MeadWestvaco to Consolidate Northeastern Envelope Operations
Friday, September 27, 2002
Company to Close Envelope and Flexible Packaging Plants in Springfield, Mass. STAMFORD, CONN., September 25, 2002 - MeadWestvaco Corporation (NYSE: MWV) today announced that it will close two manufacturing plants in Springfield, Mass., and consolidate its envelope operations in the Northeast by creating a single, high-powered manufacturing center in Enfield, Conn. While the company's Envelope Products headquarters will remain in Springfield, its Springfield and Flexible Packaging plants will close by late November, with some employees and equipment transferring to Enfield. Other equipment will be used to enhance operations at envelope facilities around the country. "The improvements we are making in our Enfield plant will be of enormous benefit to our customers," said John Taylor, General Manager of Envelope Products for MeadWestvaco's Consumer & Office Products Group. "These plants share a common customer base, and by serving them out of a single Northeastern site, equipped with the best machinery, we'll be able to deliver products faster and more efficiently. All of these changes will help us better serve our customers." The consolidation of manufacturing facilities is a response to the ongoing evolution of the Envelope Products marketplace. The Springfield plant currently manufactures a variety of envelope products for the direct mail, bill-and-return and financial markets. The Flexible Packaging plant makes specialized, non-mailing consumer packaging envelopes. The two plants' presence in Springfield began more than a century ago, and they became part of Westvaco Corporation in 1960. MeadWestvaco was formed in January 2002 by the merger of Westvaco Corporation and The Mead Corporation. Together, the Springfield Flexible Packaging and Enfield plants employ approximately 375 employees. The company expects to eliminate approximately 130 positions, offering restructuring benefits, including outplacement assistance, to all affected employees. Closing the Springfield and Flexible Packaging Plants will result in MeadWestvaco incurring a pretax charge of approximately $4 million during the third quarter. This charge is associated with employee restructuring benefit payments, asset write-downs and other closure-related expenses. MeadWestvaco expects this action to have a positive subsequent effect on earnings. MeadWestvaco's Consumer & Office Products Group also produces and distributes school supplies, time management products and home office products. In addition to the Springfield Flexible Packaging and Enfield facilities, the Envelope Products Group has 13 other converting facilities and print centers located throughout the United States. Since the merger, the Envelope Products Group is being managed within the MeadWestvaco's Consumer & Office Products segment in order to realize manufacturing and distribution efficiencies. MeadWestvaco Corporation, headquartered in Stamford, Conn., has annual sales of $8 billion and is a leading global producer of packaging, coated and specialty papers, consumer and office products and specialty chemicals. The company operates in 33 countries, serves customers in approximately 100 nations and employs more than 30,000 people worldwide. Using sustainable forestry practices, MeadWestvaco manages 3.4 million acres of forests. For more information about MeadWestvaco, visit the company's Web site, www.meadwestvaco.com.