FRANK STRIE

Serious news from FSC Australia …

PAPERLINX COMPLETE SALE OF AUSTRALIAN PAPER TO NIPPON PAPER

PaperlinX Limited announced this week that it had completed the sale of its Australian manufacturing business, Australian Paper, to Nippon Paper Group of Japan. The $600 million sale includes two sites: the recently upgraded Maryvale mill in Victoria and Shoalhaven in NSW. Two mills in Tasmania are not included in the sale (see item below). Soon after the purchase was announced earlier this year, the President of Nippon Paper assured FSC Australia in a private meeting that the company was committed to maintaining FSC certification for the Australian plants. The value of maintaining FSC Chain of Custody certification will continue to be an important consideration for the company. PaperlinX Chairman David Meiklejohn said this week the sale would complete a major transformation for that company.

FUTURE OF TAS. PAPER MILL IN THE BALANCE

Announcing completion of the sale of Australian Paper to Nippon Paper, Paperlinx said the sale would exclude two mills in Tasmania at Burnie and Wesley Vale. A statement said a detailed review of the mills was underway and was expected to be completed by the end of June 2009. It said potential outcomes of the review include retention of the existing business, partial closure, closure or sale. The mills were unable to obtain FSC Chain of Custody Certification several years ago because their Tasmanian wood suppliers did not hold FSC Forest Management certification and did not meet requirements for FSC controlled wood. As a result the mills that produce, amongst other products, book paper were not able to pursue opportunities in the rapidly growing market for FSC certified book paper. It was a disappointing result. If State and Federal political leaders had been as committed to saving 600 jobs at these mills as they have been to building a new mill with half the workforce at Bell Bay the mills may have had a better chance to survive.