Cascades Inc. may sell its fine-papers business and close unprofitable plants following a recommendation from consultant Secor Group. The business is the least profitable of Cascades’ three groups. In September, the company faced strike action at its St. Jerome, QC, fine paper mill. Cascades also said it will pay between $90 and $100 million to buy the 50% balance of Dopaco, Inc. of Exton, PA, it does not yet own. 

New York-based Parsons and Whittemore shut its pulp mill at St. Anne Nackawic, NB, in September, citing depressed paper prices and the rising
Canadian dollar as the causes. The mill produced about 250 000 tonnes/year of bleached hardwood kraft pulp. Staff numbered over 400. The company was also declared bankrupt.

Boise Paper Solutions, a division of Boise Cascade Corp. launched Now@Boise Paperª an Internet-based model to serve commercial printers in the western US. Boise says the approach "offers printers a fast and efficient alternative to purchasing paper through the merchant channel.” Boise says it will continue selling through merchants as well. 

 Struggling Quebec-based Uniforet Scierie-Pate Inc. has signed a lease and tolling agreement with Katahdin Pulp Quebec Inc. under which Katahdin will operate the Uniforet pulp and cogeneration mill in Port Cartier, QC, “at its own cost and for its own gain”. The 11-year deal will allow Uniforet to eliminate the costs of maintaining the pulp mill, which amounted to more than $C5 million in 2003, earn additional revenues based on the annual production at the pulp mill and improve the financial results at the adjacent sawmill. Katahdin is controlled by Brascan Financial Corp. of Toronto through Fraser Papers Inc. Brascan’s parent company, Brascan Corp., owns Fraser Papers and Norbord Inc., both the result of a recent reorganization of the holding company’s assets. Katahdin bought the East Millinocket and Millinocket mills from Great Northern Paper Inc. in 2003.

Pasadena, CA-based Avery Dennison Corp. has a new  business unit to make and sell low-cost radio frequency identification (RFID) inlays and tags mainly to its label converter customers, who supply pressure-sensitive labels to diverse end-user markets. 

Caraustar Industries, Inc. raised prices on all coated and uncoated recycled paperboard grades by a minimum of 6% on September 20.

Canada’s Scott Paper Ltd., owned by Kruger Inc. of Montreal, is relinquishing rights to the Cottonelle toilet paper brand name. This results from a licensing agreement reached when Kruger bought Scott from Kimberly-Clark in 1997. The 10-year deal ends in 2007. Scott will call its rebranded product Cashmere.

The shut Gaspesia Papers mill in Quebec may get a new owner. A report suggests a “50% chance” a European company is interested. A judicial inquiry into cost over-runs in the mill’s originally planned conversion from newsprint to coated paper production starts October 19 in Percé, QC. PI

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