Packaging Company Closes Ohio Mill

March 18, 2009
Move will impact 58 workers

Packaging manufacturer Sonoco said March 17 it will permanently close its Lancaster, Ohio, uncoated recycled paperboard mill effective May 16, according to James Harrell, division vice president and general manager, Paper North America.

The mill has the capacity to annually produce approximately 56,000 tons of paperboard, which has been used primarily to supply the company's industrial products converting operations. The plant closure will impact 58 employees. The company will offer severance pay, benefits continuation and outplacement assistance to employees.

"The decision to permanently close the Lancaster mill was extremely difficult because of the effect it has on our employees," said Harrell. "The economic recession has continued to weaken demand for uncoated recycled paperboard in North America which is forcing us to take additional steps to align our production capacity to match changing market realities."

Following the closure, Sonoco will operate 21 uncoated recycled paperboard mills and 31 paper machines globally including 11 mills and 19 machines operated in the United States and Canada. Capacity from the Company's remaining mill system will be used to meet its customers' supply needs. Since mid-2008, Sonoco has eliminated approximately 150,000 tons of annual uncoated recycled paperboard production capacity by shutting mills in Rockton, Ill., Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and a small specialty machine in Holyoke, Mass.

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