Georgia-Pacific to staff ‘from the ground up’

Published 5:53 am Monday, August 13, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean

For the fourth time in 50 years, the Brewton container mill will have a new owner.
Georgia-Pacific officials announced last week that they have agreed to purchase the assets of the Smurfit-Stone mill for $355 million. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of September.
Current employees will be able to reapply for their jobs and find out information about Georgia-Pacific at job fairs in the next two weeks.
Ruse could not say how the number of employees might change.
Ruse also could not say how benefits might change for employees, but she said the upcoming job fairs would help answer those questions.
Georgia-Pacific officials said the mill — which produces about 300,000 tons of white top linerboard and 190,000 tons of solid bleached sulfate — is a natural fit for the company. Georgia-Pacific has other facilities that produce bleached board, but none that produce linerboard. However, the company has facilities that use linerboard and has had to purchase the product in the past.
James Hannan, GP’s president and chief operating officer, said the company is looking for growth through the purchase of the Brewton mill.
The purchase will complement GP’s existing packaging business, GP executive vice president of packaging Christian Fischer said.
Smurfit-Stone officials said the sale of the mill will help reduce debt. “The sale of our Brewton mill is another important step in the execution of our company’s transformation strategy,” Patrick J. Moore, Smurfit-Stone chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “As we continue to realign our mill system, we will deliver uninterrupted, high quality white top linerboard products and services to our customers. With the sale last year of our former consumer packaging division, however, the Brewton mill’s SBS production no longer fits with our core business.”
Ruse said Georgia-Pacific is happy to add Brewton to its list of facilities in Alabama. The Atlanta-based company has eight other facilities in the state. “It’s a great community,” Ruse said. “We’re always excited to come in and be part of the community.”

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