Sappi Shutters Michigan Paper Mill

Paper manufacturer Sappi Fine Paper North America announced March 2 it will suspend all operations at its Muskegon Mill in Michigan, effective April 1. This suspension will result in the furlough of about190 salaried and hourly Muskegon employees.

What’s more, the company will eliminate some 70 additional salaried positions, effective immediately. Company officials cited “significantly lower global demand for coated fine paper products” as the reason for its actions. Sappi Fine Paper North America recorded a net loss of $7 million in its first quarter of fiscal 2009.

“As a result of the economic conditions and market demand, it has become imperative for Sappi to focus on good cash management and running our operations as efficiently as possible,” Mark Gardner, Sappi Fine Paper North America president/CEO said in a release.

“Reducing our salaried workforce and suspending our operations at Muskegon Mill was an extremely difficult decision but it was the only option that would enable Sappi to reduce costs and remain competitive in the industry, while continuing to meet the needs of our customers,” Gardner said.

But if market conditions improve, there is a possibility of reopening the Muskegon Mill, Sappi officials added.