IP will close its Courtland, Alabama fine paper mill as consumers continue to switch to electronic publications, filing and billing.
US paper and packaging giant International Paper (IP) plans to close its Courtland, Alabama, 950,000 tpy fine paper mill. According to IP, Courtland mill will be decommissioned in stages with the total shutdown scheduled for the end of the first quarter 2014. 1,110 employees are affected by the closure.
International Paper blames its decision on demand decline for uncoated woodfree paper (UWF) products in the United States. The Courtland mill produces 765,000 tpy of uncoated and 185,000 tpy of coated woodfree papers (CWF) for forms, envelopes, labels, copiers, printers and magazines.
"We explored numerous business and re-purposing options for the Courtland mill, but concluded that permanently closing the will best positions the business for the future," explained Tim Nicholls, IP's Printing and Communications Papers senior vice president, in a press release on 12 September. The company said its fluff pulp business will not be impacted by the closure.
Only one day before, International Paper kicked off a share buyback programme to repurchase company's common stock worth $1.5bn over the next 2-3 years and raised the company's quarterly dividend by 17% for the period from 1 October to 31 December 2013.