Neenah Paper closing Appleton plant – WBAY


ATLANTA (WBAY) – Georgia-based Neenah Paper announced Friday it plans to cease operations at its plant in Appleton. A statement by Neenah Paper said it expects to close the facility by the end of September.

“Closing a facility is always a difficult decision and not one we take lightly,” Neenah President/CEO Julie Schertell said in the statement. “This decision is not a reflection of our employees or their efforts, as the team has consistently worked hard to overcome obstacles, improve safety and drive results. We’ll continue to provide innovative filtration solutions and serve customers from our other manufacturing facilities in Europe and North America.”

Neenah Paper estimates it will lose $50 million to $51 million in one-time closure costs and charges as a result of closing the plant, but it will improve the company’s earnings $7 million to $8 million a year before interest, taxes and depreciation.

The company is planning to restart idled lines for fine paper and packaging. It also plans to invest $13 million in developing liner coatings to build up its specialty coatings business. Neenah Paper makes specialty paper, premium paper and packaging.

Neenah says it will release more details next month with its second-quarter earnings report.

“I’m confident these footprint changes will unlock immediate value for our shareholders as we continue to transform Neenah into a faster growing, more profitable company. We remain focused on investing for growth, maintaining a strong balance sheet and providing meaningful shareholder returns,” Schertell said.

It’s the second blow to the papermaking industry in the Fox Valley in a month, coming after news that Clearwater Paper Company is closing its Fox Crossing plant, which employs almost 300 people, as it gets out of the home tissue business.

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