Some industry watchers are concerned about the fate of coated paper supplier NewPage, which shut down its Whiting mill in February. “It’s anybody’s guess if [NewPage] follows the path of AbitibiBowater (a merger), gets purchased by another company, or manages to find a way to survive on its own,” says Dave Goldschmidt, vice president of marketing, catalog division, for paper brokerage Strategic Paper Group.
But Goldschmidt does not expect NewPage to stop operating altogether. The company has good assets remaining, he notes, “so we suspect that whatever happens, most of their manufacturing equipment will keep running.”
NewPage, the largest manufacturer of coated paper in North America, has some of the most efficient equipment in North America. And, Goldschmidt says, “It has already taken the most coated capacity out of North America by removing its less efficient mills over the past few years.”
If NewPage were to merge with another mill, Goldschmidt adds, “it would not be the best situation for the end user, because it would mean one less potential supplier — which is the same thing we have been seeing with consolidations in the printing industry.”