government emergency measures instituted to combat COVID-19 significantly impacted demand for our products as many customers suspended order activity in late March 2020 through mid-May 2020. We took this time to rebuild inventory depleted by the Strike, which allowed us to increase shipments as lumber markets gradually recovered through the period. Despite challenges at the beginning of the year, we successfully increased Western Red Cedar shipments and capitalized on strong North American lumber markets by redirecting volume from weaker export markets to achieve record average lumber price realizations. Log revenue was $200.5 million in 2020, an increase of 39% from the prior year when log production and sales were limited by the Strike. Log shipment volumes increased by 46%, led by a significant one-time increase in pulp log sales arising from degradation of logs encumbered from the Strike. A weaker log sales mix and the temporary impact of COVID-19 on log markets early in the year resulted in a 4% decline in average realized log prices. By-products revenue decreased to $27.2 million in 2020, from $35.4 million in the prior year due to reduced chip purchase-and-resale volume, lower average annualized pricing, and temporary coastal pulp operating curtailments. Operations Despite significant uncertainty arising from COVID-19 through 2020, we maintained operating levels in order to support and maintain employment, rebuild inventories, and service our customers. By late May 2020, we had rebuilt log decks that were depleted from the Strike. Stable operating plans have driven improved productivity and enabled us to sustain shipments into strong lumber and log markets. Lumber production in 2020 was 576 million board feet, 17% higher than last year. Lumber production was negatively impacted in the first half of 2020 by the Strike and COVID-19. We partly mitigated the impact of the Strike on our customers by continuing to process logs at custom cut facilities and through our wholesale lumber activity. Upon returning from the Strike, mid-year production volume and grade recovery were impacted due to processing log inventory that had degraded during the Strike. In the second half of 2020, we leveraged our flexible operating platform to increase the production of North American commodity lumber targeted to the treating segment. After the resolution of the Strike in the first quarter of 2020, we resumed and maintained our timberlands operations through the remainder of 2020 despite significant uncertainty arising from COVID-19. By maintaining active timberlands operations, we rebuilt log inventories to support our sawmill operations. We resumed operations at our Cowichan Bay and Ladysmith sawmills in May and August 2020, respectively. To address increased remanufacturing capacity requirements for North American commodity production, we restarted our idled Cowichan Bay planer operation and increased utilization across our other remanufacturing facilities. Log production for 2020 was 3,430,000 cubic metres, an increase of 55% from 2019. We delivered higher production by capitalizing on favourable operating conditions. Lower production costs resulted from a favourable mix of operations and by aligning our road expenditures to harvest volumes. No significant fire-related downtime was taken in either year. BC coastal saw log purchases were 835,000 cubic metres in 2020, a 48% increase from the prior year despite lower overall non-Western coastal harvest activity. Freight expense was $73.7 million in 2020, an increase of 15% due to significantly greater fourth quarter shipment volumes year-over-year and the geographic mix of sales. Adjusted EBITDA and operating income included $34.6 million of CVD and AD expense on sales in 2020, as compared to $27.8 million in the same period of 2019. Increased export duty expense on sales was due to increased shipments of Western Red Cedar and commodity lumber to the US market. We recognized a $31.6 million export duty tax recovery against export tax expense in the 2020, upon the DoC's final determination on assessed rates for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. For further information on CVD and AD see "Risks and Uncertainties". Due to the negative financial impact and risk to employment that COVID-19 had on our business we applied for CEWS to support continued operations despite uncertainty; maintain employment; offset costs of enhanced health and safety protocols; support contractors and communities; rebuild inventory and continue to service our customers. In the first half of 2020, before our operating income began to recover, we recognized CEWS of $11.6 million as an offset to cost of goods sold, and $1.4 million as an offset to selling and administration expense. Selling and Administration Expense Selling and administration expense for 2020 was $36.7 million as compared to $31.1 million in the prior year. Savings generated by cost containment measures were offset by expenses arising from COVID-19, including health and safety spending and incremental IT costs associated with remote work requirements. Improved financial performance drove an incremental $2.1 million of incentive compensation expense, while appreciation of the Company's share price led to an additional $2.5 million long-term compensation expense. Non-cash amortization recognized in selling and administration expense increased by $1.0 million primarily due to the replacement of certain foundational systems in 2019. Despite uncertainty arising from COVID-19, we maintained staffing levels to support our business and communities, and to continue to service our customers. Finance Costs Finance costs were $5.9 million in 2020 as compared to $7.8 million in 2019. In 2020, we recognized $2.2 million in interest income arising from export duty tax recovery that was not applicable to 2019, and this more than offset incremental interest expense from a higher average debt balance outstanding in 2020. Other Expense We recognized net other expenses of $5.2 million in 2020, including impairments of $3.6 million on non-core lands and a $0.2 million loss on asset dispositions partially offset by other income. Other expense was $5.4 million in 2019, including $2.8 million fair value reduction in private timberlands and multiple lesser non-recurring expenses related to asset acquisitions and dispositions, and environmental remediation. Net Income (Loss) Net income was $33.4 million in 2020, as compared to net loss of $46.7 million in the Strike affected prior year. We improved net income in 2020 by increasing shipments to strong North American markets, redirecting production from weaker export markets and improved timberlands operating costs, offset by impacts of the Strike that was resolved early in the year. Net income includes CEWS proceeds applied to overcome COVID-19 market uncertainty and related incremental operating costs. Operating Restructuring Items We incurred $2.1 million of operating restructuring costs in 2020, including $1.6 million of non-operating costs incurred due to the indefinite curtailment of the Company's Somass sawmill in 2017. Operating restructuring costs were $3.5 million in 2019, including $2.1 million of severance and related expenses due to a reduction of approximately 10% in salaried employees as a cost mitigation initiative to limit losses arising from the Strike. Income Taxes Improved operating earnings led to the recognition of $14.6 million in income tax expense in 2020, as compared to income tax recovery of $16.7 million in 2019. Export tax recovery of $31.6 million and CEWS proceeds included in operating earnings contributed to increased 2020 income tax expense. At December 31, 2020, the Company and its subsidiaries had unused non-capital loss carry forwards totaling approximately $18.2 million in Canada, and $5.8 million in the US, which can be used to reduce taxable income. In addition, the Company has unused capital losses carried forward of approximately $84.2 million in Canada, which are available indefinitely. COVID-19 Western is committed to the health and safety of our employees, contractors and the communities where we operate. To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we have implemented strict health and safety protocols across our business that are based on guidance from health officials and experts, and in compliance with regulatory orders and standards. Health and safety protocols currently being enforced include travel restrictions; self-isolation instructions for those who have travelled, are ill, exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or have come in direct contact with someone with COVID-19; implementing physical distancing measures; restricting site access to essential personnel and activities; increasing cleaning and sanitization in workplaces; and where possible, providing those who can work from home the ability to exercise that option. We continue to monitor and review the latest guidance from health officials and experts to ensure our protocols meet the current required standards. In response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company curtailed its BC manufacturing facilities for up to a one-week period effective March 23, 2020. After implementing enhanced health and safety protocols and re-evaluating operating conditions, we resumed operations except at our Ladysmith and Cowichan Bay sawmills, which remained curtailed due to a lack of log supply. By continuing to operate timberlands operations and increasing saw log purchases despite uncertainty arising from COVID-19, we rebuilt sufficient log inventory to resume manufacturing operations at our Cowichan Bay and Ladysmith sawmills on May 4 and August 4, 2020, respectively. State of Emergency declarations and other restrictions relating to travel, business operations and isolation have been made by governing bodies in the regions that Western operates and sells its products. Western's business activities have been designated an essential service in Canada and the US, and we will continue to monitor and adjust our operations as required to ensure the health and safety of our employees, contractors and the communities where we operate and to address changes in customer demand. In addition, governments in Canada and the US have announced various financial relief programs for businesses. In 2020, we recognized $13.0 million in CEWS as a reduction to cost of goods sold and selling and administrative expense. Western's eligibility for CEWS concluded in early June 2020, but we continue to evaluate our eligibility for relief programs as they are announced to help mitigate the financial impacts of COVID-19. With the potential negative impacts to the global economy from COVID-19 and with dynamic global economic conditions, in the near-term we remain focused on maintaining financial flexibility, protecting the health and safety of our employees and contractors, and servicing our customers. Sale of Ownership Interests in Limited Partnerships On March 29, 2019, Western completed the sale of a 7% ownership interest in its newly formed TFL44 Limited Partnership ("TFL 44 LP") to Huumiis Ventures Limited Partnership ("HVLP"), a limited partnership beneficially owned by the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. Western received $7.3 million in exchange for the 7% ownership interest in TFL 44 LP. On March 16, 2020, Western announced it had reached an agreement whereby HVLP will acquire an incremental 44% equity interest in TFL 44 LP (the "TFL 44 Transaction") and a 7% equity interest in a newly formed limited partnership that will own the Alberni Pacific Division Sawmill (the "APD Transaction") for total consideration of $36.2 million. COVID-19 restrictions and other impacts have affected the ability for the parties to satisfy all closing conditions at this time, necessitating the closing of the TFL 44 transaction in two stages and delaying the closing of the APD Transaction. The completion of each stage of the TFL 44 Transaction is subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, financing and certain third-party consents, including approval by the BC Provincial Government and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations People's Assembly. The first stage of the TFL 44 Transaction involves the acquisition by HVLP of a further 28% equity interest in TFL 44 LP, for an interim combined equity interest of 35%. The total payable by HVLP for the first stage of the TFL 44 Transaction is $22.4 million, $2.6 million of which will be financed through vendor take-back financing provided by the Company with a maturity date of March 31, 2023. The first stage is anticipated to close in the second quarter of 2021. The second stage of the TFL 44 Transaction, for the acquisition by HVLP of a further 16% equity interest in TFL 44 LP for total consideration of $12.8 million, is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2023. Western may sell to other area First Nations, including HVLP, a further incremental ownership interest of up to 26% in TFL 44 LP, under certain conditions. The Company and TFL 44 LP will also enter into a long-term fibre agreement to continue to supply the Company's BC coastal manufacturing operations, which have undergone significant capital investment over the past several years. The APD Transaction is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2023. Labour Relations Update On February 15, 2020, we announced that USW members had voted in support of a new 5-year collective agreement effective from June 15, 2019 and expiring on June 14, 2024. On February 3, 2021, members of the PPWC representing unionized employees at our Ladysmith Sawmill ratified a new eight-year collective agreement effective from January 1, 2021 and expiring on December 31, 2028. BC Government Forest Policies Update During 2019, the BC Provincial Government (the "Province") introduced various policy initiatives that impact the BC forest sector regulatory framework as part of a Coastal Revitalization Initiative. For additional details on these policy initiatives please see "Regulatory Risks" under the heading "Risks and Uncertainties". On January 21, 2020, the Province announced changes to the Manufactured Forest Products Regulation ("Regulation"). The amendments to the Regulation require lumber that is made from WRC or cypress (Yellow Cedar) to be fully manufactured in BC to be eligible for export from Canada. Fully manufactured is defined as lumber that will not be kiln-dried, planed or re-sawn at a facility outside of BC. On June 11, 2020, the Province announced the deferral of the implementation of the changes to the Regulation to September 30, 2020. The Province also updated the requirement to fully manufacture WRC and Yellow Cedar ("CYP") to only apply to the BC coastal region. On September 16, 2020, the Province provided additional information with respect to the implementation of amendments to the Regulation, including the application of a tax on WRC and CYP exported from BC to any location outside of Canada and within 3,000 miles of BC. The Regulation requires provincial export permit applications and, where fully manufactured requirements are not met, payment of a tax in lieu of manufacture to be eligible for export. The amount of the tax factors in the extent of processing completed prior to export application, with the rate calculated as a proportion of the combined CVD and AD US export tax all others duty rate. For products shipped within the 3,000-mile export zone, the applicable BC export duty rate decreases by one third for each process performed prior to the export, with no fee applicable upon completing three processes. Certain other exemptions apply including rough appearance products readyfor retail sale prior to export. These changes were effective September 30, 2020, with permitting requirements effective October 1, 2020 and the application of Provincial export tax effective November 1, 2020 onwards. We have taken measures to limit financial impacts and mitigate any potential unintended consequences of the amended Regulation. Our mitigating actions include the use of exemptions, maximizing our planer capacity utilization, pursuing additional market processing capacity and reducing mill operating hours to manage inventory risk. In December 2020, the Province updated its Variable Fee-in-Lieu of Domestic Manufacturing policy, increasing the tax applicable to BC coastal log exports. Fee-in-Lieu tax is determined using a variable percentage of the domestic market value of the log advertised for export. While this regulatory change may impact coastal harvest levels, we expect a higher tax on export logs could redirect certain volumes to domestic lumber manufacturers. Western will continue to sustainably harvest and manufacture lumber from the full BC coastal forest profile. Timber Tenure Reduction Approximately 89% of Western's 5,956,000 cubic metre sustainable allowable annual cut ("AAC") is in the form of Tree Farm Licenses ("TFL"). TFLs are granted for 25-year terms and are replaced by the Province every five to ten years with a new TFL with a 25-year term. In the first half of 2021, we expect that the Province's Chief Forester to issue a final determination on the AAC in TFL 19, which is approximately 729,000 cubic metres. We expect that determination may reduce the AAC of TFL 19 by up to 18% or approximately 130,000 cubic metres. Provincial legislation requires the Chief Forester to routinely review sustainable harvesting levels of individual tenures at least every 10 years and to issue a determination which may result in an increase or decrease to AAC. The AAC determination reflects tree growth, ecology, regional and local economic and social interests, water and other environmental considerations that define how forests can be managed. More information on our tenure rights and sustainable harvest practices can be found in the Company's Annual Information Form, which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com , and Western's Sustainability Report, which is available at www.westernforest.com . Financial Position and Liquidity Selected Cash Flow Items Current liabilities Bank indebtedness Equity, excluding non-controlling interest Total liquidity (2) Financial ratios: Net debt to capitalization (3) (1) Net debt is defined as the sum of long-term debt and bank indebtedness, less cash and cash equivalents. (2) Total liquidity comprises cash and cash equivalents, and available credit under the Company's credit facility. (3) Capitalization comprises net debt and shareholders' equity. Cash provided by operating activities in 2020 was $80.4 million as compared to $10.5 million in 2019. We generated strong operating cash flow in 2020 by capitalizing on improving lumber markets and continuing to operate despite significant uncertainty arising from COVID-19. Our cash from operations was significantly reduced in 2019 through the first quarter of 2020 due to the impacts of the Strike. Cash used in investing activities in 2020 was $14.5 million, as compared to $63.2 million in 2019 that includes $45.0 million related to US asset acquisitions and related capital improvements. We managed capital spending in 2020 to address uncertainty caused by COVID-19, incurring only safety, environmental, maintenance and certain other committed capital expenditures. Capital expenditures were partly offset in both periods by cash proceeds from the sale of non-core assets. Investing activities in 2019 includes $7.0 million in proceeds from the sale of an ownership interest in TFL 44 LP. Our strategic capital program is discussed in more detail under "Strategy and Outlook". Cash used in financing activities in 2020 was $65.1 million, as compared to cash provided by financing activities of $46.4 million in 2019. We reduced net drawings on our credit facility in 2020 by $43.9 million. To provide the financial capacity to navigate uncertainty caused by COVID-19, on May 6, 2020 we announced the suspension of our quarterly dividend. We repurchased no common shares in 2020 as compared to share repurchases of $15.9 million in 2019. See "Dividend and Capital Allocation" for more information. Liquidity and Capital Resources On August 8, 2018, we entered into a $250 million syndicated credit facility. The facility matures on August 1, 2022 and includes an accordion feature to access an additional $100 million of debt. The credit facility, in addition to cash generated from operations, will be used to support working capital requirements, debt servicing commitments and capital expenditures. Total liquidity was $178.3 million at December 31, 2020, compared to $136.9 million at the end of 2019. Liquidity is comprised of cash and cash equivalents of $2.9 million and unused availability under the credit facility of $175.4 million. At December 31, 2020, the Company had contractual commitments to acquire property, plant and equipment in the amount of $0.3 million. Based on our current forecasts, we expect sufficient liquidity will be available to meet these commitments as well as our other obligations in 2021. The Company was in compliance with all its financial covenants as at December 31, 2020. Summary of Contractual Obligations The following table summarizes our contractual obligations at December 31, 2020, and our payments due for each of the next five years and thereafter, including estimated interest payments: (millions of Canadian dollars) Dividend and Capital Allocation We remain committed to a balanced approach to capital allocation. To return capital to shareholders, we have reinstated a regular quarterly dividend and may complement it with common share repurchases under our renewed Normal Course Issuer Bid ("NCIB"). We will continue to evaluate opportunities to invest strategic and discretionary capital in jurisdictions that create the opportunity to grow long-term shareholder value. We expect to focus near-term strategic capital investments on projects that reduce manufacturing costs or address kiln drying and planer capacity constraints on the BC Coast. These potential investments will help support growth of our specific product line initiatives. The Company will evaluate all capital allocation decisions after considering our operating results, financial condition, cash requirements, financing agreement restrictions and other factors or financial metrics that may be deemed relevant. Quarterly Dividend With the global economic uncertainty arising from COVID-19 and added financial requirements of resetting the business post-Strike, on May 6, 2020, the Company suspended its quarterly dividend to maintain financial flexibility. The Company's Board of Directors have reinstated a quarterly dividend of $0.01 per common share. The next quarterly dividend will be payable on March 12, 2021, to shareholders of record on February 26, 2021. The dividend will return a portion of the Company's cash to shareholders, after taking into consideration liquidity and ongoing capital needs. The Company's Board of Directors will continue to review our dividend on a quarterly basis. Normal Course Issuer Bid On August 7, 2020, the Company renewed its NCIB permitting the purchase and cancellation of up to 18,759,858 of the Company's common shares or approximately 5% of the common shares issued and outstanding as of August 6, 2020. The Company also entered into an automatic share purchase plan with its designated broker to facilitate purchases of its common shares under the NCIB at times when the Company would ordinarily not be permitted to purchase its common shares due to regulatory restrictions or self-imposed blackout periods. The Company's previous NCIB to purchase for cancellation up to 18,763,888 common shares expired on August 7, 2020. The Company did not purchase any common shares under the previous NCIB. During 2020, the Company did not repurchase common shares such that 18,759,858 common shares remain available to be purchased under the renewed NCIB. The NCIB expires on August 10, 2021. Strategy and Outlook Western's long-term business objective is to create superior value for shareholders by building a sustainable, margin-focused log and lumber business of scale to compete successfully in global softwood markets. We believe this will be achieved by maximizing the sustainable utilization of our forest tenures, operating safe, efficient, low-cost manufacturing facilities and augmenting our sales of targeted high-value specialty products for selected global customers with a lumber wholesale program. We seek to manage our business with a focus on operating cash flow and maximizing value through the production and sales cycle. We routinely evaluate our performance using the measure of Return on Capital Employed. Continuing to guide our actions are the strategic initiatives presented below, with selected accomplishments noted: Strengthen the Foundation • Through our focused capital investments, we have positioned Western as the only company on the coast of BC capable of consuming the complete profile of the coastal forest and competitively manufacturing a diverse product mix. • Our strategic capital investments have allowed us to increase the production of targeted products and supported the optimization of our coastal operations. • We have invested in our people and systems to create a platform for pursuing margin-focused growth opportunities. • We continue to pursue long-term relationships with coastal First Nations to create mutually beneficial opportunities. In 2020, we announced an agreement to sell an incremental ownership interest in TFL 44 LP to HVLP, aligning our interests and introducing an opportunity to potentially involve other First Nations in a shared vision for forestry. Grow the Base • We optimized our operations and invested in our sawmills and timberlands to improve margins and position ourselves for growth. We continue to look for opportunities to further optimize our operations to enhance profit margins. • We implemented multiple non-capital margin improvement programs to improve our cost structure and optimize our supply chain. • The success of our business relationships with First Nations has and continues to drive incremental log volume and enabled Western to grow specialty lumber production in recent years. • We are executing on our sales and marketing strategy, driving the production and sale of targeted, high-margin products of scale to selected customers that value our product offerings. In 2020, we reached marketing and vendor purchase agreements with certain customers, increasing our lumber sales into North American Home Centre and Pro-Dealer sales channels. • We created a new product branding strategy that differentiates our high-quality products in the North American Home Centre sales channel and is supporting increased demand for our products. Explore Opportunities • In 2018, we acquired our Arlington distribution and processing facility. The facility allows the Company to increase the production of targeted, finished products while also providing a centralized warehousing and distribution centre to more effectively service our selected US customers. • In 2019, we acquired the assets of Columbia Vista in Vancouver, Washington, enabling us to offer a broader array of Douglas fir specialty products to our selected customers in both the US and Japan. • We launched a new wholesale business which will provide complementary products to our industry leading specialty product offerings and enhance our return on capital employed. In 2020, this initiative led to the launch of our Japanese Cedar fencing lumber to complement our WRC product portfolio. • We continue to evaluate opportunities to grow our business and long-term shareholder value. Sales & Marketing Strategy Update In 2020, we redirected lumber production from relatively weak export markets to the improving North American market. We purposely targeted sales to selected customers in the treating sector where our product mix could provide the most value. In the near term we anticipate North American pricing to remain above trend levels and will look to grow our presence in the specialty treated lumber sector. We continue to progress with the execution of our sales and marketing strategy, which focuses on the production and sale of targeted, high-margin products of scale to selected customers. We supplement our key product offerings with purchased lumber to deliver the suite of products our customers require. We continue to develop and evaluate growth opportunities for our wholesale lumber business, including the inception of a Japanese Cedar products program and ongoing Yellow Cedar product development. In our US operations, our Columbia Vista division continues to exceed our expectations and has been a positive addition to our business and product mix. Market Outlook Robust North American lumber markets have continued into 2021, with the combination of strong demand and constrained supply delivering an unseasonably strong pricing environment. Export market demand has improved, which we believe will support higher pricing for our products in Japan and China. While volatility may linger, positive pricing momentum is expected to continue as the result of strong repair and renovation and construction segments, North American housing fundamentals, and relatively low market inventories. Looking long-term, increasing demand for carbon neutral products and improved recognition of lumber as the most sustainable building product on the planet will grow demand and benefit the forest sector. Demand and pricing for our WRC and Niche products are expected to continue to improve as we benefit from the strength of the North American repair and renovation segment. In Japan, declining housing starts in 2020 reduced demand for lumber. As supply adjusted to the new level of demand, inventories rebalanced. Despite weaker demand and increased competition from lower priced, subsidized Japanese domestic species, the improved inventory situation is expected to support higher pricing in the near-term. We expect domestic saw log prices to increase in response to improving lumber markets, and greater competition from improved export markets. The global Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft benchmark pulp price has improved early in the first quarter of 2021 and, if sustained, this could lead to modest improvements in pulp log and chip pricing. Despite ongoing uncertainty arising from COVID-19 and the identification of new variants of the virus, we are hopeful that progress with vaccine roll-outs may positively influence lumber demand and pricing. We plan to utilize our flexible operating platform to adjust to market conditions and will continue to align our production volumes to match market demand. Softwood Lumber Dispute The US application of duties continues a long-standing pattern of US protectionist action against Canadian lumber producers. We disagree with the inclusion of specialty lumber products, particularly WRC and Yellow Cedar products in this commodity lumber focused dispute. As duties paid are determined on the value of lumber exported, and as our shipments to the US market consists of significant volumes of high-value, appearance grade lumber, we are disproportionately impacted by these duties. For a comprehensive history of the softwood lumber trade dispute and related North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA") challenge proceedings, please see "Risks and Uncertainties". Western expensed $34.6 million of export duties on its lumber shipments into the US in 2020 and recognized an offsetting export tax recovery of $31.6 million arising from the DoC's final determination on assessed rates for 2017 and 2018. Export duty tax was comprised of CVD and AD at a combined rate of 20.23% on all lumber Western sold into the US until November 31, 2020 and a combined rate of 8.99% effective December 1, 2020. At December 31, 2020, Western had $123.6 million (USD $95.2 million) of cash on deposit with the US Department of Treasury in respect of these softwood lumber duties, of which $36.7 million (USD $29.3 million) is recognized in the Company's balance sheet arising from rate determinations in 2017 and 2020. Including wholesale lumber shipments, our sales to the US market represent approximately 32% of our total revenue in 2020. Our distribution and processing centre in Arlington, Washington and our Columbia Vista division in Vancouver, Washington are expected to partially mitigate the damaging effects of duties on our products destined for the US market. We intend to leverage our flexible operating platform to continue to partially mitigate any challenges that arise from this trade dispute. Non-GAAP Measures Reference is made in this MD&A to the following non-GAAP measures: Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA margin, and Net debt to capitalization are used as benchmark measurements of our operating results and as benchmarks relative to our competitors. These non-GAAP measures are commonly used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties to evaluate our financial performance. These non-GAAP measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers. The following table provides a reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to figures as reported in our audited annual consolidated financial statements: (millions of Canadian dollars except where otherwise noted) Adjusted EBITDA Net debt to capitalization Figures in the table above may not equal or sum to figures presented elsewhere due to rounding. (1) Other expense, net of changes in fair market value less cost to sell of biological assets and loss (gain) on disposal of assets. Critical Accounting Estimates Reforestation Obligation Under BC law, we are responsible for reforesting areas that we harvest. These obligations are referred to as reforestation obligations. We accrue our reforestation obligations based on estimates of future costs at the time the timber is harvested. The estimate of future reforestation costs is based on a detailed analysis for all areas that have been logged and includes estimates for the extent of reforestation versus natural regeneration, the cost of planting including the cost of seedlings, the extent and cost of site preparation, brushing, weeding, thinning and replanting and the cost of conducting surveys. Our registered professional foresters conduct the analysis that is used to estimate these costs. However, these costs are difficult to estimate and can be affected by weather patterns, forest fires and wildlife issues that could impact the actual future costs incurred and thus result in material adjustments. Costing and Valuation of Inventory We cost our inventory using complex models that are required due to our integrated supply chain and the variability in the species and grades of log and lumber inventory. We cost our inventory at the average cost of production by facility, species and product for lumber and by end sort for each operation for logs. We value our log and lumber inventories at the lower of cost and net realizable value. We estimate net realizable value by reviewing current market prices for the specific inventory items based on recent sales prices and current sales orders. If the net realizable value is less than the cost amount, we will record a write-down. The determination of net realizable value at a point in time is generally both objective and verifiable. However, changes in product prices can occur suddenly, which could result in a material write-down in inventories in future periods. Valuation of Accounts Receivable We record an allowance for the collection of doubtful accounts receivable based on our best estimate of potentially uncollectible amounts. The best estimate considers past experience with our customer base and a review of current economic conditions and specific customer issues. The Company's general practice is to insure substantially all North American lumber receivables for 90% of value with the Export Development Corporation, while all export sales are sold on either a cash basis or with secured instruments, which reduces the Company's exposure to bad debts. Pension and Other Post Retirement Benefits Western has various defined benefit and defined contribution plans, and a group RRSP that provide retirement benefits to most of its salaried employees. A group RRSP is provided to certain hourly employees not covered by forest industry union plans. The Company also provides other post-retirement benefits and pension bridging benefits to eligible retired employees. Our defined benefit plans were closed to new entrants effective June 30, 2006. No further benefits accrue under these plans for years of service after December 31, 2010, and no further benefits accrue under these plans for compensation increases effective December 31, 2016. We retain independent actuarial consultants to perform actuarial valuations of plan obligations and asset values, and advise on the amounts to be recorded in the financial statements. Actuarial valuations include certain assumptions that directly affect the fair value of the assets and obligations and expenses recorded in the financial statements. These assumptions include the discount rate used to determine the net present value of obligations, the return on plan assets used to estimate the increase in the plan assets available to fund obligations, and medical and health care costs used to estimate obligations. Actual experience can vary materially from the estimates and impact the cost of our pension and post-retirement medical and health plans and future cash flow requirements. Environmental Provisions We disclose environmental obligations when known and accrue costs associated with the obligations when they are known and can be reasonably estimated. The Company owns a number of manufacturing sites that have been in existence for significant periods of time and, as a result, we may have unknown environmental obligations. However, until the sites are decommissioned, and the plant and equipment are removed, a complete environmental review cannot be undertaken. Contingencies Provisions for liabilities relating to legal actions and claims require judgements using management's best estimates regarding projected outcomes and the range of loss, based on such factors as historical experience and recommendations of leg

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