PROCESSWEST Magazine Online

Millar Western expands through takeover

Don Horne   


Two companies that have worked together for decades are now one, with Millar Western Forest Products Ltd. taking primary control.

Millar Western, one of Alberta’s leading forest products companies, announced this week the acquisition of Spruceland Millworks Inc.

“For the past 35 years, Spruceland Millworks has been a leader in Alberta’s value-added wood products sector,” said Craig Armstrong, President and CEO of Millar Western, “developing new products and building new markets in Canada, the U.S. and overseas.

“Through most of those years, Millar Western has been Spruceland’s largest supplier of raw material.  We look forward to working in even closer partnership with Spruceland leadership to continue the advancement of this dynamic business.”


Millar Western has acquired all shares of the company, its manufacturing operations in Acheson, Alta., and its woodlands assets, bringing together two companies that have enjoyed a productive business relationship for decades.

Spruceland Millworks is a value-added manufacturer and international distributor of SPF wood products.  Started in 1982 by Ben Sawatzky with a simple table saw and a second-hand forklift, the company today has grown to become a “go-to” supplier for its customers and trusted employer in the region, according to the company press release.  Its more than 100 employees operate a 130,000-square foot manufacturing facility in Acheson.

Alberta forest companies have a reputation as progressive, responsible and innovative,” said Tim Fazio, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Atlas Holdings, which entered into partnership with Millar Western in May 2017, becoming majority shareholder.  “We are excited about the prospects for growth and expansion within the province’s forest sector, led by proven companies like Millar Western and Spruceland.”

This transaction will strengthen Millar Western by integrating the company’s existing sawmill operations with Spruceland’s value-added manufacturing capabilities. Operating as a division of Millar Western, Spruceland will continue to work under its existing, proven management team and highly-regarded brand.

Ben Sawatzky, Spruceland Millworks CEO, commented that the two companies share a family-business background and a common approach to management.

“With their long history in Alberta, strong core values, proven ability in sustainable forest management, commitment to the value-added sector and reputation as a good employer, Millar Western is ideally suited to assist Spruceland in its next phase of growth,” said Sawatzky. “I am especially pleased that this strategic alliance will ensure a strong future for Spruceland’s dedicated staff and security of supply for our valued customers.”



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