Tissue World Magazine
Alexandra Stuthridge, Technical Business Manager, BioProducts Institute (BPI)

Clearwater Paper has announced the planned permanent closure of its Thomaston, Georgia, tissue converting and distribution facility.

The gradual shutdown of converting equipment will occur on a schedule throughout the year, with some operations running into the first quarter of 2014, affecting a total of 150 employees.

Tom Colgrove, president of Clearwater Paper’s consumer products division, said: “This has been a difficult decision—one where the company reviewed many scenarios and alternatives to closing the plant.

“We have concluded that consolidating regional converting and permanently closing Thomaston was the solution to best serve the needs of our southeastern customers and improve the overall logistics of our national manufacturing network.”

Displaced Thomaston employees will be given an opportunity to apply for open positions at other Clearwater Paper facilities.

The company is also offering separation and incentive pay for employees who remain at Thomaston until their established final day of work.

Clearwater Paper will integrate most of the equipment from Thomaston in its facilities at Oklahoma City and Shelby, N.C.

“Our goal is to provide jobs where possible to our valued employees who are willing to relocate,” Colgrove added.

“Where the company cannot do that, Clearwater Paper wants to ensure we are doing as much as we can to help affected employees through this difficult transition.”

The cost savings benefits resulting from the equipment relocation and converting facility optimisation, which are part of the company’s previously announced cost savings programmes, are expected to be fully realised beginning in the fourth quarter of 2014.