EURO-GRAPH reports monthly statistics of the European Graphic Papers Industry

Total European Shipments of Graphic Papers in October 2015 were down 5.4% from October 2014 and are down 3.6% year-to-date. Total European Shipments of Newsprint in October 2015 were down 6.7% from October 2014 and are down 7.6% year-to-date. Total European Shipments of SC-Magazine Papers in October 2015 were down 4.1% from October 2014 and are down 3.8% year-to-date. Total European Shipments of Coated Mechanical Reels in October 2015 were down 4.1% from October 2014 and are down 4.7% year-to-date. Total European Shipments of Uncoated Mechanical (Improved & Others) in October 2015 were down 3.3% from October 2014 and are UP 1.1% year-to-date. Total European Shipments of Coated Woodfree in October 2015 were down 5.0% from October 2014 and are down 2.8% year-to-date. Total European Shipments of Uncoated Woodfree in October 2015 were down 6.7% from October 2014 and are UP 0.1% year-to-date.
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Local Newspapers Changing Hands, Shutting Down

by Erik Sass - Although the sale of big regional and international dailies -- including the Financial Times, South China Morning Post, and Las Vegas Review-Journal-- has dominated headlines recently, as the year draws to a close dozens of smaller newspapers are also changing hands or going out of business much closer to home (if you happen to live in one of the affected communities). These deals represent big changes in the local media landscape, as small-town dailies and community weeklies come under the same pressures that disrupted their bigger peers. In the acquisition category, this month Adams Publishing Group -- which publishes community newspapers in the West, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions -- acquired Defiance Publishing Co., which publishes several local publications in Ohio including The Crescent-News and Crescent-Extra. Previously this year Adams acquired four local newspapers in Idaho as well as The Post Community Media Group, which publishes local newspapers in southern Maryland.
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ACMA Makes Urgent Appeal for Help Fighting Alabama Tax

The American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) today issued an appeal for help in fighting an Alabama regulation levying taxes on catalogers and online sellers. All businesses doing $250,000 in annual business in the state will be affected. “Currently, no group or organization is stepping forward to oppose this,” says an email bulletin sent by ACMA President and Executive Director Hamilton Davison. Davison is hoping for pledges of $20,000 from 20 member companies of his association to mount a legal effort against the Alabama law, but he welcomes support from all remote sellers affected by the law. Should it go unchallenged, he is fearful that other states will follow the initiative that runs counter to the Supreme Court's 1992 Quill Corp v. North Dakota decision, which limits sales tax collection to businesses with locations inside a state.
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Some See Oil Glut Changing to Shortage — Energy Journal

Global exploration-and-production investment is expected to have fallen by $170 billion, or 20%, this year, and investment could fall by one-fifth next year if oil prices average $50 a barrel. That would be the first time the industry has registered two straight years of investment drops in 30 years. The oil industry needs to replace 34 billion barrels of crude every year to satisfy expected consumption growth, but decisions for only eight billion barrels were made in 2015. “The stage is set for a supply crunch down the line,” said Miswin Mahesh, an oil analyst at Barclays. “Supply from existing fields will fall, while new projects won’t come online to replace them.”
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Stora Enso divests its ownership in Arapoti Mill in Brazil

Stora Enso has signed an agreement to divest its entire 80% shareholding in the Arapoti magazine paper mill in Paraná, Brazil, to Papeles Bio Bio, a Chilean paper producer. The consideration for the divestment of the shares is approximately EUR 21 million, subject to customary closing day adjustments. The loss on disposal amounts to approximately EUR 27 million and will be recorded as a non-recurring item in Stora Enso’s fourth quarter 2015 results. The transaction will reduce Stora Enso’s net debt by approximately EUR 18 million. Arapoti’s plantation company, which owns 30 000 hectares of plantations, and in which Stora Enso has a 20% shareholding, is not part of the transaction.
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Resolute Forest Products Files NAFTA Notice of Arbitration

Resolute Forest Products Inc. (NYSE: RFP) (TSX: RFP) today announced the filing of a Notice of Arbitration under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with regards to measures taken by the former provincial NDP Government in Nova Scotia and the former Conservative Government of Canada in support of the Port Hawkesbury paper mill. Resolute contends those measures discriminated in favor of Port Hawkesbury and resulted, among other damages, in the closing of Resolute's Laurentide mill in October 2014, depriving Resolute of its investment in that mill, and the value of other investments, in violation of the Company's rights under NAFTA as a U.S. investor in Canada. The Company is seeking damages for direct losses of approximately $70 million, consequential damages, and additional costs and relief deemed just and appropriate by an arbitral tribunal. Under NAFTA and applicable principles of international law, Canada is responsible for Nova Scotia's acts.
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Vinda to Acquire SCA’s Hygiene Business in South East Asia, Taiwan and South Korea

Vinda International Holdings Limited (3331.HK) dispatched a circular today in relation to the proposed acquisition of SCA's hygiene business in South East Asia, Taiwan and South Korea. SCA has a leading position in a number of Asian personal care markets. In incontinence care, it is the market leader in Taiwan2. In baby diapers, it is No.1 in Malaysia3 and No.2 in Singapore2. In feminine hygiene, it is No.2 in Malaysia3. Net sales and adjusted EBITDA of the business to be acquired was HK$2.6 billion and HK$249 million respectively trailing 12 months ended 30 September 2015.
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DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Turn Away Apple

The Department of Justice is asking the Supreme Court to refuse to hear Apple's appeal of a ruling that it conspired with publishers to raise the price of e-books. The antitrust ruling against Apple -- issued in 2013 by U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote and affirmed this year by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals -- was "supported by overwhelming evidence," DOJ says in Supreme Court papers filed Dec. 23. Apple "orchestrated the publishers’ conspiracy and actively relied on their collusion to achieve its business ends," DOJ argues.
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Catalogers Unite on Cheaper Parcel Rates

The American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) has launched an effort to obtain a Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) for a bloc of its members that would give them preferred rates on parcel shipping. NSAs are awarded only to customers with massive annual mail and package volumes. Potpourri Group, which owns more than a dozen catalog brands, is the only cataloger ever to have secured one. ACMA VP of Industry Relations Lynn Noble, formerly product manager for catalogs at the U.S. Postal Service, believes sufficient precedent exists for a group of catalogers to come together on a deal. “If you look at companies like Etsy or Overstock, the big aggregator websites, they've been able to pull contract pricing together for their third-party vendors,” says Noble (left). “All of those wanting to take part in the deal will have to submit their individual numbers, but it's the baseline performance upon which the deal is predicated.”
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Brent oil prices slide back toward 11-year lows

Brent crude oil retreated toward 11-year lows on Wednesday as indications of slowing global energy demand bumped up against record-high inventories. Benchmark Brent, near $37 per barrel, traded just $1 away from those lows reached last week as the primary supportive factor - an expected cold snap in Europe and the United States - was forecast to be short-lived. Front-month U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading at $36.92 per barrel at 1144 GMT, down 95 cents, or more than 2 percent, from their settlement in the previous session. Brent was down 75 cents at $37.04 a barrel, a decline of roughly 2 percent.
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