Scotia Investments to Close Minas Basin Containerboard Mill in December

Scotia Investments has decided to close down its aging Minas Basin containerboard mill in Hantsport, Nova Scotia.

Nov. 1, 2012 - Scotia Investments, a private holding company, today notified the employees of its Minas Basin Pulp and Power containerboard mill in Hantsport, Nova Scotia, Canada that the mill will be closing in December of this year.

The decision will impact 135 employees at the mill.

Scotia's President and CEO, Archie MacPherson, said the age of the mill played a major role in the decision by Scotia's Board to close the operation.

In a memo to employees, MacPherson said, “With last year's restructuring of operations and adjusting of the workforce, many have remained hopeful that, together with some recent improvement in pricing, the mill could be competitive. However, after several years of challenge, the board has concluded that it is time to recognize that the mill is at the end of its cycle. Long term sustainability cannot be achieved. Like most other mills in this sector, we continue to experience marketplace challenges, increased competition (using newer, more efficient technology) and rising costs of operation. In recent years, we have made many improvements to try and address these issues and have explored numerous options in an attempt to make the mill competitive."

MacPherson said 40 of the 135 employees will be transitioned to other companies within Scotia's group, including CKF Inc., which produces moulded pulp and foam products including Royal Chinet paper plates. He added that Scotia “will begin working immediately with the remaining employees to find alternative options and support them through this transition and mill closure...We will be fulfilling all employment obligations, including the pension plan.”

MacPherson said that Scotia plans to continue to focus and invest in those growth opportunities that provide the greatest benefit to the company, its employees and the province. “While we have worked closely with governments over many years, we are not seeking support for the mill,” he added.

MacPherson noted that Scotia isn't getting out of the paper or packaging industry and is re-focusing within the paper sector on areas better suited for success.

“Our sister company CKF will continue to expand operations and increase production for a growing customer base and new markets, which is why we are able to offer some positions to outgoing MBPP employees. Furthermore, the energy division including the power dam operations of MBPP will continue as going concerns,” MacPherson said.

Minas Basin Pulp and Power Company Limited was founded in 1927 in Hantsport, Nova Scotia, by the late Roy A. Jodrey. In the beginning, the family-owned and operated company produced a single product — groundwood pulp, adding paperboard capacity in 1946.

The mill's paper machine, a 110" (280cm) 2-ply Fourdrinier, has a maximum speed of 1500 feet per minute and is designed to produce light weight paperboard.

Currently, Minas Basin produces 100% recycled paperboard products such as linerboard and coreboard and has a production capacity of 100,000 metric tonnes per year.

SOURCE: Scotia Investments Group of Companies