Catalyst Paper to Make Further Employee Cuts

May 27, 2009 - Catalyst Paper said that it is making further staffing reductions due to the global economic recession and deteriorating market conditions that have forced production curtailments at the company's Elk Falls and Crofton pulp mills.

Approximately 100 staff positions will be affected by the decision.

Catalyst said permanent reductions will occur mainly at the Richmond and Nanaimo offices, while the indefinite layoff of 55 salaried staff will take place at the Elk Falls mill and Crofton pulp mill.

Both mills were curtailed indefinitely at the end of February as nearly 40 percent of the company's production capacity is currently idled.

The severance of 42 employees will be completed over the next few months as the business continues to streamline its corporate structure and support functions, Catalyst said.

Staff layoffs will take effect June 8, 2009, the company added.

Catalyst said that these unprecedented layoffs within the salaried workforce reflect the severity of recent demand declines and the likelihood that curtailed production will not restart in the short term.

The company expects savings from the layoffs to be in the range of $350,000 per month with a further $4 million in annualized savings from the permanent staffing reductions.

One-time severance costs associated with this program are expected to not exceed $5 million, Catalyst said.

"This is an exceptionally difficult time in the industry and current market conditions cannot support the current staffing level," said Richard Garneau, president and chief executive officer.

"The steps we are taking (May 26) will continue to bring costs down as we strive to put in place the lean manufacturing structure necessary for what could be a smaller paper market going forward," Garneau added.

SOURCE: Catalyst Paper

PaperAge. Copyright © O'Brien Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.