News Brief

In June, Resolute Forest Products indefinitely idled the Mersey newsprint mill in Brooklyn, NS. The Bowater Mersey Paper Co. Ltd. mill is a joint venture between Resolute (51%) and the Washington Post (49%). “The mill produces newsprint primarily for export markets and is unable to compete due to declining prices in those markets, caused mainly by unfavorable currency fluctuations,” said Richard Garneau, Resolute’s president and CEO. The idling will reduce capacity by about 250,000 tonnes of newsprint. About 320 employees at the paper mill, associated woodlands, Oakhill sawmill and Brooklyn Power Corp. will be affected. Resolute is considering selling all its Nova Scotia assets.

Tembec said it will indefinitely idle its 240,000-tonne/y high-yield pulp mill in Chetwynd, BC, as of September 16, 2012. “The high-yield pulp market has continued to soften over the past year. At today’s price levels, it is virtually impossible to maintain viable operations given the current cost structure of the Chetwynd mill,” said Chris Black, Tembec EVP and president of the Paper and Paper Pulp Group. Chetwynd pulp is shipped primarily to Asia. The mill, built in 1990, was bought by Tembec in 2002.

Italian tissue paper and products manufacturer Gruppo Sofidel said it was to buy Florida-based Cellynne Paper. The agreement covers the acquisition of all the shares of Cellynne Holding Inc. with manufacturing facilities in Haines City, FL, Green Bay, WI, and Henderson, NV. The agreement is undergoing US antitrust approval. Sofidel, Europe’s second largest tissue producer, did not reveal the purchase price. The deal will increase Sofidel’s production capacity by 70,000 tons/y to 1.02 million tons/y. Cellynne also has a plant in China which was not included in the deal.

Cascades Inc. continued its consolidation with the permanent closure of the Cascades Tissue Group’s McNicoll Street plant in Scarborough, ON, on August 13, 2012. The unit’s paper napkin production for the Away-from-Home market, mainly for quick service restaurants, will be redirected to the Laval, QC, and Waterford, NY plants. Some 30 employees lost their jobs. The Milliken Street plant, also in Scarborough, was not affected by the closure.

After an explosion and fire in May caused extensive damage to the mill structures and systems, Verso Paper said it will permanently shut its Sartell, MN mill. One person died and four were injured in the incident. As well, some 5,000 tons of finished paper and other inventory were destroyed. Verso said the mill had not been competitive for a number of years and two of the three paper machines were shut down in December 2011. The closure will cut Verso’s coated groundwood capacity by about 180,000 tons/y and SC paper by 35,000 tons. One report noted that the Minnesota fire marshal said the fire was caused by an overheated air compressor; the damage was estimated at $50 million. (The full fire marshal’s report is at

Catalyst Paper said its Snowflake recycling mill in northeastern Arizona and its subsidiary the Apache Railway Company will close permanently as of September 30, 2012 “in the face of intense supply input and market pressures”. Since buying Snowflake in 2008, measures to address market challenges and input cost pressures included production of higher-value specialty paper grades at what was formerly a newsprint-only mill. It has tried to sell the mill on a going concern basis. The site will be sold.

Genivar, an engineering services firm based in Montreal, QC, bought WSP Group plc, a professional services consultancy based in London, UK. Amongst the investors are the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, each of which beneficially owns about 14.8% of the issued and outstanding common shares.

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