International Paper Ti mill to be renamed

·2 min read

Sep. 28—TICONDEROGA — On Friday, the International Paper Ticonderoga Mill will be renamed to Sylvamo, the spinoff company for IP's papermaking division.

A ceremony is planned to take down the International Paper sign on Shore Airport Road and replace it with a Sylvamo sign.

According to Sylvamo's website, its primary mills are the Ticonderoga Mill and the Eastover (South Carolina) Mill.

Ticonderoga has about 615 employees and produces opaque and colored papers and premium copy and printer paper under Hammermill, Accent and Springhill brands.

Ticonderoga Mill Communications Manager Donna Wadsworth said the change will not effect day-to-day operations there.

"Staffing will remain the same at the mill, including Mill Manager Tim Stocker," she said by email. "The community can expect to see operations continue as currently."

FOCUS, TALENT

In a previous letter to workers at the mill, Stocker wrote, "We will be the largest paper company in the world. The business will operate eight competitive, low-cost mills across key geographies. In addition to its scale, as a standalone company, it will have the focus, talent, capabilities, and low-cost positions to pursue its strategy and succeed."

International Paper has retained its mills making cardboard and the absorbent cellulose fibers used in paper towels and disposable diapers and spun off the rest into a subsidiary.

Stocker has been at the Ticonderoga Mill since October 2015.

In a market report last year when the spinoff was announced, Charles Gross, Morningstar equity analyst, said he doesn't see very much strategic value in a separate company.

LOVE OF FORESTS

"In our view, most of what IP produces is a commodity on some level," Gross said in the analysis. "Even if the company achieves its announced cost savings, its competitors will not be standing still. The company will need to generate those savings to remain competitive."

Sylvamo could be a future acquisition target, Gross said.

"Paper demand crumbles year after year, leaving the industry in perpetual oversupply," Gross said. "A competitor like Domtar could merge with the post-spin-off paper company to shore up profitability, a previously unlikely option given IP's before-spin valuation."

The new company predicts $4 billion in annual sales. The name Sylvamo was chosen because it means love of forests in Latin.

PANDEMIC DEMAND

Sylvamo Chief Executive Officer Jean-Michel Ribieras said demand for printing papers is coming back after the pandemic.

"Our demand has snapped back, and since the second quarter of this year (2021), all our mills across all the regions are running at full capacity," he said in a conference call with investors.

Much of the renewed paper demand is for back-to-school and back-to-office uses, he said.

Sylvamo has acquired a building in Memphis, Tenn. as its headquarters. IP is also based in Memphis.

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