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Housing affordability eases in some states

Australian timber industry news - Do, 21/07/2016 - 03:52
The HIA Housing Affordability Index shows affordability for home buyers eased back in the June 2016 quarter, according to the latest Affordability Report from the Housing Industry Association. Source: Timberbiz According to the HIA Affordability Report, affordability fell by 3.7% during the June 2016 quarter and was 2.1% less favourable than the same period a year earlier. The capital city housing affordability index fell by 4.3% during the quarter, while regional market index experienced a 1.9% improvement. “Home price growth moderated in the early part of the year and the HIA Housing Affordability Index showed an improvement in affordability during the March 2016 quarter. However, in the June quarter dwelling price growth returned and the index reverted to the level we saw at the end of 2015,” HIA Economist, Geordan Murray said. “While there was a decline in the headline index tracking the national picture, there was substantial variation around the country – with substantial differences between states, and also differences between capital city markets and regional markets.” The geographic variation in affordability is most evident in the comparison between Melbourne and Perth. Over the last year, the median dwelling price in Perth has fallen by 4.7% while Melbourne’s has grown by 11.5%. This has seen the affordability index for Perth increase by 6.2% over the last year, while the index for Melbourne has fallen by 6.2%.” “These differences in affordability align with the relative economic performance of these two states,” Mr Murray said. “The Western Australian economy is navigating the tail end of the mining boom which has seen conditions in the local labour market deteriorate and consequently the rate of population growth has fallen quite sharply. “In contrast, Victoria has experienced a healthy level of growth in the labour force and continues to record the strongest rate of population growth in the country.” During the June 2016 quarter, improvements in affordability were observed in three capital cities with the largest improvement in Perth (+3.2%), Darwin (+2.9%) and Hobart (+2.2%). Affordability worsened in the remaining five capital cities during the March 2016 quarter with the largest decline recorded in Melbourne (-7.4%), followed by Canberra (-5.7%), Sydney (-1.6%), Adelaide (-1.3%), and Brisbane (-1.0%).

Chainsaws and brawn: ‘Snake project begins in Missoula

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 23:08

Crews are restoring the forest along the lower Rattlesnake drainage to better health, though the project's limited scope has left some frustrated.

UFPI posts record net earnings, net sales; retail and construction markets lead sales gains

Forest Products IIII - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 22:05
[GlobeNewswire] - GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 20, 2016-- Universal Forest Products, Inc. today reported net earnings attributable to controlling interest of $33.4 million for the second quarter of 2016, up 28.6 percent over ...

FAO's State of the World's Forests Calls for Positive Interactions Between Agriculture and Forestry

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 18:31
It is not necessary to cut down forests to produce more food. Promoting more positive interactions between agriculture and forestry can stop deforestation, build sustainable agricultural systems and improve food security. This is the key message of The State of the World's Forests (SOFO), the flagship publication of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), presented at the opening of the 23rd session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO).

UNESCO Committee Adds 12 Sites to World Heritage List

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 18:30
The 40th session of the World Heritage Committee adopted the Istanbul Declaration on the Protection of World Heritage, which invites States Parties to take measures and act together against the destruction of common heritage of humankind in cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Participants also added 12 sites of special cultural or physical significance to the World Heritage List.

Forest Industry Performance: June 2016

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 17:59

Forest industry performance in May and June was reported by both the US government and the Institute for Supply Management.

Total industrial production (IP) decreased 0.4 percent in May, erasing most of April’s 0.6 percent gain. Manufacturing output moved down 0.4 percent, led by motor vehicles and parts; Wood Products also contributed with a 1.3 percent drop. Total IP in May was 1.4 percent below its year-earlier level; at nine months of YoY decreases, this is the longest streak in modern US history of IP weakness outside of a confirmed recession.

Following Water in the Rocky Mountains

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 17:00
In cycling the Continental Divide in Colorado, you get a vivid picture of where much of our water comes from. During my long bike rides up there, I commonly find snow still melting in June. This snowmelt adds to streamflow that becomes our renewable water supply and my drinking water supply. The part of rain [...]

Kafkaesque IRS Hounds a Black Liquor Critic

PaperIndex TimesNews - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 14:49
Here's the latest chapter in the shameful story of how the U.S. government misappropriated bio-fuel funds to subsidize U.S. paper companies. The Internal Revenue Service knew it was bending the laws on multiple occasions. But the only person it's investigating is the whistleblower who helped bring this scandal to light: http://bit.ly/29Sv0wL

Public letter to the World Bank from UN Special Mandate holders

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 14:43
20 May, 2016

The holders of the UN Human Rights Council Special Mandates related to the rights of indigenous peoples have written to the President of the World Bank to reiterate their concerns about the use of the ill-defined term ‘broad community support’ in place of international standards requiring consent from indigenous peoples prior to projects that impact on their lands, lives, identities and resources. The letter also highlights inaccurate reporting of the High Level Dialogue conducted by the World Bank in Addis Ababa to discuss the proposed changes to safeguards for the rights of indigenous peoples.

Click here to read the letter.

RELATED CONTENT What are the World Bank Safeguards?

European Commission’s forest proposal weakens Paris climate commitment

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 14:28
Today the European Commission released its proposal for integrating emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) into the EU’s 2030 climate and energy package. The Commission’s proposal will allow member countries to emit more greenhouse gases. The European Commission proposal would allow some EU countries to use emissions … read more

Trees on farms: the missing link in carbon accounting

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 13:36
While tropical forests continued to decline, a remarkable change is happening: tree cover on agricultural land has increased across the globe, capturing nearly 0.75 Gigatonnes carbon dioxide every year. A new study titled Global Tree Cover and Biomass...

BillerudKorsnäs Interim Report January–June 2016

PaperIndex TimesNews - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 11:34
KEY HIGHLIGHTS

Although net sales for the quarter amounted to SEK 5 439 million which was SEK 50 million lower compared to the same period last year, for comparable units net sales increased with SEK 105 million or approximately 2%.
Sales volumes increased with 4% compared to the same period last year.
Earnings per share for the quarter amounted to SEK 1.93 (1.92).
Costs for planned maintenance shutdowns in the production units in Gruvön and Skärblacka amounted to SEK 244 million, compared to estimated SEK 220 million.
Significant improvements were made in the production and production was running according to plans towards the end of the quarter.

OUTLOOK

Demand and order situation for the third quarter is expected to be stable with normal seasonal variances for all business areas.
Average prices in local currency in the third quarter are in general anticipated to be stable with exceptions for some segments.
No changes to wood prices are anticipated for the third quarter.
Gävle and Karlsborg production units will have planned maintenance shutdowns during the third quarter.


Comments by BillerudKorsnäs’ CEO Per Lindberg:

Stability and production platform investment

”After a couple of troublesome quarters we are now back on track with production running according to plans. The second quarter performance is in line with our own expectations. During the quarter it was decided to proceed with the investment in Skärblacka. The investment will enable further growth in attractive market segments and at the same time streamline the company’s production structure. The investment program will develop the Skärblacka production unit in Sweden into a world leading center for machine glazed, MG, kraft paper production, hence creating a competitive future platform for Packaging Paper to enable the selective growth strategy”


THE RESULT
Net sales for comparable units increased 2% compared to Q2 last year and year on year net sales show a slight increase of 1%. Adjusted EBITDA for comparable units improved with 3% compared to the first six months last year, in spite of approximately SEK 74 million higher costs for periodic maintenance shutdowns this year. Results improved in both Consumer Board and Corrugated Solutions business areas. The item affecting comparability is related to a fraud case that caused a loss of SEK 25 million in June, this is something we treat very seriously and we work diligently to try to recover the money. Our return on capital employed reached 14% which is above our target and our working capital in relation to sales improved from previous quarter from 12% to 11%. Our net debt to EBITDA ratio increased due to dividend payout to 1.32, but is significantly lower than our target of below 2.5.

MARKET OUTLOOK
Overall the market was stable and we anticipate that to continue.

For Business area Packaging Paper the brown and white sack paper markets strengthened seasonally. The pulp price was down compared to Q2 last year. The remaining segments in Packaging Paper had a stable market development with no changes to local prices.

Consumer Board delivered lower sales volumes than the first six months last year as a consequence of the problems in production in Q4 last year and the previous quarter. But as we now are back on track in production we anticipate that we will reach our growth targets during the second half of the year.

Business area Corrugated Solutions shows a continued strong performance in spite of the fact that the market did not develop as we anticipated during the quarter where liner has been stronger than expected and fluting a bit tougher than anticipated.

STRATEGY
Part of our strategy for creating long-term profitable growth is to expand our position in the value chain as well as geographically. Based on our focus and expertise in the packaging area we want both to develop and complement our sustainable materials with packaging solutions to a larger extent. It is a natural development but also necessary. In new markets, complete solutions are often required in order to introduce new materials.

During the past six months, the former subsidiary PACCESS (now Managed Packaging), with a business model fully based on packaging solutions, was fully integrated into BillerudKorsnäs. Even more recently a complete packaging system was launched together with Bosch. The latter is a unique solution for sealed packaging of dry foods based fully on renewable material. The development toward more packaging solutions is a natural evolution within each business area. In addition there is room for more revolutionary solution development in the newly formed subsidiary BillerudKorsnäs Venture AB.

BillerudKorsnäs’ President and CEO Per Lindberg and CFO Susanne Lithander will present the interim report at a press and analyst conference at 10.00 CET on Wednesday 20 July 2016.
Venue: Tändstickspalatset, Västra Trädgårdsgatan 15, Stockholm


For further information, please contact:
Per Lindberg, President and CEO +46 (0)8 553 335 00
Susanne Lithander, CFO, +46 (0)8 553 335 00

This information is information that BillerudKorsnäs AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Securities Markets Act. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact persons set out above, at 07.00 CET on 20 July 2016. This information has been prepared in both a Swedish and an English version.


BillerudKorsnäs provides packaging materials and solutions that challenge conventional packaging for a sustainable future. We are a world leading provider of primary fiber based packaging materials and have customers in over 100 countries. The company has 8 production sites in Sweden, Finland and the UK and about 4 200 employees in over 13 countries. BillerudKorsnäs has an annual turnover of about SEK 22 billion and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. www.billerudkorsnas.com

Norske Skog: Good Performance, Material Write-Downs In Q2

PaperIndex TimesNews - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 11:33
July 19,2016 --Net profit in the second quarter was NOK 229 million. A gain after the exchange offer exceeding NOK one billion in April was offset by material impairments of the asset portfolio of NOK 1.4 billion at the end of the quarter. Gross operating profit for the second quarter was NOK 335 million, which is the best gross operating earnings since the third quarter of 2012. Norske Skog's equity at the end of the quarter was NOK 190 million.



New auditor



The former auditor EY suggested in its audit report for 2015 that the company's asset portfolio should be written-down by at least NOK 2 billion, where particularly the values in Europe were considered to be overvalued. The consulting firm BCG has in the process of auditor change, prepared an independent market analysis that largely coincides with the views of Norske Skog's board and management. The final BCG-report concluded with a minor impairment in Australasia and no impairment in Europe.



The company however has to write down its fixed assets materially due to a more backward-looking perspective on margins than previously assumed. This has been necessary in order to get a new auditor to accept the assignment after 2015. The second quarter accounting effects of the asset write-downs was NOK 1.4 billion, respectively NOK 0.3 billion in Europe and NOK 0.9 billion in Australasia. In addition, the minority stake in Malaysian Newsprint Industries (MNI) was written-down by NOK 0,2 billion.



The election of new auditor will take place at an extraordinary general meeting on 10 August, which is the deadline set by the Register of Business Enterprises (Foretaksregisteret) to register new auditor. The company's board proposes that the EGM elect BDO as new auditor.



Operational development and gross operating earnings



Gross operating earnings (EBITDA) in the second quarter 2016 was NOK 335 million, which was a significant increase from NOK 242 million in the first quarter and a significant improvement from NOK 138 million in the second quarter last year. The improvement was mainly due to lower energy costs. Gross operating earnings (EBITDA) for the first six months totalled NOK 577 million. Norske Skog had guided for gross operating earnings in the first half above NOK 500 million. Net income in the second quarter was NOK 229 million compared with a negative NOK 578 million in the second quarter 2015.



- After a comprehensive refinancing of the group, major cost reductions and significant progression on new growth projects, the Group is better equipped to meet the future than earlier. The improvement in the market balance, after significant capacity closures in Europe and North America in recent years, should maintain margins in the second half at the same level as in the first half, while seasonally the sales volumes are higher in the second half, says Sven Ombudstvedt, CEO of Norske Skog.


Cash flow from operating activities before net financial items was NOK 321 million compared with NOK 285 million in Q1 2016. The cash balance at the end of the quarter was NOK 725 million.

In the second quarter, Norske Skog completed a comprehensive refinancing of the debt, which increased the average maturity of existing bonds to 6 years and significantly reduced the debt. Net interest bearing debt was reduced by almost NOK 1.7 billion from the end of the first quarter, from NOK 8.1 billion to NOK 6.4 billion, as a result of debt restructuring in connection with the exchange offer, the repair equity offering and unrealized (without cash effects) currency effects. After these transactions, the equity was NOK 190 million at end of the second quarter compared to negative NOK 154 million at the end of the first quarter.

UPM And BEE Into Agreement On Renewable Energy Supply To UPM Hürth Mill

PaperIndex TimesNews - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 11:31
(UPM, Helsinki,July 19, 2016 ) - UPM has entered into a conditional agreement with Blue Energy Europe (BEE) for the supply of heat for its Hürth mill in the Cologne area in Germany. The deal is expected to be finalised during the first half of 2017 at the latest.

As part of the deal BEE will acquire a biomass boiler, turbine and generator from UPM's closed Myllykoski site in Finland. BEE will transfer the power plant components to the vicinity of UPM's Hürth mill, and provide steam for the mill.

"This opportunity is both economically and environmentally attractive. BEE's heat supply will be biomass-based and thus, its fossil CO2 emissions are zero. Additionally, it will decrease the energy costs of the Hürth mill," says Anu Ahola, Senior Vice President, Newspaper Publishing, UPM Paper ENA.

UPM continually looks to reduce its carbon footprint through the use of renewable energy. "Also, a reuse of the existing renewable energy plant is a good example of our corporate responsibility," adds Anu Ahola.

UPM has been actively seeking alternatives for use of the Myllykoski site and its equipment after closing the mill in 2011.

For further information please contact:
Anu Ahola, Senior Vice President, Newspaper Publishing, UPM Paper ENA,
tel. +358 2041 50130, anu.ahola@upm.com, best available at 12-13pm and 16.30-17.30pm EET.

Jochen Sautter, Blue Energy Europe GmbH, Edisonallee 27, 89231 Neu-Ulm
tel. +49 731 1466 1471, js@blue-energy-europe.com

UPM, Media Relations
9.00-16.00 EET
tel. +358 40 588 3284
media@upm.com

About UPM Hürth
UPM Hürth paper mill is located in the outskirts of Cologne, in Western Germany. Since 2002 the mill has produced high quality paper for newspapers and advertising supplements from recovered paper. Annual production capacity of the mill is up to 330,000 tonnes of newsprint and it employs approx. 120 people.

About Blue Energy Europe
Blue Energy Europe is specialised in the development and implementation of sustainable energy infrastructure projects. www.blue-energy-europe.com

About UPM Paper ENA
UPM Paper ENA (Europe & North America) is the world's leading producer of graphic papers, serving customers in Magazine Publishing & Advertising, Merchants, Home & Office, and Newspaper Publishing. A leader in sustainable and high performance papers, UPM Paper ENA's production is located in Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, and the United States. With headquarters in Germany, UPM Paper ENA employs approximately 9,000 people. To learn more about UPM Paper ENA visit: www.upmpaper.com

About UPM
Through the renewing of the bio and forest industries, UPM is building a sustainable future across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Paper Asia, UPM Paper Europe and North America and UPM Plywood. Our products are made of renewable raw materials and are recyclable. We serve our customers worldwide. The group employs around 19,600 people and its annual sales are approximately € 10 billion. UPM shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki. UPM - The Biofore Company - www.upm.com

Evoqua Awarded Contract to Support Green Energy Plant

PaperIndex TimesNews - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 11:30
PITTSBURGH--July 19,2016--Evoqua, the global leader in helping municipalities and industrial customers protect and improve the world's water, today announced it has been chosen by energy developer DCO Energy, LLC to provide equipment and services for a new $200 million 50 MW biomass/wood waste-to-energy cogeneration project for consumer products giant Procter & Gamble Co.

chosen by DCO Energy to provide equipment/services for new cogen project for Procter & Gamble Co.
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The new plant, to be built by DCO Energy in Albany, Georgia, will provide 100% of the steam energy used by P&G's Albany manufacturing facility. The steam will be used mainly for drying paper products.

Scheduled for completion in mid-2017, the plant will be known as Albany Green Energy. It will be owned and operated by Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation.

The cogeneration plant will turn waste wood and agricultural products into 425,000 pounds per hour of process steam for P&G and 385,000 MWh per year of electrical power to be purchased by Georgia Power.

Evoqua has been selected to provide a boiler feedwater makeup system and a condensate polishing system for the operation. The feedwater makeup system will use Evoqua's Vantage® PTI multimedia pretreatment system; double-pass Vantage Membrane Series M286 Reverse Osmosis systems; VFD pumps, and ion exchange polishing resin using customized Evoqua FlexMate™ tanks.

Both the feedwater makeup and condensate polishing processes will take advantage of Evoqua services to reduce capital costs and on-site chemical storage. Off-site resin regeneration for the feedwater makeup system will be done at Evoqua's Jacksonville, Florida service center. The condensate polishing system will use Evoqua's off-site condensate polishing services in Rockford, Illinois.

"This project will help our customer’s customer meet a commitment to operate on 100% renewable steam," says Rodney Aulick, President of Evoqua’s Industrial Projects & Services division. "We're proud to be recognized for our expertise and customer commitment as part of an effort that will make generating energy a cleaner and more efficient process."

About Evoqua

Evoqua Water Technologies is the global leader in helping municipalities and industrial customers protect and improve the world's most fundamental natural resource: water. Evoqua has a more than 100-year heritage of innovation and industry firsts, market-leading expertise, and unmatched customer service, where it continues to transform water and wastewater. Its cost-effective and reliable treatment systems and services ensure uninterrupted quantity and quality of water, enable regulatory and environmental compliance, increase efficiency through water reuse, and prepare customers for next-generation demands. Evoqua's unparalleled portfolio of proven brands, advanced technologies, mobile and emergency water supply solutions and service helps cities across the world provide and discharge clean water, and enable leisure and commercial industry to maximize productivity and profitability. For more information, visit www.evoqua.com.

Asia Pacific Forestry Week: Tackling Climate Change Challenges and Opportunities

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 08:10

Presentation by Christopher Martius – Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Christine Fung – GIZ Fiji, Pacific Community (SPC) @ Asia Pacific Forestry Week 2016

The post Asia Pacific Forestry Week: Tackling Climate Change Challenges and Opportunities appeared first on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

Amazon land tenure study wins top award

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 02:22

By Kate Evans, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News Two scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR),Peter Cronkleton and Anne Larson, have received the top award from the journal Society & Natural Resources for a 2015 article on land tenure in the Amazon, which forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. Their paper […]

The post Amazon land tenure study wins top award appeared first on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

Obregón performs to raise awareness of forest threats

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 00:00

Costa Rican pianist and composer Manuel Obregón performed a unique experimental concert at FAO headquarters this week in a bid to increase awareness about the threats to forest ecosystems posed by climate change and unsustainable logging. Obregon’s concert was in front of an audience from FAO’s Committee on Forestry, for which some 600 senior government ministers, heads of forest services and other representatives from around the world are gathered in Rome.


Vote for #COFO23 #ChampionTrees photo contest winner

GFIS - Mi, 20/07/2016 - 00:00

Six photos are competing on FAO’s Facebook page in a public vote for the winner of the #COFO23 #ChampionTreesphoto contest. Launched in the run-up to the 23rd session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO 23) taking place at FAO headquarters in Rome this week, the contest challenged people to send in photos of extraordinary trees they knew. The aim of the contest was to raise awareness about the fact that many trees are under pressure from changes in the uses of land, or from the effects of climate change such as increased weather events, forest fires and pests.


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by Dr. Radut