Newton Falls paper mill announces temporary closure; 83 to be laid off next month until spring
Friday, November 12, 2010 - 2:53 pm

NEWTON FALLS -- Newton Falls Fine Paper Co., said today in a meeting with employees that it will temporarily idle operations starting mid-December and running through early spring, idling 83 workers.

The company says it is “a short term step as the company completes the necessary investments and changes to support its long-term sustainability in a changing marketplace.”

“The marketplace for our traditional paper products has been affected in recent years by a tough downturn in the economy, excess capacity in the marketplace, and financial and pricing pressures in a competitive industry,” said Scott Travers, President and Vice Chairman.

The company says management has met with all employees at the southern St. Lawrence County mill and they are aware of what the plans are, and what is being done for them. All employees will be provided with a lay-off package including four weeks pay and continuation of dental, medical and life insurance for the anticipated duration of the shut-down. Employee support and counseling services will also be offered.

The company says it plans on calling employees back to work in early spring, 2011.

NFFP will continue manufacturing until mid-December to complete 2010 client obligations. A small workforce will be retained to shut down the equipment, make modifications to adjust to new production opportunities, and enable the facility to re-open.

Security, safety and insurance requirements will be followed, and operating and environmental permits will continue in place, the company says. The heat will be kept on and regular maintenance will be conducted to ensure an easy start-up in early spring.

“We know how difficult this is for our employees, managers, suppliers and the community, and we have been hard at work to make necessary changes to move into new markets in the area of specialty fine papers,” Travers said, “We have seen some progress and early success, but not enough to sustain the mill for the short term, and so we had to make this very tough decision.”

The company says it is “focused on a profitable, sustainable business plan to re-open the mill, on finding new market opportunities and retaining external consulting expertise to validate current specialty market initiatives and identify additional specialty market opportunities using the company’s existing assets.”

Equipment modifications, the company said, will be made “to position NFFP as a manufacturing choice for end-users and printers focused on environmentally friendly paper products. Plans are underway for a co-generation energy site, to ensure lower costs for steam and electric and potential additional revenue streams by selling green energy to the general market. The company will complete significant changes to the paper machine(s) to target additional markets, and introduce branded products for which clients have specified demand.”

“Scotia Investments, our parent company, has a strong track record of over 80 years of investing in their businesses for long-term sustainability,” said Travers.

“Their extensive financial stability, along with their commitment to community, employees, and our clients are unwavering. In an industry with well documented losses in the coated free sheet market by major suppliers, we are an organization with the resources, vision and will to build a bright future,” said Travers.