Following a comprehensive analysis, Clearwater Paper Corporation (NYSE:CLW) today announced the planned permanent closure of its Thomaston, Ga., tissue converting and distribution facility. The gradual shutdown of converting equipment will occur on a schedule throughout the year, with some operations running into the first quarter of 2014, affecting a total of 150 employees.
“This has been a difficult decision—one where the company reviewed many scenarios and alternatives to closing the plant,” said Tom Colgrove, president of Clearwater Paper’s consumer products division. “We have concluded that consolidating regional converting and permanently closing Thomaston was the solution to best serve the needs of our southeastern customers and improve the overall logistics of our national manufacturing network.”
Displaced Thomaston employees will be given an opportunity to apply for open positions at other Clearwater Paper facilities. In addition, the company is offering separation and incentive pay for employees who remain at Thomaston until their established final day of work. Also, the company is working closely with West Central Georgia Private Industries Council and the Economic Development Division at the Southern Crescent Technical College to assist with career transition services where needed. Clearwater Paper will integrate most of the equipment from Thomaston in its facilities at Oklahoma City and Shelby, N.C.
“Our goal is to provide jobs where possible to our valued employees who are willing to relocate,” said Colgrove. “Where the company cannot do that, Clearwater Paper wants to ensure we are doing as much as we can to help affected employees through this difficult transition.”The company expects the total impact of non-recurring exit-related costs to be approximately $6-$7 million of which approximately $4-5 million will be incurred in 2013. The cost savings benefits resulting from the equipment relocation and converting facility optimization, which are part of the company’s previously announced cost savings programs, are expected to be fully realized beginning in the fourth quarter of 2014.