(IP), headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., has announced plans to permanently close its Courtland, Ala., paper mill. The company says it will shutter the facility in stages, with full closure expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2014. The closure of the mill will reduce IP’s uncoated and coated freesheet paper production by 950,000 tons, of which 765,000 tons is uncoated freesheet.
In announcing its closure plans, the company cited the decline in demand for uncoated freesheet throughout North America over the last 15 years. The mill produces papers for forms, envelopes, labels, copiers, printers and magazines.
"We explored numerous business and repurposing options for the Courtland Mill but concluded that permanently closing the mill best positions the business for the future," says Tim Nicholls, IP senior vice president of printing and communications papers.
Following the closure, IP’s printing and communications paper business will consist of four paper mills focused on uncoated freesheet, bristols and specialty papers markets: uncoated freesheet paper mills in Eastover, S.C., and Riverdale, Ala.; and two specialty paper mills in Georgetown, S.C., and Ticonderoga, N.Y.
The company's fluff pulp business is not affected by this announcement.
"IP's Printing Papers business remains a valuable and strategic part of IP. Our manufacturing, commercial and supply chain capabilities are strong, as is our commitment to serving the North American uncoated freesheet market," Nicholls adds.