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Voyageur Panel had good year

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Although they’ve only been operation for seven months, Voyageur Panel had a very fruitful 1997 and the young company is looking forward to 1998.

Mill manager Percy Champagne said the oriented strandboard mill in Barwick had one of the fastest start-up times in the industry--and is far ahead of the company’s original projections.

"We’re 18 million feet ahead of where we planned at this time," Champagne said. "We’re basically at full capacity, in excess of 350 million board feet a year.

"If it’s not the best start-up, it’s one of the best," he added.

Voyageur Panel also has managed to establish itself in the construction market in its inaugural year, Champagne said.

"We haven’t had any problems moving our product," he said. "We continue to get repeat orders."

And the OSB mill got a little more publicity earlier this month at the "Construct Canada" trade show in Toronto, a home and builders show that featured about 700 exhibitors.

Voyageur Panel shared a booth with a company that produced an SIP panel, which is OSB attached to an insulative styrene core.

"It’s a technology that’s been around for 10 or 20 years that’s just starting to be used," Champagne said, noting the local mill provided the OSB for the panel.

"It’s not a big market area for us but it lets people know Voyageur Panel is around," he added.

In other news, strand board might not be the only thing Voyageur Panel may be producing down the road.

"We’re doing research and development on new products," Champagne said, although he wouldn’t specify as to what. And he did note there probably wouldn’t be any capital expenditures done in the mill over the six months or so.

Meanwhile, with 1997 coming to an end, Champagne said the company is looking to keep going in the same direction--forward.

"We had some contracts with the Home Depot and we’re looking at long-term relations," he said.

"It’s going to be business as usual," he remarked. "A place we can take pride in."

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