IP to Close Three Mills
PURCHASE, NY—International Paper has announced that three mills will be closed and another scaled back to help fulfill plans to reduce production capacity by 1.2 million tons annually in the uncoated paper, market pulp, unbleached Kraft paper and containerboard businesses.
Approximately 2,500 employees at the mills and related forestry operations will be impacted by the shutdowns. The affected facilities include mills in Mobile and Courtland, AL; Lock Haven, PA; and Camden, AR.
“International Paper’s merger and acquisition activities over the past five years have given us the flexibility and low cost capacity that allows us to realign production more efficiently and reduce our higher-cost operations,” says Chairman and CEO John Dillon. “Couple this with our on-going divestiture activities, and the result will be a stronger, more focused, more profitable IP.”
“Quite frankly, this was not an easy decision to make. Terrific, hard-working people are hurt at times like this. But, we cannot continue to operate “business as usual” if we are to win in the tough, global business environment in which we operate today,” Dillon adds. “We will do everything possible to help reduce the adverse impact on our employees and communities. On the positive side, we feel strongly that by taking this action, both our shareowners and employees will benefit from a stronger, more efficient, more focused IP.”
Employees impacted by the decisions will have access to support services, including outplacement services and job counseling. International Paper and organized labor representatives were scheduled to meet to bargain the effects of the closures on unionized employees.
The shutdowns will result in reductions of approximately 820,000 tons, or 18 percent, of International Paper’s U.S. uncoated papers, 120,000 tons (7 percent) of its North American market pulp, 230,000 tons (5 percent) of its U.S. containerboard and 50,000 tons of unbleached Kraft paper capacity.