Element5 is a business that engineers, manufactures, and participates in the installation of cross-laminated timber (CLT). CLT is a premium building material that has applications in low to mid-rise buildings with the ability to capture the visual warmth of wood but also benefit from significantly larger open spans than conventional building materials. The company has a small manufacturing plant in Ripon, Quebec, and is building a modern, highly automated facility in St. Thomas, Ontario. The new plant will have easy access to road and rail transport throughout the Ontario and Midwest markets.
The Kensington Private Equity Fund has invested $10 million in the equity of Element5 and is raising additional funds to complete the construction of the new facility.
The manufacturing equipment for the new plant is being built in Slovenia by Ledinek, a well-respected manufacturer of production lines in Europe. Around two-thirds of the equipment is in storage in St. Thomas with the balance to be shipped in the coming months. The plant is currently 28% complete and, to date, there have been no delays or concerns raised about supply or shipping disruptions. The sales pipeline is growing nicely, and the company plans to be shipping product from its new facility plan in the first quarter of 2021, reaching full production later in the year.
Element5 is adding value to Canadian softwood lumber by shifting from selling the commodity to using that commodity as the raw material for a manufactured product with significant engineering content. There is a growing demand for wood building products as people increasingly lean towards green components in all things, and as architects develop increasingly interesting applications for CLT, they are looking to take advantage of its unique aesthetic and structural properties.