AbitibiBowater UK Recycled Newsprint Mill in Bankruptcy

By: E&P Staff

Montreal-based AbitibiBowater has announced that Bridgewater Paper Co. Ltd., near Liverpool, England, had filed for administration in the United Kingdom, saying its subsidiary’s directors reached the decision “only after all other options to keep these U.K. operations solvent were exhausted.”

The mill produces 220,000 tons of recycled newsprint per year. About a third of its 300-plus employees were indefinitely laid off.

AbitibiBowater’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and Canadian creditor-protection proceedings (E&P Online, April, 16, 2009) and Bridgewater’s insolvency filing are separate legal processes. The possible outcomes of one “will not necessarily reflect on the future” of the other, the AbitibiBowater announcement said. The U.K. publication PrintWeek reports that Bridgewater?s paper-recovery/recycling and AbitibiConsolidated Europe subsidiaries are unaffected by the filing.

Appointed to manage Bridgewater’s business and assets, joint administrators from Ernst & Young LLP are “exploring various options.” The local Ellesmere Port Pioneer quoted an Ernst & Young spokeswoman for saying the ?primary focus? is to ?find a buyer for the business as a going concern.?

AbitibiBowater said that throughout Bridgewater’s filing it will help European customers receive products and service without interruption. “We remain committed to building on our many decades of sales into the international marketplace, and Europe is strategic to the company’s current and future sales efforts,” AbitibiBowater President and CEO David J. Paterson.

The eighth largest publicly traded pulp and paper manufacturer, AbitibiBowater owns or operates 23 pulp and paper facilities and 28 wood-products facilities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Korea.

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