Appvion’s West Carrollton plant. FILE

South Carolina company plans to buy West Carrollton plant

A South Carolina company has announced its intention to acquire a Wisconsin paper maker’s local assets.

Domtar Corp. announced recently that it entered into an asset purchase agreement with Appvion Operations, Inc. to acquire Appvion’s “point of sale” paper business.

The agreement includes the coater and related equipment located at Appvion’s West Carrollton facility as well as a license for all corresponding intellectual property.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020.

“Appvion and Domtar have enjoyed a strong mutually beneficial relationship over the last several years as part of our long-term supply agreement,” Graeme Hodson, president of Appvion’s paper division, said in a statement.

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“The combination of Domtar’s world-class paper-making capabilities with the West Carrollton coater’s significant scale will make a globally competitive point-of-sale paper business and provide new options for our future growth,” Domtar President & Chief Executive Officer John Williams said in a statement.

Appvion said it will “work closely with Domtar to enable a smooth transition of the business and ensure our (point of sale) customers continue to receive the exemplary customer service and high quality products they have come to expect.”

Appvion said it will focus on its “tag, label and entertainment markets, the carbonless paper and specialty paper markets, as well as its packaging and specialty coating division.

The local plant and its company have had a rocky road over the years.

In October 2017, Appvion and some of its subsidiaries filed voluntary Chapter 11 cases, seeking protection from creditors. By the spring of 2018, a bankruptcy court approved the sale of Appvion’s assets to a lenders group.

Appvion had been known as Appleton Papers before changing its name in 2013. At the time, the Appleton, Wisc.-based company had about 100 workers at its 1030 W. Alex-Bell Road plant and several workers in Monroe.

In 2018, the plant still had about 100 workers.

“This addition nicely complements our existing family of products and matches our core competencies,” a Domtar spokesman said in an email. “The combination of Domtar’s world-class paper-making capabilities with the West Carrollton coater’s significant scale will make a globally competitive point of sale paper business and provide new options for our future growth.”

Domtar describes itself as a provider of fiber-based products including communication, specialty and packaging papers, market pulp and absorbent hygiene products. The company has about 10,000 employees in more than 50 countries.

Domtar says its annual sales are about $5.2 billion, and its common stock is traded on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges.

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