PENSACOLA, Fla., Sept. 24 / / -- International Paper (NYSE:IP) today announced it has begun production of high-performance lightweight linerboard at its Pensacola, Fla., mill. Start-up of the project allows International Paper to economically produce linerboard grades with greater strength characteristics while using less wood fiber. The company expects to ramp up machine production during the fourth quarter and estimates average production of 50 to 60 percent of the machine's capacity for that period.
The product line provides the dual benefits of premium performance and sustainability. Sourced with 100 percent virgin wood fiber, the lightweight linerboard has excellent performance properties. It is fully recyclable and recoverable and allows customers to reduce their overall volume of packaging.
"Our Pensacola machine is the first of its kind in North America, designed to deliver lighter-weight grades with unmatched performance to provide our customers with the competitive advantage they need to win in today's packaging marketplace," said Glenn Landau, vice president and general manager of International Paper's containerboard business. "Across the globe, our customers demand packaging that meets their changing needs. This machine will provide the high-quality linerboard they have come to expect from IP."
In early 2006, International Paper announced plans to convert its Pensacola mill from a 350,000 ton-per-year uncoated paper machine to a 500,000 ton-per-year lightweight linerboard machine. The conversion was part of International Paper's strategy to strengthen its existing uncoated paper and packaging businesses. Related changes within the company's containerboard business include the previously announced closure of the 200,000-ton Terre Haute, Ind., mill slated for Oct. 1.
"With the global demand for containerboard growing at 4 percent, we believe our customers' demand matches our capacity," Landau said.
The mill conversion and paper machine rebuild began in the first quarter of 2007 and involved hundreds of mill employees and significant contracted engineering and construction support. "This was one of the largest capital projects we've undertaken in North America in the past several years. Our employees and the firms that worked to complete this project deserve the credit for a job well done," said Michael Exner, International Paper vice president of containerboard manufacturing. "Now our goal is to operate the mill safely and productively to manufacture high-quality board on a consistent basis," he added.
International Paper's Pensacola mill is located in Cantonment, Fla., on the outskirts of Pensacola. The mill employs approximately 550 employees. In addition to its new linerboard capacity, used to make boxes and other industrial packaging products, the mill also produces fluff pulp, an absorbent pulp used in diapers, feminine care and adult hygiene products.
International Paper (NYSE:IP), founded in 1898, is a global uncoated paper and packaging company with primary markets and manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Russia, Latin America, North Africa and Asia. Its uncoated papers and packaging businesses are complemented by xpedx, North America's largest distributor of printing papers and graphics supplies and equipment. Headquartered in the United States, International Paper employs approximately 54,000 people in more than 20 countries, and serves customers worldwide. Annual sales are about $22 billion. International Paper partners with customers and environmental, academic, civic and governmental organizations, as well as landowners and harvesting professionals, to encourage responsible forest stewardship, improve the health and productivity of forestlands and increase recovery of our recyclable products. The company has a long-standing policy of using no wood from endangered forests. To learn more about International Paper, its products and commitment to economic, social and environmental sustainability, visit www.internationalpaper.com.
Web site: www.internationalpaper.com/