Paper mill selloff finished

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KapStone has completed acquisition of MeadWestvao’s 1,000-worker kraft paper mill in North Charleston for $485 million, according to a press release.

KapStone has been expanding its paper mill holdings.

The release goes on to state:
Under the terms of the sale, KapStone acquired MWV’s kraft paper mill in North Charleston, a lumber mill in Summerville, and chip mills located in Elgin, Hampton, Andrews and Kinards, S.C., as well as 100 percent of Cogen South, LLC, the mill’s on-site cogeneration facility. In 2007, the North Charleston mill produced 833,000 tons of saturating kraft, linerboard, and kraft folding carton board. MWV will continue to provide wood fiber for the North Charleston mill through a fiber supply agreement.

The Charleston mill is expected to continue operating for the foreseeable future and no layoffs are reported to happen. The Post and Courier reported on the issues back in April:
The new ownership also will likely have to decide whether it needs 1,000 employees to make the place run. Compared to other, similar paper mills, [Deutsche Bank analyst Mark] Wilde said, the North Charleston facility seems to be "labor heavy," probably because of MeadWestvaco's past stewardship.

"MeadWestvaco is not the most aggressive financially, so if it was a matter of holding on to some people or getting things as tight as they possibly could be, I think they erred on the side of keeping people around," he said.

KapStone officials have stressed that job cuts aren't imminent. For instance, the company did not slash jobs at the two other factories, which still have the same number of employees as they did when it bought them in January 2007.

The Post and Courier also had this to say:
Meanwhile, MeadWestvaco will keep the 600 employees who run its other local operations, including its chemical business and land-management estate division. It also will continue to provide timber to the paper mill once KapStone buys it. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Richmond, Va.-based MeadWestvaco has been shedding its timberlands and traditional paper product lines in favor of more-complex goods, such as plastic dispensers and chemical solutions.

Update: The Post and Courier adds that the employees have been greeted by the new owners and given baseball caps with the new company's logo, how exciting. But otherwise the transition has changed little at the plant.

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