We have had a lot of successes within Fortress, and one really bad investment,” Wasilenkoff told the newspaper. “Thurso has been a disaster.” The article notes that Fortress Paper stock has lost 97% of its value, dropping from a high of $62 several years ago. “Five years ago Mr. Wasilenkoff, a self-styled “contrarian” investor, convinced investors to buy the mill for $1.2 million and pour in $240 million to convert it from production of kraft paper to dissolving pulp, the raw material of rayon fibre,” reads the Financial Post article. “Then everything went wrong. Other mills converted to dissolving pulp. The price of dissolving pulp crashed to $800 a tonne. China slapped a 13% duty on imports from the Thurso mill.”
KP Tissue Inc. and Kruger Products L.P. today dedicated the construction site of their future Sherbrooke tissue plant that will be equipped with Canada’s most advanced and best-performing TAD technology. The official ground breaking ceremony was held in the presence of Pierre Fitzgibbon, Québec Minister of Economy and Innovation; Geneviève Hébert, Member for Saint-François and Deputy Government Whip; Steve Lussier, Mayor of Sherbrooke; Nicole Bergeron, Chair of the City of Sherbrooke’s Executive Committee and Councillor for the Brompton Borough; Dino Bianco, Chief Executive Officer, Kruger Products; and Joseph Kruger II, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kruger Inc.
Located in the borough of Brompton, the new plant will be constructed on a site adjacent to an existing Kruger paper mill, along the Saint-François River. This $575-million investment will create 180 jobs in Estrie, as well as some 1,700 direct and indirect jobs during the construction period that will end in 2021. In addition, a large number of local suppliers will be involved in this vast construction site that represents one million person-hours of work, which is equivalent to about 10% of person-hours worked annually in all of Québec’s industrial construction sector.
Kruger Products’ Sherbrooke Plant will include a through-air-dry (TAD) tissue machine, the world’s most advanced ultra-premium tissue manufacturing technology. TAD uses less fibre to obtain a bulkier, stronger ultra-premium product that is exceptionally soft and more absorbent. The Sherbrooke complex will also include converting lines.
Ultimately, the plant will manufacture approximately 70,000 metric tonnes a year of ultra-premium bathroom tissue and paper towels under the Cashmere®, SpongeTowels® and Purex® brands. “We are very proud to strengthen Kruger Products’ presence in Québec with this large-scale project that will provide significant benefits to the Estrie region. What’s even more exciting is that the local know-how will shine across North America with products distributed throughout Canada and in the United States,” said Dino Bianco, Chief Operating Officer of Kruger Products.