Resolute to sell Catawba mill: Will invest in Thunder Bay

Montreal, QC-based Resolute Forest Products Inc. will sell its Catawba SC, pulp and paper mill to New-Indy Containerboard, LLC. The total price is about $300 million, consisting of $260 million in cash and the assumption of about $40 million in balance sheet liabilities, largely net pension benefit obligations. (All figures in $US)

Catawba includes a kraft mill and a pulp dryer to produce market pulp, a TMP mill as well as an LWC paper machine. The facility currently employs 460 people and NewIndy will offer employment to Catawba employees effective upon closing of the transaction.

New-Indy is an independent manufacturer and supplier of recycled containerboard to the corrugated box industry. The company was formed in 2012 as a joint venture by The Kraft Group, LLC and Schwarz Partners, LP. Headquartered in Ontario, CA, New-Indy has facilities in Ontario and Oxnard, CA, Peoria, IL, and Hartford City, IN, with a recycling facility in Kendalville, IN.

• Resolute also announced $40-million in investments at its Northwestern Ontario operations, in addition to $13.5 million in major maintenance and the creation of 25 new jobs.

The plan includes $14.7 million for the Thunder Bay pulp and paper mill to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as $14.3 million to improve pulp capacity, reduce costs and maintain assets. Resolute also expects to spend $13.5 million in major maintenance at the facility in 2018.

As well, $11 million is earmarked for upgrades at Atikokan, Ignace and Thunder Bay sawmills to increase capacity by a combined 50 million board feet of lumber a year. Twenty-five full-time jobs have been created.

Close to 90% of the new lumber and pulp capacity is destined for export. Over half the project expenditures are slated for the last quarter of 2018. Resolute employs close to 900 workers in Northwestern Ontario and has invested about $200 million in the region over the past several years.

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