NEW YORK CITY -- Amid falling paper demand as US consumers switch to online alternatives, International Paper (IW 1000/164) said Wednesday it would close an Alabama plant.
IP, a leading U.S. global paper and paper products company, said it had tried unsuccessfully to avoid closing its Courtland Mill, based in Courtland, Alabama.
The closure affects 1,100 employees.
The mill will be shut down in stages to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2014, the company said.
The move will reduce IP's North American uncoated and coated paper for forms, envelopes, labels, copiers, printers and magazines by 950,000 tons.
"This decision to permanently close capacity is primarily being driven by demand decline for uncoated freesheet paper products in the United States," said John Faraci, IP chairman and chief executive.
The demand for uncoated freesheet in North America has been in decline since 1999, the company said, and has recently accelerated "as consumers continue to switch to electronic alternatives such as online publications and electronic billing and filing."
"We explored numerous business and re-purposing options for the Courtland Mill, but concluded that permanently closing the mill best positions the business for the future," said Tim Nicholls, senior vice president of Printing and Communications Papers.
IP employs about 70,000 people worldwide.
The Memphis, Tennessee-based company said the closure would result in write-off and depreciation charges of about $550 million and other charges of $125 million to be taken this year and in 2014.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013