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ND Paper announces two-year investment and new jobs for Rumford mill

BY James McCarthy

10/9/2018
Photo / ND Paper LLC
Photo / ND Paper LLC
ND Paper LLC announced Monday it plans to invest $300 million over the next two years at its recently acquired mills in Rumford, shown above, and Biron, Wisc. The $111 million investment in Rumford is expected to create 50 new jobs.

ND Paper LLC, which completed in June its $175 million acquisition of Catalyst Paper Corp.'s mills in Rumford and Biron, Wisc., announced Monday it plans to invest $300 million in the two pulp and paper mills over the next two years.
The Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based company, which is the newly formed U.S.-based subsidiary of Nine Dragon Paper Ltd. in China, announced in a news release  that it will invest $111 million at the Rumford mill and $189 million at the mill in Wisconsin.
Combined, the company stated, the projects will create 77 additional jobs between the two states, with Rumford’s 650-employee mill expected to gain 50 of those jobs and Biron’s 350-employee mill to pick up 27.
ND Paper stated that the $300 million investment stems from a strategic review of its options “to further enhance the long-term sustainability of these facilities.” That review concluded a multi-faceted investment strategy that diversifies the two mills’s product mix and increases their overall capacity “fundamentally improves their viability for generations to come.”
"We invest for the long-term," Ken Liu, ND Paper's CEO, said in the release. "While strongly supporting our global fiber strategy, this suite of projects also dramatically improves the sustainability of these historic mills. Not only are we developing a U.S.-based container board business, we're also reinforcing our commitment to existing printing and writing and specialty customers with world-class, cost-competitive assets."
ND Paper’s parent company is the largest containerboard producer in Asia.

ND Paper stated its $111 million investment at the Rumford mill will finance two significant projects:

  • Construction of a greenfield recycled pulp facility. This pulp line will add approximately 1,200 air-dried metric tons per day of manufacturing capacity to the site.
  • Installation of a shoe press on the R15 paper machine, which increases the machine's production capacity by approximately 20%.
"I want to thank ND Paper for its continued investment in Maine," Gov. Paul R. LePage said in the news release. "This $111 million investment will lead to the creation of 50 new jobs, and is a great example of ND Paper's commitment to improving the overall competitiveness and stability of the Rumford mill. We look forward to continuing to support and partner with ND Paper, as we strengthen and diversify our forest products industry now and well into the future."
The $189 million investment at the Biron mill includes conversion of a paper machine to containerboard products, construction of a two-line greenfield recycled pulp facility, construction of a water treatment and fiber recovery plant, a packaged boiler to provide energy, storage facilities for raw materials and a finished product warehouse.

In the company’s recent annual report for the fiscal year ended June 30, Nine Dragons Paper Ltd. reported its sales increased by 34.7%, its gross profit rose by 45.2% and its net profit for the year by 79%.
The parent company reported that the Rumford mill’s three paper production lines were capable of producing one-side, coated freesheet and coated groundwood grades and had a combined annual production capacity of 550,000 metric tons. With two kraft pulping lines and a dryer, the mill has a combined annual pulping capacity of 520,000 metric tons for kraft pulp, both hardwood and softwood, with 400,000 metric tons being for internal consumption the the remaining 120,000 metric tons available for the market.
The strategy behind the June acquisition of the Rumford and Wisconsin mills is revealed in this statement: “While these mills provide cost-competitive quality products to their established customer base, the acquisition represents an upstream integration of the Group’s current business and is an important step in the Group’s international development and global fiber sourcing strategy, with access to high-quality virgin fiber and synergies, including cost savings, expected to be generated within the existing raw material sourcing and production processes of the Group.”
Combined the two mills have 1,000 employees and the capacity to produce 900,000 metric tons of pulp and paper annually.