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NewPage to close Wisconsin mill
REGION -- NewPage Corp., the operator of the former Stora Enso North America paper mills in Wisconsin, said Wednesday that it will close its mill in Whiting, WI at the end of February 2011, affecting 360 employees.
Coated paper production will be transferred to other NewPage facilities, the Miamisburg, Ohio-based papermaker said in a press release.
The Whiting mill currently operates two paper machines, which produce approximately 250,000 tons annually of coated paper used by the publishing and printing industry, with a primary focus on mail-order catalog, magazine and retailer end uses.
"This remains a difficult time for the paper industry, for NewPage and for many of our customers," said George Martin, NewPage president and chief executive officer. "While we have seen modest recovery in our coated markets, we continue to monitor the supply and demand balance and make the difficult choices needed to avoid oversupplying those markets."
"NewPage has the capacity and operational flexibility to produce both coated groundwood and coated freesheet on the same machines at other facilities. Therefore, we do not expect any interruptions in service to our customers while closing the Whiting mill, which is our highest cost-per-ton coated groundwood mill," he said.
NewPage said the closure costs and an asset impairment charge taken against the Whiting mill are the main contributors to lower earnings expectations for the fourth quarter. The company said it expects to report a net loss for the fourth quarter in the range of $275 million to $315 million. The estimate includes total asset impairments of $215 million to $240 million and other closure costs estimated at $10 million to $15 million.
NewPage shut down a mill in Kimberly, WI, near Appleton in 2008, resulting in the loss of 600 jobs.