GP buying Alabama River mills

Published 4:00 am Saturday, June 5, 2010

Georgia-Pacific officials announced Wednesday that they have reached an agreement with Parsons & Whittemore to purchase the Alabama River and Alabama Pine pulp mills in Monroe County.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the sale is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. The purchase also includes Alabama River Woodlands, the tall oil plant, the biodiesel plant, the chip mills at Elba and Jackson’s Gap and a pulpwood yard in Demopolis.

GP officials said all employees of the operations would be offered jobs with Georgia-Pacific.

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“Georgia-Pacific is committed to strategic growth of our businesses, both organically as well as through acquisition and innovation,” said Jim Hannan, Georgia-Pacific CEO and president. “The employees and assets of Alabama River and Alabama Pine will be fully integrated into our GP Cellulose business unit. We believe this investment will add long-term value to our company, our cellulose business and the communities where we operate.”

Parsons & Whittemore chairman and CEO George Landegger said he believes the sale to GP is a “good fit” for the industry.

“The pulp mills can look forward with confidence to a secure and successful future,” he said.

GP also owns the container mill in Brewton, which it bought in 2007 from Smurfit-Stone. At the time, GP only bought the assets of the mill, and employees had to reapply for their jobs.

Local GP spokesman Jason Daniel said the purchase would be positive for the Brewton mill.

“Anytime the company expands, that is a good thing,” he said.

GP is headquartered in Atlanta.