Johannesburg, South Africa, 20 July 2011 -- After an exhaustive search, Sappi Fine Paper Europe has today announced that it has been unsuccessful in its attempts to find potential purchasers for its Biberist mill in Switzerlanda suitable to allow continued operations and employment at the mill.
The company has therefore decided on the complete closure of the mill. Production at paper machines 8 and 9 has already ceased and production on the uncoated paper line will halt at the end of August. Redundancy notices to all remaining employees affected by the closure are being sent out today.
"The process to find a suitable purchaser included numerous discussions with interested parties and involved close cooperation between local mill management and Sappi’s European and global management teams to make the purchase as attractive as possible," said Berry Wiersum, Sappi Fine Paper Europe CEO. "Unfortunately, several industry players quickly withdrew their interest and we were unable to come to an agreement with any other interested parties."
Sappi has agreed to a social plan with the employees and the labor unions. Meanwhile, Sappi continues its search for a new owner for the site.
Approximately 550 employees in total will be affected by the closure, of which 134 already have been given notice.
The volumes produced at the mill will be transferred to other Sappi sites in Europe. There will be no supply interruption to customers during the mill closure and transfer of production.
With the end of coated graphic paper production at Biberist mill, Sappi will reduce its graphic paper capacity by 500,000 tons per annum.