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International Paper to Idle Bastrop, La. Pulp Mill

Nov. 21, 2008 - International Paper today announced the indefinite closure of its Louisiana Mill in Bastrop.

The decision to idle the 100 percent pulp mill operation is because of the continuing decline in pulp demand from its customers worldwide coupled with a weak economy across the globe, IP said.

The closure will affect 550 employees at the mill and result in curtailment of the company's annual pulp production capacity by approximately 450,000 tons.

The shutdown process will begin immediately, IP said.

The mill is currently taking downtime due to a lack of pulp orders, IP noted.

"We have carefully reviewed current options for the Louisiana mill and determined that because of an accelerating decline of pulp demand by our customers and the continued weakening of the global economic outlook for the foreseeable future, we needed to reduce our pulp production and close the mill indefinitely," said Wayne Brafford, IP's senior vice president, Printing & Communications Papers.

"Our company is committed to matching our supply with the needs of our customers, which makes this difficult business decision necessary in a rapidly declining pulp marketplace. We will also work closely with our customers to help them meet their product needs," Brafford said.

"As always, the most difficult part of this closure is the effect on employees, their families and the community. "The hard-working employees at the Louisiana mill have not only consistently performed and made excellent quality products for years, but have also been great examples of excellence in safety and employee engagement. We will do all we can to assist them during the closure process," Brafford added.

IP said salaried and non-exempt employees will be offered severance packages and outplacement assistance. The company is committed to working closely with union officials to determine benefits. Negotiations concerning the effects of the closure with the union will begin as soon as possible. Employee assistance providers will be available to support employee and family needs.

SOURCE: International Paper




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