Sappi Closes Michigan Mill

Jon Robinson
August 26, 2009

Sappi Fine Paper North America is to permanently cease operations at its coated-fine-paper mill in Muskegon, Michigan, affecting approximately 190 employees. The mill has suspended operations since March 2009. As a result of the closure, Sappi will record a charge of approximately US$30 million in its fourth financial quarter.

"The global economic downturn has resulted in very weak demand for coated fine paper worldwide. In North America, industry conditions remain very challenging, with current year-to-date shipments of coated wood free paper down 32 percent from 2007 levels and only modest recovery forecast for 2010," said Ralph Boettger, CEO of Sappi Ltd., based in South Africa.

Since March, products previously made at Muskegon have been and will continue to be manufactured at the company's other paper mills in Skowhegan, Maine and Cloquet, Minnesota.

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