PORTLAND, Ore. -- Stung my losses, building products company Louisiana-Pacific Corp. has embarked on a radical restructuring initiative to cut debt that includes the sale of businesses and a 45% reduction in its workforce.

Establishment of the program follows news that the company was selling its 65% stake in a joint venture in Ireland after deciding to divest itself of its European operations and focus on the North American market.

Louisiana-Pacific, which makes wood and plastic products for the building industry, said it would sell 935,000 acres of timberland in three states, along with its lumber and industrial panels operations, in a move to maintain investment grade credit ratings and focus on profitable businesses.

The restructuring would reduce the Portland, Ore.-based company's workforce to 5,300 from 9,700, and leave it with 30 to 35 mills in North America instead of the current 60. However, the workforce reduction does not represent mass layoffs but rather a transfer of workers at the units being sold to their new employer, a company spokesman said.

The company expects to raise as much as $700 million from the sale of assets, nearly all of which will go toward reducing debt. The acres it plans to sell are in Texas, Louisiana and Idaho.

Louisiana-Pacific will now focus on its plastic products, oriented strand board (OSB), and composite and engineered wood products operations, which had a combined revenue of $1.4 billion in 2001.

In late April, Louisiana-Pacific reported a narrower first-quarter loss of $3 million. High cost positions in its plywood and particleboard and fiberboard businesses, which will be sold, offset an uptick in the construction market driven by higher wood product prices.

In its earnings report, it also said it had $1.20 billion in long-term debt, up from $1.15 billion a year earlier.