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Chester Wood Products sold to new owner

Denyse Clark
July 19, 2013

The News & Reporter
Chester Wood Products, Chester County's largest industrial employer, has been sold. Wood Resources, LLC, an investment group and the most recent owners of Chester Wood Products at 1445 Lancaster Hwy., will sell the local plant to Boise Cascade, according to a Chester County official who asked not to be identified. Boise Cascade is expected to take ownership in 60 days. According to the Wood Resources website, "Chester Wood Products LLC, located in Chester, S.C., produces Southern Pine sheathing plywood with panels ranging from 3/8" to 3/4" in thickness, as well as structural veneers for engineered lumber. Chester's strategic location allows overnight delivery to approximately 60 percent of the U.S. population. Chester was constructed in 1980 and purchased by Weyerhaeuser as part of its acquisition of Willamette Industries in 2002. Chester was acquired by Wood Resources LLC in 2004 and employs approximately 300 employees."

Chester Wood Products on S.C. Highway 9 was one of three mills owned by Wood Resources. In addition to its Chester facility, the company had mills in North Carolina and Washington state. The Moncur, N.C. mill is reported to also be sold to Boise Cascade. The local plant, which runs 24/7, owes its success to its people, Chester General Manager Dick Baldwin said in a prior interview with The News & Reporter. Chester Wood Products is reportedly a major contributor to the local economy with an annual payroll in excess of $15 million. It also pays more than $1 million a year in taxes and is responsible for a large number of support jobs for the surrounding counties. The mill buys $30 million of wood a year from Chester and 12-13 other counties within a 100-mile radius. In July 2012, Chester Wood Products announced expansion plans for its facility with a total investment value of $10 million, expected to generate 20 new jobs.

Boise Cascade released the following press release... Wood Resources LLC today announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its Southeast operations, which include Chester Wood Products and Moncure Plywood, to Boise Cascade Company, a leading wood products manufacturer and building materials distributor in North America. The sale is expected to be completed in the third quarter. Chester Wood Products, based in Chester, South Carolina, produces softwood plywood panels and veneer for a variety of end markets. Moncure

Plywood, based in Moncure, North Carolina, is a flexible specialty plywood mill that produces both hardwood and softwood panels. "We believe Boise Cascade will continue the progress that Wood Resources has made with our Chester and Moncure operations. In addition, we are pleased that our employees will become associates of a well-respected organization like Boise Cascade," said Richard Yarbrough, Chairman of Wood Resources. "At the same time, we look forward to focusing our efforts and investment on our two plywood operations in the Pacific Northwest, where we are committed to providing our customers with high- quality wood panel and veneer products." Tom Carlile, Boise Cascade CEO, commented that the addition of Chester and Moncure to Boise Cascade's Southern Region operations will help support Boise Cascade's internal and external customer bases.

"The acquisition of these two well-run facilities will strengthen our footprint in the Southeastern United States and enable us to better serve our customers in the Eastern and Southeastern United States" he said. "We welcome the Chester and Moncure employees into the Boise Cascade family." In 2004, Wood Resources, an operating unit of Greenwich, Connecticut-based Atlas Holdings LLC, acquired Chester and Moncure from Weyerhaeuser Corp. amid uncertainty about both mills' futures in an industry undergoing significant consolidation. Through a relentless focus on safety and continuous improvement, both Chester and Moncure have improved efficiency, productivity, and output, and have achieved excellent financial performance. "On behalf of Atlas, I would like to thank our management partners and associates at both Chester and Moncure for their hard work and dedication to operating excellence," said Edward Fletcher, partner at Atlas Holdings. "We are confident that Boise Cascade will provide ample opportunities for the mills' employees to excel. The mills are a central part of their communities, and they will continue to thrive under Boise Cascade's leadership."

Moving forward, Wood Resources will continue to operate Olympic Panel Products in Shelton, Washington, and the newly restarted Omak Wood Products in Omak, Washington, which produces softwood veneer for Northwest markets, as well as Douglas fir plywood for specialty and commodity applications. Moelis & Company served as exclusive financial advisor to Wood Resources LLC. Boise Cascade Company has filed an 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to entering into the purchase agreement with Wood Resources. Founded in 2003, Wood Resources is a manufacturer of plywood and veneer in the U.S. The company is based in Shelton, Washington, and is a unit of Greenwich, Connecticut-based Atlas Holdings LLC. Its operating companies include Olympic Panel Products and Omak Wood Products.

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