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International Paper Closes Bleached Board Mill in Moss Point, Mississippi

Press release from the issuing company

MOSS POINT, Miss., April 25 - Interactive News Release/ -- International Paper's Moss Point Bleached Board Mill will indefinitely close by the end of the second quarter of 2001 due to high costs and the need to align production with its customer demand. "We sincerely regret the effect this decision will have on the employees, their families and the surrounding communities," said Ed Locke, mill manager-Moss Point Mill. "Due to economies of scale and age, the mill is a high cost facility. Considerable effort has been exerted in the recent past to reduce costs, but we are not able to lower them significantly enough to be competitive in today's market." The mill, which employs 375 people, was constructed in 1912 and acquired by International Paper in 1928. It has one paper machine that can produce nearly 200,000 tons of Bleached Board and Bristols paper each year for products such as greeting cards, paperback book covers, cartons for frozen foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. "This was a difficult decision," said Newell Holt, vice president and general manager-Bleached Board Business, "but the mill simply can no longer compete against newer, more modern paper machines. For IP to remain competitive around the globe, our overall cost structure, workforce and production levels must be in line with the realities of today's challenging marketplace. "This announcement removes the uncertainty about the future of the mill many employees have been feeling for some time," Locke said. "Moss Point has been an integral part of International Paper for more than 70 years. Through their hard work and commitment to producing excellent quality products, the employees maintained mill operations far beyond expectations." This announcement does not affect Moss Point mill retirees or their benefits. Senior managers announced the news during millwide meetings Wednesday, and through personal telephone calls to employees who were off-shift, on vacation or sick, followed by calls to community leaders, public officials and the media. The company will meet with the unions as soon as possible to discuss the effects of this decision. Benefits for salaried employees will be provided under current company policy.