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Catalyst Paper looking for ways to make Powell River profitable


November 19, 2014
By Pulp & Paper Canada
Catalyst Paper

Community stakeholders and employees of Catalyst Paper’s Powell River mill are being told there is a three-year window to bring the mill back to profitability. Most recently, Eldon Haggarty, president of Local 1, Communications Energy and…

Community stakeholders and employees of Catalyst Paper’s Powell River mill are being told there is a three-year window to bring the mill back to profitability. Most recently, Eldon Haggarty, president of Local 1, Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, told the local newspaper no closure has been announced, but that mill workers have been told to look at all options.

“We are making everyone well aware that we are going to have to do things differently,” Haggarty told the Powell River Peak. “[The mill] is not profitable at the moment and we need to turn it around.”  The Powell River mill has three paper machines producing uncoated mechanical grades.

According to the Peak story, Joe Nemeth, president and CEO of Catalyst Paper, said in a written statement: “There is no question that we are facing significant cost escalations such as BC Hydro rates, high overall taxes and fibre availability, which pose a threat to the viability of our manufacturing facilities. To the credit of our employees and their ingenuity, we continue to adapt to the changing marketplace by adapting our machines, and with targeted capital investment, to produce the kinds of paper that are desirable to our global customers. As has always been the case, each of our divisions’ viability will be determined by its ability to manufacture cost-effectively and sell its products.

“We believe the Powell River division can be viable.”

A similar message was delivered at a community stakeholders meeting held September 30. Fred Chinn, general manager of the Powell River division, said the three paper machines were running below optimal efficiency.

Union president Eldon Haggarty said the company and the union are examining many options to run the machines at higher efficiencies. He said that his union membership is onboard with working to create profitability.