Wausau Paper closes Brainerd mill

Wausau Paper has announced the closure of the company’s technical specialty paper mill in Brainerd, Minnesota early in the second quarter of 2013, affecting approximately 130 employees.

Pre-tax closure charges are estimated to be $47 million with non-cash charges, primarily related to the write-down of long-lived assets, accounting for approximately $44 million of the total. First quarter pre-tax closure charges of approximately $36 million are expected with the remaining charges occurring over the balance of 2013. After considering income tax liabilities and the anticipated reduction in working capital, the cash impact of the closure is expected to be neutral on a cumulative basis.

The company recently announced its intent to strategically reposition to focus on its tissue business. A range of alternatives for the divestiture of the technical specialty business have been explored. It has become clear that Brainerd will not contribute to those alternatives and the closure will significantly improve the continuing paper segment operating results.

“A number of factors including our accelerated exit from the print business protracted global economic weakness and recent competitive paper capacity additions in Asia have impacted the viability of the Brainerd operations and created operational losses from the mill that were unsustainable,” explains president and CEO Hank Newell. “Our employees and the community of Brainerd have done all we have asked in our efforts to create a long-term viable operation and we thank them for their support.”