In Print News from the US, International Paper in Texas is to permanently close its container-board mill in Orange, Texas and will also permanently cease production of two of its pulp machines at other sites in the United States.
The global packaging producer said in a recent statement that its unfortunate but unavoidable actions will see production ceased on a pulp machine in Riegelwood, North Carolina, plus an additional pulp machine in Pensacola, Florida as well as the mill closure in Orange.
The move – said to affect 900 jobs – will “…further strengthen and optimise its manufacturing system to meet customers’ needs”.
CEO Mark Sutton. added; “Decisions like these are extremely difficult, because of the impact on our employees, their families and the communities in which we operate,”.
“We are grateful to our employees in Orange, Riegelwood and Pensacola for their significant contributions to the company over the years. We are committed to providing severance benefits, outplacement assistance and more to help employees during this time.”
The company said that, in total, approximately 900 positions will be impacted but that wherever possible, the company’s goal will be to minimise the impact on employees by using current vacancies, retirements, normal attrition and other roles at International Paper to soften the impact.
“We believe strongly in the attractive, long-term fundamentals of our businesses and these actions further strengthen our competitive platform. Our optimised mill system, with its broad capabilities, gives us the flexibility to meet our customers’ needs today and in the future.”, added Sutton.
Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee and founded in 1898, International Paper employs around 39,000 staff globally and serves customers worldwide, with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, North Africa, and Europe. Its net sales for 2022 were $21.2bn (£17.5bn).
Although the Global Packaging Market continues to see sustained growth, traditional print has declined with the growth of digital and whilst this has impacted publication printing immensely, International Paper’s largest former client was the US Federal Government, whom up until 2013 had used to International Paper to facilitate tens of millions of federal payments each year, but then moved from physical checks to cheaper electronic transactions following pressure from budget sequestration in 2013.
International Paper used to be the largest producer of plastic lids and paper cups, manufacturing for the fast-food giants McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Subway, but its consumer packaging division was sold to Graphic Packaging in January 2018.
International Paper annual revenues have fallen from a tailing 12 month high in Q2 2013 of $28.5bn to a low of $16.5bn in Q3 of 2021, before seeing a steady recovery but given the downward pressures on paper products, sustainability and environmental concerns and new alternatives, challenging market conditions face International Paper.