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NEWSPRINT: ABITIBI TO CLOSE MILLS, CUT HEAD OFFICE JOBS


June 1, 2000
By Pulp & Paper Canada

MONTREAL, QC — Now that the $6.8-billion acquisition of Donohue Inc. is complete, newsprint giant Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. has said it will chop 400 000 tonnes/year (t/y) of newsprint capacity and a…

MONTREAL, QC — Now that the $6.8-billion acquisition of Donohue Inc. is complete, newsprint giant Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. has said it will chop 400 000 tonnes/year (t/y) of newsprint capacity and an undisclosed number of jobs over the next 18 months. Expect the shuttering of high-cost, low-profit-margin operations, said John Weaver, Abitibi president and chief executive officer. “We have a very good idea” of which mills and other facilities are destined for the chopping block, he said. “The closurings will be staged over the next 12 to 18 months.” Although he refused to identify which mills face closure, it is clear that over 150 head office staff can expect pink slips by July. Donohue has 170 head office employees, and Abitibi about 250. Abitibi wants to keep its head office staff to 250 employees, or perhaps slightly higher. Weaver said the aim is to keep sales and general administrative costs for the enlarged firm at the same level they were in 1999 for Abitibi alone: at $170 million. Abitibi has 12 newsprint mills in Canada, six in the United States and sells 6.3 Mt/y of newsprint — giving it one-third of North American capacity and ranking it as the world’s largest newsprint producer.


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