Domtar Corporation announced Thursday (Oct. 3) that it will permanently shut down two of its paper machines with one of the closures being in Ashdown, Arkansas. The other closure will be in Port Huron, Michigan.
The company said these measures will reduce its annual uncoated freesheet paper capacity by approximately 204,000 short tons and will result in a workforce reduction of approximately 100 employees.
The closure of the Ashdown paper machine will be effective immediately and the closure of the Port Huron machine by mid-November.
“I wish to sincerely thank colleagues impacted by the closures and recognize their hard work and contribution to Domtar over many years. As difficult as these actions are, we believe they are necessary in light of the declining market for uncoated freesheet paper. We will be working closely with our customers to assure they continue to receive the high quality products and exceptional service they have come to expect from us,” said John D. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of Domtar.
The Ashdown mill will continue to operate one paper machine with an annual uncoated freesheet paper production capacity of 200,000 short tons and employ approximately 725 people. In addition, the mill operates one of the world’s largest fluff pulp machines, with the flexibility to produce softwood pulp depending on market conditions.
As a result of the closure of the paper machine, the mill will produce an incremental 70,000 ADMT (air-dried metric tons) of softwood and fluff pulp, which will ramp up over the next 12 months, it said.
The Port Huron mill will continue other operations and employ approximately 212 people.
“The closure of the two paper machines will enable us to right-size our paper production capacity with our customer demand. This proactive measure is necessary due to increased imports and declining paper demand,” Williams said.
Domtar has roughly 10,000 employees in 50 countries and boasts annual sales of approximately $5.5 billion.