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NEWSPRINT: COMPETITION BUREAU TELLS ABITIBI TO SELL QUEBEC MILL

MONTREAL, QC -- The Canadian Competition Bureau has told Abitibi-Consolidated that it must sell its Port Alfred, QC, newsprint mill as a condition of it agreeing to Abitibi's acquisition of Donohue In...


March 1, 2001
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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MONTREAL, QC — The Canadian Competition Bureau has told Abitibi-Consolidated that it must sell its Port Alfred, QC, newsprint mill as a condition of it agreeing to Abitibi’s acquisition of Donohue Inc. The federal regulatory body carried out a review of the February 2000 deal valued at $7.1-billion, notably its potential effect on the eastern Canadian newsprint market.

The leading newsprint-maker agreed to the federal regulator’s conditions, although somewhat reluctantly. “It wasn’t our intention to sell the Port Alfred mill, but, in light of the position adopted by the Bureau and the likelihood of costly and lengthy litigation, we feel that this is the best resolution for all our stakeholders,” said John Weaver, president and chief executive officer. “Moreover, selling Port Alfred will provide us with proceeds to consider various alternatives, including other acquisitions elsewhere in North America, and an acceleration of our debt-reduction program.”

The Port Alfred mill, located in La Baie, QC, produces 400 000 tonnes per year (t/y) of newsprint and employs 670 people. Abitibi has retained CIBC World Markets as its sales agent.

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Abitibi’s 400 000-t/y Port Alfred newsprint mill in La Baie, QC, is up for sale. The company plans to use the proceeds of the sale to pay down debt and look for other acquisitions.