Domtar to reduce uncoated freesheet capacity

Domtar said it will permanently shut down two of its uncoated freesheet machines.

The closures will take place at the Ashdown, Ark. pulp and paper mill and the Port Huron, Mich. paper mill. These measures will reduce the company’s annual uncoated freesheet paper capacity by about 204,000 short tons and will result in a workforce reduction of about 100 employees.

The closure of the Ashdown paper machine will be effective immediately and the Port Huron machine will shut down by mid-November.

“As difficult as these actions are, we believe they are necessary in light of the declining market for uncoated freesheet paper,” said John D. Williams, president and CEO of Domtar.

The Ashdown mill will continue to operate one paper machine with an annual uncoated freesheet paper production capacity of 200,000 short tons and employ about 725 people. In addition, the mill operates one of the world’s largest fluff pulp machines, with the flexibility to produce softwood pulp depending on market conditions. As a result of the closure of the paper machine, the mill will produce an incremental 70,000 air dried metric tonnes (ADMT) of softwood and fluff pulp, which will ramp up over the next 12 months.

The Port Huron mill will continue to produce a wide variety of technical and specialty papers for a broad range of customers, utilizing three machines with a total annual production capacity of 95,000 short tons. Following the closure, the mill will employ about 212 people.

“The closure of the two paper machines will enable us to right-size our paper production capacity with our customer demand,” Williams said. “This proactive measure is necessary due to increased imports and declining paper demand.”

Domtar is a leading provider of a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication, specialty and packaging papers, market pulp and absorbent hygiene products, and had about 10,000 employees serving more than 50 countries around the world.

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