Monday, June 27, 2011

Cascades invests in New York containerboard mill

Cascades invests in New York containerboard mill
June 27, 2011
Cascades Inc. said its Norampac division will invest in Greenpac Mill LLC, a corporation created with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Jamestown Container and one other industry partner for the purpose of constructing and operating a state of the art containerboard mill to be located in New York state.

The Greenpac mill will be constructed for a total cost of $430 million on property located adjacent to an existing Norampac facility in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Greenpac will manufacture a light weight linerboard, made with 100 percent recycled fibers, on a single machine having a width of 328 inches, with an annual production capacity of 540,000 short tons. This machine will be one of the largest of its kind in North America.

Fiber supply will be carried out by Cascades and its recovery operations. Sources of old corrugated containers are numerous and significant in the region where the mill will be built, which will impact favorably Greenpac's raw material procurement, the company said. With regards to sales, customers have already been secured for more than 80 percent – or 435,000 short tons - of production. Norampac converting operations will purchase 170,000 short tons of the production.

"The investment that we are announcing today is the result of the combined efforts of Cascades and its partners and is consistent with our development strategy which aims to position the company amongst the leaders in terms of productivity and profitability in the packaging and tissue sectors," said Alain Lemaire, president and CEO of Cascades. "As we have stated in the past, we strongly believe that Cascades' future success will be dependent on our ability to offer high performance innovative products which will better meet the needs of our customers, at a cost that will be amongst the lowest in the industry. Moreover, the innovative structure of this partnership will allow us to reach this objective while maintaining the financial flexibility achieved through recent divestitures. We are also confident in regards to industry's mid and long-term perspectives and we strongly believe that Greenpac will contribute positively to our net profitability once full ramp-up is achieved."

Marc-André Dépin, president and CEO of Norampac, said the Greenpac mill will include numerous technological advances, making it a unique project of its kind in North America.

“In particular, the linerboard that will be produced on the new machine will be able to achieve optimal strength while maintaining a low basis weight thereby allowing our customers to better respond to the growing trend towards lightweight packaging," Depin said.

Moreover, the building and the machinery will be designed for optimal energy efficiency and many operations will be automated. Process water will be treated and reused in order to reduce consumption as much as possible and the state of the art management system for recycled fibers will have a positive effect on the environmental performance of the mill.

The paper machine will be manufactured by Metso, Voith will provide the stock preparation equipment and anaerobic effluent treatment plant and Siemens will provide the power and control technology.

Financing and Partnership

The $430 million cost of the project will be financed by a $140 million equity investment in Greenpac of, which $83.6 million will be invested by Cascades, $28.3 million will be invested by the Caisse and $28.1 million will be invested by Jamestown Container and another industry partner. The remainder of the financing will be in the form of debt, including senior debt in the amount of $228.9 million, which was led by GE Capital, and subordinated debt in the amount of $61 million.

Senior debt will be provided by an international banking syndicate managed by GE Capital. The subordinated debt will be provided by the Caisse and will serve to bridge expected refundable tax credits.

The construction of the mill will create 108 new jobs in the State of New York, as well as contribute to the economical development of the region.

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