MONTREAL — AbitibiBowater is temporarily closing three sawmills in Quebec because of poor market conditions in the United States.
The company said Thursday its Lebel-sur-Quevillon sawmill, in northern Quebec, will shut for eight weeks, leaving 270 workers in limbo.
Its Maniwaki mill in western Quebec will also close for eight weeks, affecting 115 workers.
A further 55 employees will be laid off while AbitibiBowater's St-Hilarion sawmill, northeast of Montreal, suspends production for 12 weeks.
AbitibiBowater spokesman Pierre Choquette said softwood lumber production is barely profitable due a 10 per cent price drop over the past two months.
The company didn't rule out extending the closures if market conditions south of the border don't improve.
Choquette added that the temporary closures were not related to a cost-cutting review the company launched late last year.
Earlier Thursday, AbitibiBowater permanently closed its 75-year-old factory in Dalhousie, New Brunswick, throwing more than 350 people out of work.
The company has also recently ceased production at its Donnacona plant near Quebec City. The plant will remain open in February for an extensive cleanup before shutting indefinitely.
Union officials, representing Donnacona's 250 workers, have faint hope about the factory reopening.
The Dalhousie and Donnacona closures had been announced in November as part of a wide-ranging reorganization at AbitibiBowater.
On the TSX Thursday, AbitibiBowater shares closed up $1.13, or 4.8 per cent, a $24.76.