Buckeye Considers Increasing High-end Specialty Pulp Production in Florida

April 28, 2011 - Buckeye Technologies announced that its Board of Directors has approved funding for a comprehensive evaluation of the company's Florida mill's potential to further increase its high-purity specialty wood pulp capacity.

Buckeye's high-end specialty wood pulp grades include ethers, high strength viscose, filtration and acetate, which are used in the production of food and pharmaceutical products, food casings, tire cord, filtration media and acetate tow. According to Buckeye, global demand for these products is growing and Buckeye has a proven history of producing these technically demanding grades.

Buckeye said that its specialty wood pulp production continues to be sold out and the mill's potential expansion would help meet growing customer demand in these high-end applications.

"Currently the lead option in this evaluation is to increase our Florida mill's high-end specialty capacity by 30,000 metric tons with a target startup date at the end of 2012," said John Crowe, Buckeye's chairman and CEO.

"The overall capacity of the mill would remain at its current 465,000 ton per year level, but the mix of high-end specialty production would increase," Crowe explained.

"In addition to the mix improvements, we plan to further enhance the performance attributes of the fluff pulp produced at our mill," he said.

"We expect this project would generate returns significantly above our cost of capital. We believe this option could provide excellent value to our customers and our shareholders. We intend to complete our evaluation and make a final decision on the potential expansion in August 2011," Crowe added.

SOURCE: Buckeye Technologies