WestRock to Reconfigure North Charleston, SC, Paper Mill

September 09, 2019
  • Shut down of one paper machine will reduce linerboard capacity by approximately 288,000 tons
  • Focuses mill on manufacture of differentiated DuraSorb® and KraftPak® products
  • Enables approximately $40 million EBITDA improvement

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- WestRock Company (NYSE: WRK) announced today that it is reconfiguring its North Charleston, SC, paper mill to improve the mill’s operating efficiency and long-term competitiveness.

As part of the reconfiguration, WestRock will permanently shut down one of the mill’s three paper machines and related physical infrastructure, eliminating approximately 288,000 tons of linerboard capacity. The reconfigured mill’s production capacity will total approximately 605,000 tons per year, consisting of three grades: kraft linerboard; KraftPak, an unbleached folding carton kraft paper; and DuraSorb, a saturating kraft paper used for decorative laminate and industrial end uses.

“The actions that we are taking at our North Charleston mill will substantially improve the long-term competitiveness of the mill by reducing our on-going operating costs and capital needs, and focusing more than half of the mill’s production on the high-value, differentiated DuraSorb and KraftPak products,” said Steve Voorhees, chief executive officer of WestRock. “Reducing the production of linerboard at this mill will help balance our supply with customer demand across our system.”

The company anticipates that the reconfiguration will increase WestRock’s annual EBITDA by approximately $40 million, primarily due to the reduction in operating costs from the shutdown of the paper machine and its associated infrastructure. This reconfiguration includes an anticipated workforce reduction of approximately 260 positions at this mill over a five-month period, starting in January 2020.

“We understand that this reconfiguration will impact our employees, their families and the community,” continued Voorhees. “Our teams are working to provide support and resources to our employees and their families as we move forward.”

About WestRock

WestRock (NYSE: WRK) partners with our customers to provide differentiated paper and packaging solutions that help them win in the marketplace. WestRock’s team members support customers around the world from locations spanning North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Learn more at www.westrock.com.

Forward-looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements that are based on management’s current views and assumptions and are typically identified by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “would,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “target,” “prospects,” “potential” and “forecast,” and other words, terms and phrases of similar meaning. Forward-looking statements include statements such as that (i) the shut-down of one paper machine at the North Charleston, SC, mill will reduce linerboard capacity by approximately 288,000 tons; (ii) the reconfiguration of the mill will increase our annual EBITDA by approximately $40 million primarily due to the reduction in operating costs from the shutdown of the paper machine and its associated infrastructure; (iii) the reconfiguration of the mill will substantially improve the long-term competitiveness of the mill; (iv) reducing the production of linerboard at the mill will help balance our supply with customer demand across our system; and (v) the reconfiguration of the mill will result in a reduction of approximately 260 positions at the mill over a five-month period, starting in January 2020.

Investors: 
James Armstrong, 470-328-6327 
Vice President, Investor Relations 
james.armstrong@westrock.com

John Stakel, 678-291-7901 
Senior Vice President – Treasurer 
john.stakel@westrock.com

Media: 
John Pensec, 470-328-6397 
Director, Corporate Communications 
mediainquiries@westrock.com

Source: WestRock Company

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