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NorskeCanada, Norske Skog dissolving U.S. marketing joint venture

Press release from the issuing company

VANCOUVER, June 16 -- Canadian papermaker NorskeCanada announced today that it will market its specialty papers directly to North American customers starting this fall. The move reflects the company's continuing growth and market positioning as a producer of paper grades serving the magazine, catalogue and retail insert categories. As a result of the decision, NorskeCanada and Norske Skog ASA of Norway have agreed to dissolve a joint venture arrangement that was formed in 2001 to market their specialty paper products in North America. The companies reached a mutual decision that sales of their individual products can now best be managed by their own organizations and that the joint venture, Norske Skog North America, will no longer be responsible for these sales, effective Oct. 1, 2005. Russell J. Horner, president and chief executive officer for NorskeCanada, said Norske Skog will continue to act as its agent in South America and there will continue to be a strong bond between the companies. He said NorskeCanada will also maintain an ongoing relationship with PanAsia Paper, which acts as its distributor in Asia. Norske Skog is a 50 per cent owner of PanAsia. "The joint venture has been very helpful in building the platform for NorskeCanada's specialty business in the U.S. and we are grateful for the support of our partners in helping us achieve that goal," Horner said. "NorskeCanada's growth as a significant specialties producer over the past four years has positioned it to go to market on the strength of its own name and reputation." Horner said that since NorskeCanada's specialty products represent 80 per cent of the joint venture's sales volume it makes sense for the company to integrate this business into its own sales and marketing structure. He said both companies will use the transition period between now and Oct. 1 to realign their independent organizational structures to serve customers. NorskeCanada has steadily migrated from being heavily weighted in standard newsprint just five years ago to become a substantial producer of magazine, catalogue and retail insert paper grades. Today, these products represent approximately 70 per cent of the company's total paper revenues.

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