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News (October 01, 2002)


October 1, 2002
By Pulp & Paper Canada

STATISTICS: INDUSTRY LOOKING GOODMONTREAL, QC – Newsprint production grew 1.2% in July compared to the same month last year, resulting in an 88% operating rate, according to the Pulp and Paper Product…

STATISTICS: INDUSTRY LOOKING GOOD

MONTREAL, QC – Newsprint production grew 1.2% in July compared to the same month last year, resulting in an 88% operating rate, according to the Pulp and Paper Products Council. Total North American shipments progressed for a second consecutive month, 4.7% year-over-year in July – the highest growth rate in well over two years.

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Demand for printing and writing papers increased 2.6% year-over-year in July 2002. Production increased 4.4%, the first significant year-over-year growth so far this year.

World chemical market pulp producer inventories were up 217,000 tonnes in July, compared to the previous month. Pulp producers operated at 99% of capacity, up from 88% in the same month last year.

MILLS: AL-PAC LOSSES 10,000 TONNES

BOYLE, AB — Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc.’s market pulp mill in Boyle, Alta., was unexpectedly down for five days in August due to various operational problems.

The downtime resulted in 10,000 tonnes of lost hardwood pulp production, costing the mill about one-fifth of its monthly pulp production.

The mill resumed operations following a series of repairs, and is running well now.

FINANCIAL: DOMAN HAS MONEY WOES

VANCOUVER, BC, – Lumber and pulp manufacturer Doman Industries Ltd. is trying all options to reduce its heavy debt load.

The company operates nine sawmills and two pulp mills in British Columbia, and has just over $1 billion in long-term debt and has been struggling with U.S. trade duties on Canadian softwood and low pulp prices.

Doman announced its plan to defer the interest payment – the second time this year it has made such a move – reported to be about US$27 million, and reorganize its balance sheet. Industry analysts are speculating the company will try to sell its pulp operations, which include a kraft pulping facility and a sulphite pulping plant. It is also asking for financial aid from the Canadian government.

LEGAL MATTERS: UNIFORT INC. GETS COURT PROTECTION

MONTREAL, QC – Unifort Inc. and its subsidiaries, Unifort Scierie-Pte Inc. and Foresterie Port-Cartier Inc. have obtained from the Superior Court of Montreal an order extending for an additional period of 90 days, expiring on December 12, 2002, the court protection afforded to the company under the “Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act”.

Suppliers who will provide goods and services necessary for the operations of the company will continue to be paid in the normal course of business.

ASSOCIATION: STADACONA JOINS PAPRICAN

MONTREAL, QC – Quebec-based mill Papiers Stadacona becomes the latest full member of the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (Paprican).

Papiers Stadacona joins 31 Paprican member companies representing over 100 mill locations in Canada and the U.S.

OPERATIONS: MILL PERMIT RENEWED

FREDERICTON, NB – The New Brunswick government has renewed the operating permit of St. Anne – Nackawic Pulp Company for a five-year term. The renewal follows a 120-day public review process that was concluded in July. The Environment and Local Government Minister declared that the company has established a satisfactory compliance record throughout the years.

GOVERNMENT: BC GOV’T TO PAY $30M

TERRACE, BC – British Columbia’s provincial government has quietly made a deal with NWBC Timber and Pulp, which bought Skeena Cellulose, to pay up to $30 million to clean up the contaminated Prince Rupert mill site.

The deal has been a secret, until it was disclosed by NWBC in September. Under the terms, the province will cough up $30 million over five years for the clean up, followed by $15 million to be covered by NWBC in subsequent years.

ACCIDENT: TWO HURT IN EXPLOSION

GREEN BAY, WI – Two tissue mill employees were seriously hurt after propane exploded while they were filling lift truck tanks at Georgia-Pacific’s West mill.

One man suffered partial-thickness burns, and the other suffered blunt trauma leg injuries.

UNION: UNION AGREES

VANCOUVER, BC – British Columbia’s largest pulp and paper company, NorskeCanada, reached a tentative settlement with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada on a new five-year collective agreement, 10 months before existing contract expires.

The union is recommending acceptance of the agreement to its 2,300 members who work in NorskeCanada’s four BC mills.

INTERNATIONAL: FLOODED MILLS RESTART

NEW YORK, NY – After clearing out water and debris from the flood that wrecked havoc in southwest Germany, Mercer International’s paper mills in Heidenau and Farhbrucke re-opened and are once again fully operational.

Damage and lost sales are estimated at EUR 2.4 million.

TECH NEWS: WILD ROSE

Pushing Alberta’s first newsprint paper machine to operate at increasingly faster speeds provides both a maintenance and lubrication challenge for the team at Alberta Newsprint Company.

Affectionately named ‘Wild Rose’ after the provincial flower, Alberta Newsprint’s twin-wire, gap-former Voith paper machine is the fastest and hottest running paper machine in the country. Since it first began operating in Whitecourt, Alberta in 1990, production rates averaged approximately 1,360 metres per minute with operating temperatures ranging between 79 to 82 C.

By retrofitting and adding new equipment, the company was able to successfully increase output speed by 4%. ‘Wild Rose’ currently produces 700 tons of paper per day at a rate of approximately 1,415 metres per minute (4,642 feet per minute).

One key element that has remained constant since ‘Wild Rose’ began operating and throughout the retrofit is the paper machine oil. Gerry Poirier, maintenance coordinator for Alberta Newsprint, attributes this to the oxidation stability and water separation properties of Petro-Canada’s SEPRO* paper machine oils.

CAMPAIGN: FROM EMPLOYEES TO INSTANT CELEBRITIES

MONTREAL, QC – Domtar, the third-largest producer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America, launched an ad-campaign featuring their own employees having fun with paper in various ways.

Each of the five ads focuses on the individuality of the company’s employees as they candidly express themselves with paper. The ads aim to emphasize the people-oriented culture and the different feel customers can expect when they do business with Domtar.

PAPERCLIPS: MUCH ADO ABOUT PAPER

Literary genius William Woodsworth was obsessed with papers, literally. He once wallpapered a room in his house with newspapers because he loved the look and feel of newsprint.

British publisher Allen Lane was a pulp pioneer. In 1935, he printed the first paperbacks (called “Penguins”) on wood-pulp paper, binding it with paper boards. The first American paperbacks followed in 1939, with Robert DeGraff’s “Pocket Books”.

Source: Stranger than Fiction, Aubrey Dillon Malone

INSTITUTIONS: MERGER FOR TECHNOLOGY

ATLANTA, GA – The Board of Trustees of the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST) has agreed in principle to pursue a merger with the Georgia Institute of Technology as of July 1, 2003. Following a year of study in which several universities were considered, the Board accepted the Georgia Tech offer. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia must also approve the merger.

Georgia is the second largest paper producer in the United States and is heavily involved with the forest products industry. IPST has been an independent graduate school and research center supported by the paper industry for almost 75 years. Industry insiders say merging the research and academic operations of the two will give the industry the innovative technologies that it desperately needs.

ORGANIZATION: RUSSIA’S FIRST

WASHINGTON, DC – Ilim Pulp Enterprise, Russia’s largest pulp and paper producer, announced today that it has recently become the first Russian forestry company to join the U.S.-Russia Business Council, the Principal United States-based organization promoting bilateral trade. Ilim Pulp sees its membership as a springboard for expanding its
ties with the U.S., helping foster Russian business reform and attracting foreign investment.

FOREST: GOING, GOING, GONE!

HELSINKI, FINLAND – Stora Enso North America has signed an agreement to sell approximately 300,000 acres of its North American forestland to Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc. The value of the sale is EUR 151 million ($142 million US) to be paid in cash. The sale is in line with the earlier announcement regarding restructuring of forest ownership in Finland and the U.S.

The capital gain at operating profit level will be about EUR 52 million ($49 million US). The profit will amount to about EUR 0.04 per share.

The transaction consists of timberland in northern Wisconsin and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. After the sale, Stora Enso North America still owns 16,000 acres of forestland in Minnesota, and the process to divest it continues.

Stora Enso North America expects to reach an agreement with Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc. regarding wood supply from the acreage being sold.


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