We expanded our diverse product lines in 2015 with the purchase of Anthony Forest Products of El Dorado, AR. Anthony has six facilities, and produces lumber, engineered wood products and wood chips. Its operations include laminating plants in El Dorado and Washington, GA, which produce glulam, and a joint venture with EACOM Timber Corporation in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, which produces sawn I-joists. Glulam is glued laminated lumber, which is made up of a number of layers of dimension lumber bonded together with moisture-resistant adhesives.
The purchase of Southern Lumber was completed April 1, and we officially welcomed 80 new employees. Southern Lumber has a strong reputation for quality efficiency and customer service, and the acquisition expands our scope and expertise in southern yellow pine. The company has a large log southern yellow pine dimension lumber mill in Hermanville, Mississippi, and produces mainly long wide-width lumber.
We marked the completion of the first phase of the purchase of Balfour Lumber Company and Beadles Lumber Company with an event in Georgia in February. We acquired 55% of the companies when the agreement closed in January 2015, and will attain the balance in January 2017. This includes sawmills in Thomasville and Moultrie, Georgia, that produce quality southern yellow pine, and are located in an area with a high-quality and sustainable fibre supply.
In January, we finalized the third phase of our agreement to buy Scotch Gulf Lumber of Alabama, which has sawmills in Mobile, Jackson and Fulton. The final phase is scheduled to close in July 2016.
In July, we sold our one third interest in Lakeland Mills Ltd. and Winton Global Lumber.
In August, we completed an investment agreement with Conifex Inc., a subsidiary of Conifex Timber Inc. secured on a forest licence of 200,000 cubic metres of annual harvest volume. In early 2016, Canfor exercised its option to convert the loan into an ownership interest in the forest licence.
In December, we bought the Meadow Creek Cedar forest licence near Kootenay Lake in BC’s southern interior, with an allowable annual cut of 96,513 cubic metres.
We closed our Canal Flats sawmill in British Columbia in September because of poor markets and a lack of economic fibre supply. We worked with employees to ease the transition and offered them all the option to transfer within the company.
In January 2015, Canfor completed the sale of its Taylor, BC, pulp mill to Canfor Pulp. This brings operational synergies by aligning all of our pulp and paper operations under the expertise of our Canfor Pulp leadership. During 2015, Canfor’s ownership of Canfor Pulp increased to 51.9% per cent as a result of share purchases.