December 17, 2014

Wausau Paper changes plans on Brainerd mill

Wausau Paper announced they will close the Brainerd, Minnesota mill. That closure will affect about 130 employees and take place during the second quarter of this year.

Wausau Paper had announced early this year that Brainerd, Minnesota, along with the Wisconsin mills in Rhinelander and Mosinee, were for sale as the company shifted its focus away from the technical specialty papers and more towards the tissue business. On January 17th, Wausau Paper spokesman Perry Gruber said that the three mills up for sale were never described as “troubled” properties and they intended to keep them running as Wausau Paper searched for a buyer.

 It’s clear Wausau Paper has changed its position on the Brainerd site. President and CEO Hank Newell said Thursday, “A number of factors, including our accelerated exit from the print business, protracted global economic weakness and recent competitive paper capacity additions in Asia have impacted the viability of the Brainerd operations and created operational losses from the mill that were unsustainable. Our employees and the community of Brainerd have done all we have asked in our efforts to create a long-term viable operation and we thank them for their support.”

 Gruber said the Rhinelander and Mosinee mills are performing “decidedly better” than the Brainerd location. He said much of the production from Minnesota plant will be shifted to those Wisconsin locations.

Larry Lee-WSAU