Shortly after the announcement that newsprint production will resume at White Birch Paper's Bear Island mill in Virgina, plans have now changed. The mill has been sold to Cascades who wants to invest in new recycled containerboard capacities.
Canadian tissue and packaging group Cacades has announced the acquisition of White Birch Paper's Bear Island newsprint mill in the US state of Virginia. The purchase price was put at $34.2m. The company intends to convert production at the mill, which has been idle since mid-2017, from newsprint to recycled containerboard. Plans for the project are expected to be finalised and approved in 2019, while production is scheduled to start in 2021.
Cascades plans to reconfigure the newsprint machine at Bear Island to produce recycled lightweight testliner and fluting for the North American market. The machine is to have a capacity of 400,000 tpy. The investment sum is estimated at $275-300m.
With the conversion of the mill, 235,000 tpy of newsprint capacities will definitively be taken from the market. Just a couple of weeks ago, US company JLL, who was in charge with the sale of the Bear Island facility, announced that White Birch Paper intended to resume newsprint production at the site during the third quarter of this year. The company pointed to an acute demand for newsprint and said that the market was in a temporary state of undersupply. The Bear Island mill was idled indefinitely by White Birch Paper at the end of June 2017 in response to low market prices, high costs and shrinking demand.
Cascades is a manufacturer of packaging and tissue products, mainly made from recycled fibres. The company has 90 production facilities in North America and Europe and employs 11,000 people.
White Birch Paper is a manufacturer of newsprint, commercial printing papers, specialty papers, such as food-wrap paper or coloured newsprint, and paperboard. The company operates a total of four mills, with the Bear Island mill being the only one located in the US and the other ones in Quebec, Canada.