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International Paper to Sell Flexible Packaging Business, Part of Divesture Plan

Press release from the issuing company

PURCHASE, N.Y., May 8 International Paper (NYSE: IP) announced today the signing of a purchase agreement to sell its Flexible Packaging Business on May 7, 2001 to a company sponsored by The Sterling Group, L.P., a Houston, Texas, based private equity firm. Details of the deal were not disclosed. This transaction, which is expected to close at the end of June, is subject to customary closing conditions. "We are pleased that Sterling will maintain Flexible Packaging's leadership in this industry and provide the focus the Flexible Packaging Business needs to grow and serve its customers better," said Tom Gestrich, senior vice president, Consumer Packaging. The intent to sell Flexible Packaging is in conjunction with the company's plans to divest businesses that no longer fit its long-term strategy. "The Flexible Packaging Business has been a profitable asset for International Paper. We do regret that the business no longer fits into our long-term strategy, but I am confident that it will fit well with Sterling's and its philosophy for growth, value creation and employee ownership," said Gestrich. "Flexible Packaging's employees are outstanding, and we are grateful for their patience and commitment to customers through this divestiture process." The Flexible Packaging Business supports such end uses as pet food, charcoal, and lawn and garden products. The business employs 2,000 people and has 10 facilities including a prominent product development and graphics center. Flexible Packaging was part of International Paper's Consumer Packaging Group, which also includes the Foodservice Business, Beverage Packaging, Shorewood Packaging and Bleached Board.