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What’s New… (December 01, 2004)


December 1, 2004
By Pulp & Paper Canada

FINANCES

FINANCES

GASPESIA GRANTED PROTECTION — AGAIN

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MONTREAL, QC — The Gaspesia paper mill was handed down a fifth extension of its protection from creditors by the Quebec Superior Court. The extension was prolonged until November 5th, 2004.

Although a group of the company’s creditors requested a lifting of the protection, their appeal was denied. The group argues the company was dissolved once it became insolvent and is therefore not entitled to protection from creditors. The court repudiated this expostulation, saying the investors spent money to maintain the plant and to finalize a deal with creditors.

The former Parti Quebecois government entered into a partnership in what was supposed to be a $500 million project to modernize the old Abitibi-Consolidated plant. However, Tembec pulled out, after the price tag ran up to nearly $800 million. There were 650 jobs lost as a result.

SHUT DOWN

CASCADES SHUTS DOWN FJORDCELL

KINGSEY FALLS, QC — In a culmination of languishing labour relations and other troubling events, Cascades elected to shut down operations at Cascades Fjordcell. Management has locked out the mill’s unionized employees. The collective agreement with “Le Syndicat National des travailleurs and travailleuses des ptes et cartons de Jonquire” expired on April 30th, 2004.

The virgin pulp mill is located in Jonquire, QC. Part of its production is being sold to the Cascades Boxboard Group; the boxboard mill is adjacent to the pulp mill.

MEMBERSHIP

BOWATER JOINS FPAC

OTTAWA, ON — Bowater Incorporated is the newest member of FPAC, the Forest Products Association of Canada.

“We’re delighted to have Bowater join our ranks,” said Avrim Lazar, president and CEO of FPAC. “Bowater has a significant presence in Eastern Canada. Their experience in developing programs with Canada’s aboriginal communities and in implementing new technologies focused on protecting the environment will be invaluable to the work carried out by FPAC’s members.”

The membership will be effective as of January 1st, 2005.

OPERATIONS

PORT ALICE CEASES MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS

PORT ALICE, BC — Port Alice Specialty Cellulose, LLC ceased manufacturing operations on October 22nd, 2004. The decision was taken so the company can reorganize itself in what it refers to as a, ‘changing business environment’.

Company director John Sullivan explained, “product quality has been excellent, production goals are being met and customer and market demand is consistent. However, the negative impact of historically high oil costs, high wood costs and the significant change in currency valuations in the past five months have essentially put Port Alice into a dramatically different business environment.” Sullivan added, “The company is hopeful of resuming operations in the near term.”

JOINT VENTURE

STORA ENSO AND SHANDONG HUATAI JOINT VENTURE

HELSINKI, FINLAND — Stora Enso is embarking upon a joint venture with China’s Shandong Huatai Paper. The first step of the project will be to conduct a prefeasibility study concerning publication paper production in China, including a market analysis and an investigation of the possibility of transferring an existing paper machine to the country. The study should be completed in March 2005. Stora Enso will have a majority shareholding in the venture.

COMMUNITY

A PRICELESS GIFT

MONTREAL, QC — With the goal of promoting reading, Domtar is supporting the Literacy Foundation for the eighth consecutive year. The company is directing its energies to two of the foundation’s projects, the Domtar’s Paper Christmas for Literacy, and The Gift of Reading. The former assures annual supplies of paper for more than 400 organizations throughout Quebec and Ontario involved in the battle against illiteracy. The second project aims to provide youths with new books in an attempt to elicit their interest in reading.

There are more than one million people living in Quebec who are unable to read or write.

SALE

POSSIBLE BUYER FOR NACKAWIC MILL

FREDERICTON, NB — The CBC has reported the NB government may have a buyer for the St. Anne Nackawic pulp mill.

New Brunswick’s Business Minister Peter Mesheau confirmed he signed a memorandum of understanding with an interested company on October 20th. Although the province has agreed to keep the company’s name confidential for the time being, widespread circulation confirms that Tembec is the interested player. According to the CBC, Mesheu says he has met with company officials on more than one occasion and believes their interest to be genuine. Government officials have refused to confirm whether or not Tembec is the company in question.

NEGOTIATIONS

UPM AND EMPLOYEE NEGOTIATIONS COMPLETED

HELSINKI, FINLAND — UPM’s negotiations with employees in it Wood Products Division are over. Financially viable options were not found to the proposed closure of units and production cuts at the Alholma and Kajaani sawmills. It was determined that further processing at Aurekoski could continue virtually unchanged and the Kuopio plywood mill won’t be closed before early autumn 2005. The number of job reductions was slightly lower than expected.

FORESTRY

ABITIBI REGISTERED UNDER CSA STANDARD

MONTREAL, QC — Abitibi-Consolidated’s Quebec-West woodlands division and Champneuf sawmill are the first in the province to be certified by the Canadian Standards Association under standard CSA PLUS 1161-Chain of Custody for Forest Products originating from a Defined Forest Area Registered to CAN/CSA-Z809. The standard was designed to chart the progress of fibre used by sawmills from its point-of-origin in forests that have been certified under the CSA’s sustainable forest management standard.

AWARD

MILLAR WESTERN RESEARCH WINS AWARD

EDMONTON, AB — A Millar Western-sponsored project researching soil and water quality in the boreal forest won a 2004 NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation.

The Forest Watershed and Riparian Disturbance (FORWARD) project models the impacts of timber harvesting and natural disturbances on soils, hydrological processes, water quality and water flow in Canada’s boreal forests. The results are then used to develop decision-support tools for responsible, science-based forest management planning.

The project involved the collaboration of Millar Western Forest Products, Lakehead University, the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation as well as several other university and industry partners.

MEETING

MECHANICAL PULPING COMMITTEE MEETING

SASKATOON, SK — A total of 33 people donned gloves and hats and made their way to Saskatoon to attend the PAPTAC fall mechanical pulping committee meeting on October 18-20th, despite a raging snowstorm.

The meeting included the presentation of seven technical papers on the various aspects of thermo mechanical pulping, as well as a contribution of three papers from Alberta Research Council representatives on process sensor innovations. The program additionally allotted time for discussions regarding safety, operation and pulp quality issues.

Delegates also attended a tour of Millar Western Meadow Lake mill.

PAPERCLIPS

Start spreading the news — hankie style

Sometimes having a wealthy family just doesn’t cut it. Such was the case for the half-brother of German Chancellor Gerhard Schreder, Lothar Vosseler. After years of working dead-end jobs, at the age of 57, Vosseler has cut out a career path for himself, by banking on the status of his brother.

Using disposable paper handkerchiefs, Vosseler is helping produce the world’s first-ever hankie-printed newspaper. The first edition will feature details of his early childhood years, when the two brothers shared a bedroom in a humble, working-class home.

Called the “Citizen’s Funnel,” the first five issues of the ‘newspaper’ will be illustrated with family photographs and will contain excerpts from Vosseler’s upcoming autobiography entitled, “The Chancellor — My Brother Unfortunately –
– And Me.” The paper will go on sale for the equivalent of $1.20 and has a planned circulation of half a million hankie packets.

When asked about the possibility of potential family strife, Vosseler responded, “why shouldn’t Germany find out what our young years together were like, Gerd and me? I can’t do any harm by just telling what happened to us as children.”

So, obviously one would assume the Chancellor is supportive of his brother’s new career move. Not exactly. Apparently Germany’s most powerful man has yet to be informed of the venture. “It’s very difficult to get a hold of him,” Vosseler explained. “Anyway, he’ll find out about it in the papers.”


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