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International Paper

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will close its lumber operations at plants in Passadumkeag and Costigan, Maine, and 263 employees will lose their jobs.

The formal closure is expected in mid-April. The forest products and paper company cited poor market conditions and the effects of lumber imports as the reasons behind the closures. A chipper operation will continue indefinitely at the Costigan site, the company said in a press release.

The shutdowns follow the plans by the company, a member of the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

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, to close its Washington, Ga., lumber mill. By closing the operations, International Paper will reduce its lumber production by 13%.

The Maine plants became part of International Paper last June, when the company acquired

Champion International


International Paper, which is based in Purchase, N.Y., was down $1, or 2.6%, to $36.89 in recent trading on the

New York Stock Exchange