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Norske Skog sells Albury paper mill and now it will be shutdown

Norske Skog has sold its Albury assets to Australian papermaker Visy which plans to undertake feasibility studies into the potential future uses of those assets on the site. The sale is part of a broad Strategic Asset Review of its Australasian operation by Norske Skog’s owner Oceanwood. Source: Timberbiz

The review confirmed the need to reduce newsprint capacity in Australasia. The sale to Visy addresses this issue.

Norske Skog’s Regional President, Eric Luck, said Norske Skog and Visy had signed a binding Asset Sale Agreement and the Albury mill will cease newsprint production during December 2019.

Immediately following the shutdown there will be a period of clean up and make good in preparation for handover of the Albury assets to Visy in Q1 2020.

All employees employed by Norske Skog at the Albury Mill will be made redundant. Any employee made redundant will receive their full entitlements under the relevant policy or contract.

Mr Luck said the company will work with employees and their union representatives to make the process as smooth as possible. Counselling and outplacement services will be provided. He said the mill will continue to operate as per normal up until it ceases newsprint production.

“A positive aspect in today’s announcement is Visy’s plans to undertake multiple feasibility studies on potential future uses on the site in the shorter and longer term. This provides the opportunity for future jobs in the region,” Mr Luck said.

“Today’s decision will also be sad news for many people. However, it reflects the structural change in the newsprint industry and the need to address declining domestic sales, lower prices and increased reliance on exports into volatile Asian markets.

“I take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank everyone who has worked at and for the mill over the last 38 years. I also acknowledge that today’s decision comes after what has been a very tough year for the mill and its employees, families and friends. I therefore want to again acknowledge and thank everyone for their efforts during this time.”

The Albury mill commenced newsprint production in 1981 and has produced more than seven million tonnes of paper during its 38-year history.

Newsprint production will continue at the Boyer mill in Tasmania and the Tasman mill in New Zealand.