July 2, 2018

New owner of Rumford paper mill will retain workers, eyes investment

Courtesy / Catalyst Paper
Courtesy / Catalyst Paper
Catalyst Paper, based in British Columbia, announced Friday it completed the sale of its mill in Rumford and a mill in Wisconsin to a Chinese paper company for $175 million.

About ND Paper LLC

ND Paper LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nine Dragons Paper Limited, an environmentally friendly manufacturer of various types of paper and paper-based products. Nine Dragons is the largest containerboard producer in Asia and is a leading paper product manufacturer globally. It primarily makes a broad variety of packaging paperboard products, including linerboard, high performance corrugating medium, coated duplex board, as well as recycled printing and writing paper and specialty paper. Nine Dragons operates nine mills and 39 machines with total annual production capacity of over 14 million tons. During the last twelve months ended Dec. 31, 2017, the company generated revenues of U.S. $6.8 billion, operating income of U.S. $1.4 billion and net income of U.S. $1.0 billion. Nine Dragons was established in 1995 and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on March 3, 2006. As of May 24, 2018, the company's market capitalization was approximately U.S. $7.4 billion.

ND Paper LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nine Dragons Paper Ltd., completed on Friday its acquisition of Catalyst Paper Corp.'s mills in Rumford and Biron, Wisc.

Under the terms of the agreement previously announced on May 25, ND Paper paid $175 million for the two pulp and paper mills. The acquisition is expected boost Nine Dragons' performance in the second half of calendar 2018.

"We are very excited about the new products, team members and new business opportunities we can create with this acquisition," Ken Liu, CEO of ND Paper, said in a news release. "We look forward to working with the teams and local communities in Maine, Wisconsin and Ohio to expand our industry leadership globally."

The Rumford and Biron mills have a combined manufacturing capacity of nearly 900,000 tons across five paper production and two kraft pulping lines. The mills produce coated one-side, coated freesheet, coated groundwood, and hardwood and softwood market pulp grades for a diverse base of global customers.

The Rumford mill, which employs about 620 people, will now be known as ND Paper — Rumford Mill.

The Lewiston Sun Journal reported that a company spokesman said there would be no layoffs, adding that ND Paper planned to make investments to improve the mills' capabilities.

Responding to the newspaper's question based on a paper industry analyst's comment about the possibility of Nine Dragons converting Rumford's mill from coated paper production to containerboard, which is a growing market, the company replied that it will evaluate " the strengths and capabilities of the mills in order to understand what appropriate investments may be needed to enhance the mills' competitiveness globally."

Catalyst Paper President and CEO Ned Dwyer released the following statement Friday on the closing of the sale of Catalyst's U.S. operations to ND Paper: "I want to thank our employees, whose dedication and effort led to a significant improvement in the performance of the Rumford and Biron mills and the Dayton operations center. I also want to thank the communities of Biron, Rumford and Dayton for their support of Catalyst Paper."


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