Georgia firm takes over mill

Published 11:35 am Sunday, September 30, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean

A new sign went up overnight at Brewton’s container mill, marking the transition from Smurfit-Stone to Georgia-Pacific.
About 500 employees — down from about 600 Smurfit employees — officially started work for Georgia-Pacific Friday. GP had said it would likely cut some of the workforce at the mill. GP spokeswoman Melodie Ruse said there are no plans currently to hire any more workers.
GP bought the assets of the Smurfit mill for about $355 million. Jeff Joyce, who is moving to Brewton from Monticello, Miss., will be the vice president of manufacturing for the Brewton operation.
Smurfit-Stone employees were all terminated by the company and had to reapply for jobs with Georgia-Pacific within the past month. Officials with the United Steelworkers union — which represented the largest number of mill employees — had criticized Smurfit for selling just the assets of the mill and not protecting employees’ jobs.
The Brewton mill has an annual production capacity of approximately 300,000 tons of white top linerboard and 190,000 tons of solid bleached sulfate board.
Ruse said the transition — which began around 11 p.m. Thursday — went smoothly.
GP has said it will be able to use some of the linerboard and sulfate board produced at the Brewton mill for packaging and containers in its own products. The Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific produces building products, tissue, packaging, paper, cellulose and related chemicals.

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