Weyerhaeuser said today it will close or sell plants in eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, the latest in a series of cutbacks since a steep drop in third-quarter profits.
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Weyerhaeuser Co., one of the nation’s largest producers of lumber and paper products, has announced plans to close or sell plants in eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, the latest in a series of cutbacks since a steep drop in third-quarter profits.
Approximately 800 workers will lose their jobs in the cutbacks, although some could find work elsewhere in the company, company spokesman Bruce Amundson said Friday.
Plants to be shut down in the next few months include corrugated packaging operations in Bedford Heights, Ohio, Elmira Heights, N.Y., Little Rock, Ark., and Matthews, N.C.; corrugated sheet feeder plants in Pulaski, Tenn., and Waco, Texas, and a retail paper bag plant in Kansas City, Mo.
Weyerhaeuser also is putting up for sale three corrugated sheet plants in Little Rock, Ark., Memphis, Tenn., and Shreveport, La.; and a specialty packaging plant in Valley View, Ohio.
The cutbacks announced Friday will result in a fourth-quarter pretax charge of $115 million to $135 million, according to a news release.
“We recognize that this news and its timing are hard on our people, but it is essential to make these changes to improve the competitiveness and lagging financial performance of these businesses,” Weyerhaeuser Chief Executive Steven R. Rogel said in a prepared statement.
“We are in the process of implementing a comprehensive strategy to refine our portfolio of businesses and facilities to improve returns to shareholders and position Weyerhaeuser for long term profitability and success. As a result of our ongoing strategic review, we anticipate future changes,” he said.
The announcement also confirmed the permanent closure of a 350,000-ton-per-year containerboard machine in Plymouth, N.C., where production was curtailed indefinitely on Nov. 29, affecting 200 employees.
In Canada, citing higher energy costs and slumping demand from traditional customers such as newspapers, commercial printers and advertisers, the company announced cutbacks affecting 800 workers in northern Ontario and Saskatchewan late Thursday.
Weyerhaeuser is closing a paper machine April 1 at its pulp and paper mill in Dryden, Ontario, and a processing section at the mill by next spring.
Paper production is set to end at the end of this month at the company’s pulp and paper mill in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, but pulp production will continue into the spring to minimize the risk of cold weather damage while the complex is up for sale.
Weyerhaeuser shares rose 67 cents to close at $66.27 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.