South Africa’s largest sawmiller York Timbers is to start importing logs because of domestic shortages.

The company, which also announced a 540% growth in annual operating profits to R270.6m, has already been importing some volumes of wood as a trial. But it expects to start importation on a volume basis next year.

York’s incredible profits rise was partially attributable to the acquisition of Global Forest Products last year.

Revenue jumped 136% to R929m in the year ended December 31, 2007, against a background of record forest fires in South Africa which resulted in a R106m uninsured loss for York.