BOSTON, May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sappi Fine Paper North America has been named International Investor of the Year for 2011 by the Maine International Trade Center. The award honors foreign owned companies that have made a strategic decision to invest in Maine, either by opening a plant or enhancing their existing operations.
Sappi, an international corporation based in South Africa, has invested nearly $90 million in its two Maine mills over the last three years, including a strategic rebuild of its Somerset pulp mill to improve energy efficiency and reduce its carbon imprint. In fiscal year 2010, Sappi spent approximately $168 million in the state and provided 1,362 jobs in Maine. Sappi's specialty release paper business located in Westbrook, Maine exports 90 percent of its production outside of North America to over 50 countries worldwide.
"We're honored to receive recognition for our investment in Maine's economy and value the ongoing support of the Maine International Trade Center," said Mark Gardner, president and CEO of Sappi Fine Paper North America. "We care about the communities where we operate, and we have roots in Maine, so it is wonderful to receive this award for our contributions. Sappi Fine Paper North America is proud to have an incredibly skilled and talented workforce in Maine, providing our company with the ability to deliver excellent products and services to our customers."The South African Consul General, Mr George Monyemangene, who was attending the awards lunch, expressed his pleasure at Sappi's recognition. "I would like to add my congratulations to Mark and the entire Sappi North America team on receiving the Maine International Investor of the Year Award. This award demonstrates yet again that South African companies produce world-class products and services." Sappi Limited CEO, Ralph Boettger, commented "Sappi welcomes and appreciates this recognition. As a global company with investments across 4 continents, we continuously review our investments in order to ensure that we deliver the products our customers need while generating the margins we require. Our North American business is performing exceptionally well, and this award is more testimony of that." Sappi Fine Paper North America has a substantial presence in Maine with four facilities, including the Somerset Mill in Skowhegan, a Shared Services Center in South Portland, and the Westbrook Mill and Technology Center, both located in Westbrook. In 2011, Sappi was awarded an Efficiency Maine grant from the state of approximately $300,000 for a capital project to improve the energy efficiency at its Somerset Mill in Skowhegan, Maine. The International Investor of the Year award was presented at the Maine International Trade Day 2011, The World in 2020 – Emerging Markets for Growth, held on Friday, May 20, 2011. Past winners of the award have included Trans-Canada, NestleWaters, Tate & Lyle and Cook Aquaculture. About Sappi Fine Paper North America Sappi Fine Paper North America is a preeminent North American producer of coated fine paper used in premium magazines, catalogues, books and high-end print advertising. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Sappi Fine Paper North America is known for innovation and quality. Its brand names, including McCoy, Opus, Somerset and Flo, are some of the industry's most widely recognized and specified. Sappi's mills in North America are triple chain of custody certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI), and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Over 80% of the energy used by Sappi's North American mills comes from renewable resources, resulting in one of the lowest carbon footprints of any major North American coated paper supplier. Sappi Fine Paper North America is a division of Sappi Limited (NYSE: SPP and JSE: SAP), a global company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with manufacturing operations on four continents in 9 countries, sales offices in 35 countries, and customers in over 100 countries around the world. For more information about Sappi Fine Paper North America, visit: www.sappi.com/na ENDS