May 30, 2014

Idle No. 1 line at Resolute Forest Products’ Catawba plant to permanently close

The line that made lightweight coated paper has been idle since June 2012. The action won’t affect employees, say company officials.

Resolute Forest Products is permanently closing one of four production lines at its Catawba plant.

The No. 1 line has been idle since June 2012.

Resolute decided to “write the asset off,” said spokeswoman Debbie Johnston. “This is more of an accounting transaction,” she said.

The decision will not affect the plant’s current work force, she said.

When the line was initially idled, 98 workers were laid off. About 30 of the workers were assigned to other jobs at the plant, according to local officials with the United Steelworkers union.

The line, the oldest at the plant dating to the 1960s, made lightweight coated paper used in magazines and advertising fliers. The line had a capacity of 132,000 metric tons.

The line was idled because of a sluggish market. That market never picked up, Johnston said.

The Catawba mill continues to operate two paper lines with an annual capacity of about 550,000 tons per year of lightweight coated papers. Another line produces 250,000 tons per year of bleached softwood kraft pulp.

The mill has about 600 employees, Johnston said.

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