North American lumber companies have posted improved third-quarter earnings on the back of strong demand.

West Fraser Timber‘s profits soared to C$78m from C$3m a year ago, due to a significant rise in shipments. Sales were up to C$700m from C$484m, but the stronger Canadian dollar could squeeze future earnings.

Plum Creek Timber Company‘s quarterly profits rose to US$77m from US$45m as demand for logs and timber products pushed up prices. Sales jumped to US$363m from US$290m.

Deltic Timber’s net profits totalled US$4.2m, a leap from US$400,000 in 2003. Finished lumber prices soared by 21%, helping the company’s mills division increase earnings to US$3.8m from a US$1m loss.

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation’s net profits dipped to US$108m from US$125m, as it faced significant hikes in energy and oil-based resin costs, plus a strengthening of the Canadian dollar. The firm’s sales rose to US$741m from US$671m.

International Forest Products Ltd saw its net profits increase to C$9.8m from a net loss of C$1.4m, with sales up to C$239m from C$150m. But a 30% decline in structural timber prices during the past two months and the strength of the Canadian dollar will impact future results.

Canfor reported a net profit of C$201.6m, some C$121.5m higher than a year ago, helped by buoyant lumber prices. Georgia-Pacific’s earnings leapt to US$240m from US$192m, thanks to strong results in its building products and robust paper divisions.

International Paper‘s profits were up to US$208m from US$113m a year earlier, with sales totalling US$6.6bn, up from US$6.2bn. But its forest product division earnings declined to US$191m from US$222m as a result of lower average pricing for lumber and plywood.