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UPM officially closes Chapelle Darblay mill on 15 July

16 Jul 2020 − 

It is now official: UPM has permanently closed the Chapelle Darblay newsprint mill in France after authorities agreed on the social plan. This will leave the country with only one newsprint mill.

The last step has been taken to close down UPM's Chepalle Darblay news prit mill. The company announced that after the consultation process with employee representatives was concluded on 15 June, French authorities approved the social contract on 15 July. According to UPM, the closure affects 228 people. Production had already been temporarily stopped in mid-March.

The Chapelle Darblay mill has a capacity of around 240,000 tpy of newsprint. Since UPM announced its intention in January to close the mill, production had been running at a reduced rate, market players observed. On 12 March, the machine was stopped completely, initially due to a technical fault. UPM wanted to restart production, but this has never happened and the mill has been down since then.

UPM does not rule out a possible takeover of the mill and says it is still open for takeover offers. However, one promising potential buyer - packaging group VPK Packaging, which was in talks with UPM - abandoned its plans to buy the mill. Trade unions and market observers doubt that there is a future for the site.

With the closure of Chapelle Darblay, Norske Skog's Golbey mill in eastern France will be the only remaining newsprint mill in the country. This site has a capacity of 565,000 tpy of newsprint on two machines. However, capacities will be reduced to 350,000 tpy there in the coming years, as Norske Skog recently announced it will switch one PM to packaging paper.

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