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Abitibi-Consolidated and Bowater to combine in merger

Press release from the issuing company

Jan. 29 - Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. and Bowater Incorporated today announced a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger of equals. The combination will create a new leader in publication papers - an operationally and financially stronger company better able to meet changing customer needs, compete more effectively in an increasingly global market, adapt to lower demand for newsprint in North America, and deliver increased value to shareholders. The combined company, which will be called AbitibiBowater Inc., will have pro forma annual revenues of approximately US$7.9 billion (C$9.3 billion), making it the 3rd largest publicly traded paper and forest products company in North America and the 8th largest in the world. The current combined enterprise value of the two companies is in excess of US$8 billion (C$9.4 billion). John W. Weaver, President and Chief Executive Officer of Abitibi-Consolidated, will be Executive Chairman of AbitibiBowater, and David J. Paterson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bowater, will be President and Chief Executive Officer of AbitibiBowater. The AbitibiBowater Board of Directors will consist of 14 directors, seven from each company. AbitibiBowater's headquarters and executive office will be located in Montreal, with a U.S. regional manufacturing and sales office in Greenville, South Carolina. The company, which will be incorporated in Delaware as the new parent company, will apply to list its shares on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. The combination is expected to generate approximately US$250 million (C$295 million) of annualized cost synergies from improved efficiencies in such areas as production, selling, general and administrative (SG&A) costs, distribution and procurement. These synergies are in addition to cost saving initiatives already in process at both companies. Mr. Weaver said, "The new AbitibiBowater will be a global leader headquartered in Canada with a brighter future than either company would have on its own. The combined company's ability to realize significant synergies will increase shareholder value, improve our financial flexibility and better position us to compete in today's increasingly competitive global marketplace. Combining our companies is also the best way to continue to contribute to the local and regional economies of the communities in which we operate."

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