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Hundreds of jobs go as Arjowiggins Aberdeen paper mill goes into administration

UNITED KINGDOM (From news reports) -- A historic Aberdeen paper mill has gone into administration with the loss of more than 300 jobs.

Stoneywood paper mill has operated for more than 250 years.

In 2019, the business was sold to a new parent company, securing the jobs at the mill.

Administrators have now been appointed at the Arjowiggins Group mills at Stoneywood, as well as Chartham, Kent, with 368 of the group's 463 UK-based employees made redundant immediately.

A total of 301 out of 372 members of staff have been made redundant in Aberdeen.

Ninety five members of staff have been retained by the administrators to assist them with the operation of limited activity across the two sites while they explore any possibility of a sale of the sites and assets.

Blair Nimmo, chief executive of Interpath Advisory and joint administrator, said: "Arjowiggins has a long and proud history dating back more than 260 years, so this is immensely troubling news for UK and Scottish manufacturing.

"Unfortunately, and following on from the severe challenges posed by the pandemic, the significant economic headwinds which have been impacting industrial manufacturing businesses up and down the country, including skyrocketing energy costs and spiralling input prices, have proved to be overwhelming for the group.

"The management team has asked that we pass on their sincere thanks to all employees, customers and suppliers, plus Scottish Enterprise, for their strong support during these very difficult times, and they would like to express their deep regret that there was unfortunately no other option available for this historic group."

Shauna Wright, of the Unite union, said: "We are saddened to hear the news about Stoneywood Mill - particularly on the anniversary of its opening 252 years ago.

"This comes as a huge blow to our members who stood by the mill through the last administration and welcomed the management buyout, which gave them so much hope for the future.

"That hope has been shattered."

Scottish Conservative north-east MSP Douglas Lumsden described the news as "absolutely devastating", and said he would be lodging an urgent question in parliament calling for Scottish government help.

"Stoneywood Mill has been a very successful business in our city for more than 250 years and everything must be done to safeguard jobs and protect its future," he said.

Richard Thomson, the SNP MP for Gordon, said together with Jackie Dunbar, the MSP for Aberdeen Donside, he would seek to hold an urgent meeting with the administrators to see what else could be done for those who had lost their jobs, and "to discuss the options for preserving papermaking on the site with the aim of retaining as many jobs as possible."

The purchase of the paper mill in September 2019 for an undisclosed sum was made by subsidiaries of a new venture, Creative Paper Holdings Ltd.

The deal was supported with £7m of funding from Scottish Enterprise.

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