Creve Coeur, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois, USA, 14 December 2009 -- PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Smurfit -Stone will permanently close its Ontonagon, Michigan, and Missoula, Montana, mills, effective 31 December 2009.
The Ontonagon mill ceased operations in September when it began taking market-related downtime. The Missoula mill will continue operating until 31 December. The Ontonagon mill has 182 employees and the Missoula mill has 417 employees.
"These decisions were made to ensure the company's long-term growth and profitability and do not reflect on the hard work and commitment of the employees at the Ontonagon and Missoula mills," said Steve Klinger, president and COO. "We recognize that closing facilities is always difficult on our employees, their families and the communities, and we will work with our employees, union representatives, and public officials during these transitions."
The Ontonagon mill, which produces 280,000 tons of medium annually, and the Missoula mill, which produces 620,000 tons of liner annually, are high-cost facilities that do not provide adequate returns over the long term for the company.
The company expects to incur a restructuring charge of approximately USD 284 million, of which approximately USD 246 million is noncash, in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation is one of the industry's leading integrated containerboard and corrugated packaging producers, and one of the world's largest paper recyclers. The company is a member of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Chicago Climate Exchange. Smurfit-Stone generated revenue of USD 7.04 billion in 2008; has led the industry in safety every year since 2001; and conducts its business in compliance with the environmental, health, and safety principles of the American Forest & Paper Association.