Neenah, Inc. announced that it had not closed on its agreement to acquire Vectorply Corporation on April 1 as originally contemplated. Neenah had agreed to acquire Vectorply from MSouth Equity Partners for $155 million in cash. "Regarding our ongoing business during this challenging time, the health and safety of our employees are paramount and we've taken actions across our company to protect them, while also carefully managing costs, capital expenditures and working capital," said John O'Donnell, Chief Executive Officer. "We exited 2019 with a conservative leverage position and our liquidity today is strong. Our primary near-term focus is the health and welfare of our employees and business, and we feel confident in our ability to weather the current crisis."
Appvion Operations, Inc. announces that it is now certified compliant with FDA cGMP regulations for the manufacture of food packaging. Auditing firm ASI issued an excellent rating in certifying Appvion's newly dedicated food packaging operation compliant with applicable 21 CFR FDA cGMP regulatory standards. "This is a key milestone of executing our long-term strategy to leverage our core coating application and formulation capabilities in new market segments and drive profitable growth" said George Wurtz, Chairman and CEO of Appvion. "We are now able to offer our customers innovative products developed to address key issues of sustainability and recyclability for the food and beverage industry. Our new lines of aqueous coated and fully recyclable cup stock for single use food and beverage containers and our fluorochemical/PFAS-free oil and grease barrier products will now be produced in the certified plant".
*Mondi produces elastic, three-layer laminate straps using nonwoven material for one billion face masks *Plants in Gronau, Germany and Taicang, China increase production of this material. Mondi’s plant in Gronau, Germany, typically focuses on making materials used in hygiene products such baby diapers, adult incontinence pads and feminine care items. However, the plant was able to quickly adapt one of its manufacturing lines to produce a three-layer, laminated strap that binds a stretchable plastic film between layers of soft, nonwoven material. The straps, which Mondi supplies to its mask-making customers on a reel, are then cut and attached to each side of a mask, which can loop comfortably over the user’s ears to hold the mask in place.
Packaging Corporation of America announced plans to temporarily idle both paper machines and the sheet-converting operation at its Jackson Mill in Jackson, AL for the months of May and June 2020. This is expected to reduce paper production by approximately 70,000 tons, and the mill is expected to restart on July 6, 2020. The Company’s paper mill in International Falls, MN will continue to operate at capacity during this period. The Company anticipates inventory to be at appropriate levels after this downtime. "Due to the effects of the COVID-19 virus pandemic on paper consumption in schools, offices and businesses it's critical that we balance the supply of our Boise Paper products with our customers' demand for them,” said Paul LeBlanc Vice-President Boise Paper. "Unprecedented market conditions brought about by the measures required to help control the spread of the COVID-19 virus have made this business decision necessary to manage our paper business during these challenging times,” LeBlanc said. "This is especially difficult for the employees and their families who are directly affected. PCA is committed to treating all impacted employees with fairness and respect and to communicating openly and honestly with each individual about how this decision will affect him or her. The idling of operations will result in the temporary layoff of about 340 employees and our Human Resources team has begun meeting with our affected employees.”
Toilet paper may be at the top of everyone’s shopping list these days, but it’s not the only essential pulp and paper product. The forest products industry manufactures a wide range of critical goods that are used in virtually every industry and household every single day. In an effort to keep forest products manufacturers operational during the current global crisis, American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Heidi Brock issued a statement on March 18 encouraging federal, state and local governments to recognize paper and wood products manufacturing facilities as essential when drafting shelter-in-place orders. AF&PA members make essential products, including tissue products, packaging for food and other consumer products, building products and shipping containers. Our members also supply packaging to agricultural producers, food processors, hygiene product manufacturers, grocers and other retailers. Disruptions in the availability of these goods would cause significant hardships to consumers across the country who depend on steady and stable supplies.
Kruger Specialty Papers today announced the temporary shutdown of its Brompton facility, effective Friday, April 3, for an indefinite period of time. The Company came to this difficult decision due to unfavorable market conditions that deteriorated very rapidly with the COVID-19 outbreak, affecting the Mill’s operations and financial performance. The production of both newsprint and specialty papers for the flexible packaging industry will be curtailed, and the facility’s biomass cogeneration plant will also be shutdown. The Brompton Mill shutdown will affect 272 employees.
As the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis deepens, many more families are unable to pay for essentials and are turning to local diaper banks for help. Today, Kimberly-Clark's Huggies® brand announced that it will donate five million diapers to the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) to meet this growing need, and $1 million to United Way COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund to support community social services. NDBN's 200 diaper banks nationwide usually serve nearly 200,000 children on a monthly basis. The five million diapers Huggies® is donating to NDBN would fill twenty 18-wheeler trucks and will help local diaper banks meet the unprecedented demand for their services. Huggies has contributed 250 million diapers to NDBN since 2011 and 2020 is expected to will mark its biggest donation year in the brand's history.
Despite a significant drop in market prices for paper and pulp, Heinzel Group recorded the second best result in the company’s history in 2019 and is therefore well equipped for the current corona crisis. While production volume was further increased to slightly over 1.6 million metric tons, net sales, at EUR 1.92 billion, fell short of the all-time high of EUR 2.1 billion in the previous year. The strong decline in recovered paper prices could only partially offset this development so that EBITDA (EUR 181 million), EBIT (EUR 115 million) and net profit for the year (EUR 86 million) were also below the record levels of 2018.
In France, the Golbey mill has temporary ceased production at one paper machine (PM2) due to one confirmed case of coronavirus at the PM2 line, which required a 14 day quarantine for co-workers. The PM2 is planned to start production again on 1 April. The scarce availability of recovered paper in Central Europe may cause further business interruptions. In Norway, Saugbrugs will cease production on one paper machine due to negative market developments as a result of the corona virus restrictions. As a result of this, there will be given notice of temporary layoffs. In addition, administrative personnel at headquarters has been temporarily laid off as a result of the corona situation. The Skogn mill will delay temporary layoffs as earlier announced. In Australasia, the production at the Tasman mill in New-Zealand has been deemed an essential industry by the national government for a limited period of 9 days production, out of the current period of four weeks with lock down restrictions. Nature’s Flame pellets production has been deemed essential for domestic, industrial and public heating. However, there may be uncertainty about supplies of raw materials as local saw mills ceased their operations. We are currently rearranging our supply chain in the entire Australasian region to reflect the situation.
Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, has made the decision to build the world’s most modern sawmill in Rauma. The value of the investment is approximately EUR 200 million. Construction will begin in the spring of 2020. Production at the sawmill is set to begin during the third quarter of 2022. The coronavirus outbreak may have an impact on the schedules. The value of the Rauma sawmill investment is approximately EUR 200 million, and the new unit will produce around 750,000 cubic metres of pine sawn timber a year. The new sawmill will be a worldwide forerunner in technology and efficiency. For example, using machine vision and artificial intelligence in different stages of the sawing process is a significant new development. Similar technology is not yet in use anywhere in the sawmill industry.