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Facts, Figures and Faces: Cascades – Strong and Innovative 2007

Incorporated as a village in 1922, the small town of Kingsey Falls in Quebec can trace its name across the Atlantic to the village of Kingsey in Oxfordshire, England. Initially known as an agricultura...


July 1, 2007
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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Incorporated as a village in 1922, the small town of Kingsey Falls in Quebec can trace its name across the Atlantic to the village of Kingsey in Oxfordshire, England. Initially known as an agricultural community, the pulp and paper industry soon made its mark in the area, with a paper mill in the community since 1873. Since 1964 the names of Cascades and Kingsey Falls have been linked. Relatively humble beginnings have led to a corporation that provides employment for more than 14,000 individuals in more than 100 North American and European centres. A quality that has remained intact, one that acts like glue bonding the corporation together, is the strong dedication to the concept of recycling. This is one of the foundations the company was initially built on when brothers Bernard and Laurent Lemaire joined with their father to found Papiers Cascades. Stephane Ct, plant manager of Cascades Plastiques said, “Everything in my mill is recycled, we do it almost automatically without giving it much thought. It is part of our culture to recycle.”

Cascades & Norampac

Today, Cascades stands as a leader in the production, conversion and marketing of items such as packaging products, boxboard, cartonboard, fine specialty papers and tissue papers. Its expertise in the fields of recycling and de-inking remain cornerstones of its operation. Referred to as the corporate culture, the firm puts special focus on social responsibility and preservation of resources. Environmental protection, technological development and human resources management are key variables that define the corporation’s values.

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In the past six months, Cascades has certainly not been far from the headlines with the initial announcement, on December 5, 2006, of reaching an agreement in principle with Domtar to purchase 50% interest in Norampac. On December 29, 2006 the deal was solidified, creating a winning formula of synergies for the future. Norampac refers to its operation as “the box people” and this aptly describes their specialty in corrugated packaging products. It is Canada’s foremost manufacturer of linerboard and corrugated medium, and one of North America’s leaders in corrugated productions. At the time of the acquisition, Alain Lemaire, president and CEO, stated, “The acquisition of Domtar’s 50% interest in Norampac represents an important step towards our stated strategic goal of concentrating our activities in packaging and tissue, two of the strongest sectors in the industry today.”

Marc-Andr Dpin, president and CEO of Norampac added, “While this transaction marks the end of a joint venture that has been very beneficial for Norampac…it also constitutes an important step in the long-term development of Norampac. Cascades is fully committed to developing its packaging group to its fullest potential and Norampac will benefit from this strategy going forward.”

The stage was set for strong performance in 2007. For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2006, Cascades reported net earnings of $3 million ($0.04 per share) compared to a net loss of $97 million ($1.19 per share) for the same period in 2005.

Launch of Bioxo

On March 15, 2007, Cascades officially launched a new product that is not only a world-wide first, but illustrates the company’s continuing concern for environmental protection at every level of its operations. Bioxo is the first product line of containers made from totally oxo-degradable polystyrene foam. Every year Cascades manufactures several hundred million food containers targeting markets in the agri-food and restaurant industries. “We’ve been producing these products for 30 years,” said Sandra Hudon, director of sales, specialty products group, Plastic & Moulded Pulp Products. “To add this line of oxo-degradable containers is a big plus for Cascades and results from extensive research and testing that took over three years.” With a strong sense of pride she added, “It’s a step in the right direction, and even though the cost might be approximately 10%-13% higher, we believe that it is the right time for this product.”

Bioxo is the result of the addition of TDPA (Totally Degradable Plastic Additives), developed by Vancouver-based firm EPI. Mixed with the base resin, the TDPA additive gives the polystyrene foam special degradation properties, and the performance of the packaging products is not compromised. “When discarded, Bioxo containers degrade within three years, in comparison to traditional polystyrene foam containers which could take up to 500 years,” explained Hudon. At the product launch, Mario Plourde, president and COO of Cascades Specialty Products said, “We are extremely proud to introduce this major innovation in response to wishes expressed so often by consumers and the agri-food industry.” The concept of degradation is quite simple. When discarded into a landfill, oxygen, combined with heat, UV radiation or mechanical stress transforms the polystyrene foam with its TDPA additive into a fine powder. There is no question that this product confirms Cascades’ strong commitment to environmental protection.

Cascades Plastiques

There are eight operating mills within the Cascades operations at Kingsey Falls, with Stephane Cot at the helm at Cascades Plastiques, where he has been for the past 14 years. The operation is part of the Cascades Specialty Products Group which specializes in the manufacturing and marketing of products in the areas of kraft papers, moulded plastics, converting, construction materials, uncoated board (100% recycled fibres), wastepaper recovery and deinking. This division symbolizes that Cascades does not only produce paper. “Being the only mill of its kind in Kingsey Falls, I sometimes feel like the ambassador for Cascades going out and explaining our product line. It comes naturally to me and I am proud of not only the mill, but also the employees and our products.” He added, “The introduction of the manufacturing of Bioxo is a big plus for us and we look forward to growing with a product that is environmentally friendly and that we believe in.” The mill distinguished itself in 1988 by becoming the first industrial plant in Canada to use a new inflating agent to eliminate chlorofluorocarbons from its manufacturing process. In 1997 it additionally became the first North American company in this sector to receive its 1SO-9002 certification.

“We run a mill here where we all communicate and build together for the future,” added Cot, “and when I go home, my family and I apply the same ideas about recycling in our daily lives. It is just part of our way of life.”

Your comments and suggestions are welcomed at zsoltp@pulpandpapercanada.com

By Zsolt Patakfalvi

Cascades Plastiques AT A GLANCE

* Start of operations: 1972 Present product manufactured since 1977

* No. of employees: 133

* Product capacity: 235 million square feet annually

* Trademarks: Gusto, Bioxo

* Markets: QC, Maritimes, Western Canada, ON, New England and central USA

* Certified: ISO 9001 (2000) & HACCP

Cascades CORPORATE VALUES

Respect and commitment are the central values of the Cascades culture and philosophy. We respect and are committed to promoting personal development and quality of life, not just for the 14,000 employees whose daily work fuels the growth of the Cascades Group, but also for the communities that surround our 120 businesses.

Of all the elements that have contributed to Cascades’ history of success, the two that have undoubtedly done the most to differentiate Cascades from the rest of the pulp and paper industry are its approach to doing business and its corporate culture. This culture, based on workforce respect and commitment as well as social responsibility and preservation of resources, has been a constant source
of innovation and advancement for the Cascades Group Indeed, Cascades has successfully channelled the energy and talent of its employees to build a world-class company, while maintaining the organizational flexibility required to adapt to changing markets.