News:

Weyerhaeuser Co., which calls itself the world’s largest supplier of market fluff pulp, plans to enable its 300,000-tonne/y softwood pulp mill in Port Wentworth, GA, to produce an absorbent fiber. Also, Weyerhaeuser completed the $1.1-billion sale of its BC Coastal Group to Brascan Corp. of Toronto. www.weyerhaeuser.com.

British Columbia’s Supreme Court approved a bid from Sun Wave Forest Products Ltd. to acquire the Skeena Cellulose Inc. mill in Prince Rupert, BC. Sun Wave, a subsidiary of China Paper Group, will pay $3.3 million. It is seeking relief from paying $25 million in property taxes owed and has to work out union deals. The start-up cost is estimated at about $100 million for the 350 000-tonne/y NBSK operation, most of the pulp probably being used to supply China Paper’s needs.

Changes to its carbonless paper operations considered by NewPage Corp. include sale to a new owner, sale to a Chillicothe, OH, employee group, or restructure and streamline the facilities to reduce costs. Recent upgrades to No. 12 machine and its coater total $50 million.

Mt. Kisco, NY based Kohlberg & Co., LLC, an affiliate of which acquired the industrial papers business of International Paper in early June, named the new company Thilmany, LLC. Thilmany manufactures and converts lightweight packaging, pressure sensitive and industrial papers such as laminations, grease-resistant packaging, interleaving applications, pressure sensitive and medical products. Thilmany Papers mills are in Kaukauna and De Pere, WI, while converting operations are based within Thilmany Packaging at the Kaukauna mill and through the Akrosil release products division with facilities in Menasha, WI, Lancaster, OH and Heerlen, The Netherlands.

The Great US Timberland Sell-off continues. Glatfelter will sell about 2,500 acres to a private real-estate developer for $21 million. Since 2003 it has sold about 32,500 acres for a total of $115 million. Greif Inc.’s Soterra LLC subsidiary completed the first phase of its sale of 56,000 acres to Plum Creek Timber Co., Inc. The total value of the agreements will be about $90 million. This time Plum Creek bought 35,000 acres in Florida, Georgia and Alabama for about $51 million. Another 21,000 acres in Florida remains to be sold. Soterra now owns and manages about 246,000 acres in the southeast US and 35,000 acres in Canada. During 2Q05, Fraser Papers sold its 240,000 acres in Maine for $80.5 million, resulting in a pre-tax gain of $46 million. Fraser has a 20-year fiber supply agreement with the buyer. Fraser still owns 765,000 acres in New Brunswick.

In New Zealand, Rayonier is part of a consortium buying 235,000 acres of timberland from Carter Holt Harvey for about $296 million. The consortium will also buy Rayonier’s 118,000 acres of timberland in New Zealand for about $184 million. Rayonier now owns about 2.2 million acres of timberland in the US and New Zealand. Rayonier also sold its NZ MDF business to Dongwha Hong Kong International Ltd. for $40 million. www.rayonier.com. Longview Fibre is to become an REIT, promising annual dividends of $1 a share. www.longviewfibre.com.

Norampac will close a corrugated products plant in Buffalo, NY, and transfer production to a Lancaster, NY, plant it bought last year.

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