By Cindy Macdonald
Resolute Forest Products Inc. has accelerated its move into the tissue market with the acquisition of Atlas Paper Holdings, Inc., a manufacturer of at-home and away-from-home tissue products, including recycled and virgin paper grades.
“This is a step-change acquisition that provides us with an immediate position in the multi-billion-dollar North American consumer tissue market,” says Richard Garneau, president and CEO of Resolute Forest Products. “We’re following through on our strategy toward the Resolute of the future with an acquisition that capitalizes on our unique ability to capture synergies by integrating forward our U.S. market pulp assets. This acquisition also gives us immediate tissue industry experience as we work toward bringing our Calhoun tissue project online by early 2017.”
Based in Florida, Atlas Paper manufactures branded and private label tissue products for the at-home and away-from-home markets. It offers both virgin and recycled products, covering economy, value and premium grades. Atlas Paper operates three tissue machines, with an annual production capacity of approximately 65,000 short tons; 14 converting lines in Hialeah (Miami) and Sanford (Orlando); and a paper recycling facility in Tampa. The company employs about 360 people.
It will be “business as usual” at Atlas Paper in terms of relationships and commitments to suppliers and customers, says the new owner.
Garneau adds: “This transaction fits nicely with our June announcement to build state-of-the-art tissue and converting facilities in Calhoun that will produce approximately 60,000 tonnes per year of at-home, premium bath tissue and towel focused on the private label market. By integrating our U.S. pulp assets to produce high-quality products, we will compete in that market as one of only a few integrated producers, using the latest technology.
“We will benefit from the know-how and the expertise of Atlas Paper’s experienced tissue manufacturing, sales and management teams, and we will have access to its customer base.”
The purchase price of the transaction was US$156 million, including working capital. Resolute expects to maintain Atlas Paper’s current structure, and that most employees, including management, will remain with the organization.