At March 31, 2013, Ainsworth's available liquidity, consisting of cash and cash equivalents, was $141.2 million, an improvement of $34.4 million since December 31, 2012 resulting from our strong operating results. Our improved financial position provides us with the flexibility to pursue our business plan and capitalize on the ongoing market recovery through strategic investment in the business. We are progressing well in our previously announced restart of High Level and look forward to growing with our customers as well as servicing new market segments in North America and Asia.
U.S. housing market indicators remain positive as we enter the peak building season. Foreclosures and existing home inventories are trending down against a backdrop of record low mortgage rates. Home prices and builder confidence continue to show signs of recovery. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of U.S. housing starts reported for March 2013 exceeded one million for the first time since 2008 - still well below what we believe to be normalized levels. Against this backdrop of optimism with respect to market demand, a number of OSB producers have announced plans to bring idle capacity back online.
Conference Call Information
Ainsworth will hold a conference call on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 10:00 am PDT (1:00 pm EDT) to discuss the 2013 first quarter results. The dial-in phone number is 1-800-319-4610 from inside the U.S. or Canada, and +1-604-638-5340 from outside of the U.S. and Canada, reservation 4176#. The recording of this conference call will be available until the end of day May 22, 2013.
The financial results are based on International Financial Reporting Standards. Investors, analysts and other interested parties can access Ainsworth's 2013 First Quarter Results as well as the Shareholders' Letter and Supplemental Information on Ainsworth's website under the Investors / Financial Reports section at www.ainsworthengineered.com.
Forward Looking Statements
Forward-looking information provided in this news release relating to the Company's expectations regarding OSB demand and pricing and the Company's future prospects and financial position are forward-looking information pursuant to National Instrument 51-102 promulgated by the Canadian Securities Administrators. The Company believes that expectations reflected in such information are reasonable, but no assurance is given that such expectations will be correct. Forward-looking information is based on the Company's beliefs and assumptions based on information available at the time the assumption was made and on management's experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected further developments as well as other factors deemed appropriate in the circumstances. Investors are cautioned that there are risks and uncertainties related to such forward-looking information and actual results may vary. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward looking information include, without limitation, factors detailed from time to time in the Company's periodic reports filed with the Canadian Securities Administrators and other regulatory authorities. The forward-looking information is made as of the date of this news release and the Company assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances, except as explicitly required by securities laws.
Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd.
Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer
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