The European division, which comprises three UK mills – Inverness (OSB), Cowie (MDF and chipboard) and South Molton (chipboard and further processing), as well as the Genk OSB plant – recorded OSB and chipboard prices rises of 8% on a year ago. The prices grew by 3% and 2%, respectively, on the second quarter.

MDF prices improved by 4% compared to Q3, 2012 and were relatively unchanged from Q2.

European panel shipments were flat year-on-year. Total shipments, including flat-pack furniture, were 3% lower than the same quarter in 2012 and 5% lower than the prior quarter for seasonal reasons.

The mills produced at 95% of capacity in Q3 (and Q2, 2012), compared to 100% in the prior quarter.

Norbord’s North American business saw continuing healthy profits on the back of a revived US homebuilding industry. It recorded EBITDA of US$36m, down from US$58m a year ago, largely due to a fall in OSB prices and increased capital expenditure.

Norbord president and CEO Barrie Shineton said OSB pricing had remained volatile, with prices adjusting by 45% since the spring.
"OSB prices bottomed in September and we are now seeing a gradual, positive improvement that I will believe will continue into the fourth quarter," he said.

US housing starts are forecast to be up 20% this year to just under 950,000.