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Cascades buys newsprint mill for US$34M

The Canadian company plans to convert the facility to recycled containerboard production

July 26, 2018  By PrintAction Staff

Canadian packaging and tissue products maker Cascades has acquired the White Birch, Bear Island manufacturing facility in Virginia, for US$34.2 million. The newsprint paper machine presently located on the site will be reconfigured to produce recycled lightweight linerboard and medium for the North American market. During the period prior to the conversion, White Birch will temporarily operate the site as a newsprint mill, under a 27-month lease.

The new machine, Cascades explains, is expected to have an annual production capacity of 400,000 tonnes and construction costs on a per tonne basis that are competitive with similar conversion projects. As presently contemplated, the conversion would require an estimated investment of between US$275 and US$300 million, with production expected to begin in 2021. Details of the project will be announced when plans are finalized and approved by the Board of Directors, which is expected in the course of 2019.

“This project is directly in line with the goals of our strategic plan which include, among other things, investing in our core sectors of packaging and tissue through modernization, and expanding our geographical footprint. In addition to the paper machine that is particularly well suited for conversion, the Bear Island site is strategically located for raw material sourcing and logistics,” says Mario Plourde, CEO of Cascades.

“The Bear Island site has several advantages including access to an experienced workforce with expertise in paper making. Moreover, the site provides a platform for continued growth through downstream converting capacity. It will also allow us to better serve our customers and to expand our market share by increasing our capacity to provide clients with high quality recycled lightweight linerboard similar to what we produce at our Greenpac Mill,” adds Charles Malo, COO of Cascades Containerboard Packaging.

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