NewPage to Put Kimberly, WI Mill on the Market
April 24, 2009 - NewPage said that it is putting its Kimberly, Wisconsin paper mill up for sale. An investment banking firm, Sanabe & Associates, LLC, has been engaged for the marketing and sales process.
"Before the sharp downturn in the coated paper markets, we had near-term hopes of restarting one or more of the machines at Kimberly on coated paper," said Mark Suwyn, executive chairman of NewPage. "We have kept the mill operational to be able to restart fairly quickly. The extended economic downturn has eroded coated paper demand further to where we have to more actively consider the utilization of the Kimberly site for other purposes."
"We will be working with the Kimberly and state officials as well as the former employees to develop the marketing materials," Suwyn added.
NewPage in August 2008 shutdown operations at the Kimberly mill indefinitely. The mill had been operating two paper machines, Nos. 96 and 97, which produced about 500,000 tons per year of coated freesheet.
Some 475 employees lost their jobs when the mill was closed, in addition to the 125 workers affected by the shutdown of the mill's No. 95 paper machine in May 2008.
Union officials expressed their support of NewPage's decision to actively market the sale of the mill rather than permanently closing it.
"We couldn't be more pleased that NewPage is considering a buyer for the Kimberly mill. We fully support their efforts and are working closely with them to help our former union members get back to work," said Jon Geenen, international vice president of the United Steel Workers (USW).
In January 2009, speculation grew that German papermaker August Koehler, who at the time was looking to acquire an existing facility in the U.S. to retrofit for thermal paper production, might be in talks with NewPage about the Kimberly mill. However, in late-January, the speculation ended when Koehler said talks with "undisclosed sellers" had been discontinued.
According to NewPage, Sanabe & Associates will be focused on companies who are interested in manufacturing non-coated products that do not directly compete with the current portfolio of printing papers offered by NewPage, as well as potential other uses for all or portions of the site.
Headquartered in Miamisburg, Ohio, NewPage Corporation is the largest coated paper manufacturer in North America, based on production capacity, with $4.4 billion in net sales for the year ended December 31, 2008. The company owns paper mills in Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nova Scotia, Canada. These mills have a total annual production capacity of approximately 4.4 million tons of paper, including approximately 3.2 million tons of coated paper, approximately 1.0 million tons of uncoated paper and approximately 200,000 tons of specialty paper.
SOURCE: NewPage Corp.