2,500

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2000

to lose jobs as IP trims 4 mills

At the same time International Paper announced its third quarter earnings were up over last year’s, company officials announced plans to reduce production capacity by closing three mills and reducing the capacity of a fourth.

The mills involved are in the uncoated paper, market pulp, unbleached Kraft paper and container board business. “This does not, does not affect the Vicksburg Mill,” said Ray McLaurin, IP spokesman for the complex near Redwood.

The Vicksburg mill makes Kraft linerboard used in the manufacture of corrugated shipping cartons. In the past 18 months to two years, the local mill has had to undergo temporary shutdowns as the company tried to match supply to world demand.

The mills to be shut down are in Mobile and Courtland, Ala., Lock Haven, Pa., and Camden, Ark.

IP officials said the Mobile mill will be shut down, all of the papermaking machines will be prepared for indefinite shutdown and all employees will be released.

The fiber line and related paper machines and the pulp dryer will be shut down at Courtland. Four other, efficient paper machines will continue to operate.

Five machines will be shut down at Lock Haven and two small machines will continue to operate for an unspecified period.

The Camden mill, which makes unbleached Kraft and multiwall paper, will be closed and the Kraft production will be moved to mills in Georgia and North Carolina.

In all, the latest closings involve about 2,500 people. Officials said those people will have access to outplacement services and job counseling.

Earlier this summer, IP announced plans to sell the mill in Natchez as a move to eliminate some businesses not related to its core business. The Natchez plant produces wood pulp.

Overall, IP earnings for the third quarter were up 15 percent when compared to the third quarter of 1999. The 2000 earnings amounted to $260 million, 53 cents per share, compared to $193 million , 46 cents per share, in 1999. The quarter’s sales were $7.8 billion, up from $6.3 billion for the same quarter in 1999.