PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — International Paper announced Tuesday it will permanently end production on pulp machines in Pensacola, Florida, and Riegelwood, North Carolina, as well as permanently closing the Orange, Texas mill.
Nationwide, 900 jobs will be affected, and approximately 100 jobs will be affected at the Pensacola mill, according to an IP news release.
“Please note, the Pensacola mill is not closing,” Amy Simpson, with IP’s Media Relations, said. “We are ceasing production on one machine but the other machine and the mill in general will remain open and in operation. There are currently 550 positions at the Pensacola mill. This decision will affect approximately 100 positions, but our goal is to minimize involuntary job reductions by utilizing current vacancies, retirements and normal attrition.”
The pulp machine closures in Pensacola and Riegelwood will reduce IP’s pulp capacity to 500,000 tons: 300,000 tons fluff pulp and 200,000 tons southern bleached softwood, according to the news release. IP’s remaining pulp mill system includes eight mills and an annual production capability of 2.7MM tons.
According to IP, the #4 machine in Pensacola is currently idled and will not resume production.
“Decisions like these are extremely difficult, because of the impact on our employees, their families and the communities in which we operate,” IP Chairman and CEO Mark Sutton said. “We are grateful to our employees in Orange, Riegelwood and Pensacola for their significant contributions to the company over the years.
“We are committed to providing severance benefits, outplacement assistance and more to help employees during this time.”