Fortress Paper's Dissolving Pulp Mill to Take Market Downtime

Dec. 18, 2013 - Fortress Paper said that it will be taking about 10 weeks of market-related downtime at the Fortress Specialty Mill (the "FSC Mill") in Thurso, Quebec. The downtime will begin on December 22.

In a statement, Fortress Paper said, "The recent imposition of an interim duty by China's Ministry of Commerce ("MOFCOM") on the import of Canadian dissolving pulp into China has made it uneconomical for the FSC Mill to continue producing dissolving pulp at this time and the current market pricing for northern bleached hardwood kraft (NBHK) pulp is not sufficient to warrant production."

Employees at the FSC Mill will be encouraged to take their holidays, the company said.

Fortress Paper noted that the shutdown will also reduce the scheduled June 2014 maintenance shutdown and allow the company to manage its dissolving pulp inventory build-up which resulted from the volatility and uncertainty in pricing in the short term dissolving pulp market.

Chadwick Wasilenkoff, CEO of Fortress Paper, said, "As a result of a thorough evaluation of the current economics at the FSC Mill, the board of directors of Fortress Paper has determined that the fiscally prudent action is for the FSC Mill to take approximately 10 weeks' market downtime, subject to prevailing market conditions. This will result in a reduction of the cash burn based on current market prices and the current preliminary duty that has been imposed.

"During this downtime, we will continue to implement various operational improvements that will bring our overall cost structure down, as well as proactively focus on preventative procedures to enhance the FSC Mill's productivity and reliability when it resumes operation.

"We still have confidence in the future pricing and prospects for dissolving pulp as the market adjusts to the impact of the duty and future growth demands," Wasilenkoff said.

Fortress Paper operates internationally in two distinct business segments: dissolving pulp and security paper products. To learn more, please visit: www.fortresspaper.com.

SOURCE: Fortress Paper Ltd.