published Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

International Paper closing Alabama mill, 1,100 jobs affected

COURTLAND, Ala. — nternational Paper said today it will close a mill in north Alabama because of declining demand, a move that will affect 1,100 jobs.

Based in Memphis, Tenn., the company said the plant in Courtland will shut down by early 2014.

The mill makes a type of paper used in magazines, forms, copiers and printers, but International Paper said demand is down as customers switch to online publications and electronic billing and record-keeping.

"We explored numerous business and re-purposing options for the Courtland Mill, but concluded that permanently closing the mill best positions the business for the future," vice president Tim Nicholls said in a statement.

The mill, located in Lawrence Couty, is in a town of about 600 people.

The company said it will work with union officials on benefits and other help for hourly workers. Salaried employees can get severance packages and other aid.

"These decisions are especially difficult because of the impact to long-serving and hard-working employees, their families and the surrounding communities," said International Paper chairman and chief executive John Faraci.

The company said its printing and communications papers business will still make uncoated freesheet and other paper at four mills in Eastover, S.C.; Georgetown, S.C., Ticonderoga, N.Y., and Riverdale, Ala.

International Paper employs about 70,000 people in more than 24 counties. It had $28 billion in net sales last year.

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