Mohawk Fine Papers Inc. has acquired Smart Papers LLC’s uncoated paper brands, a move that will cut more than half of Smart Papers’ employees at its Hamilton mill.
Cohoes, N.Y.-based Mohawk, which also operates a mill in Hamilton, said it has purchased the company’s premium uncoated writing, text and cover paper brands. It also will be the exclusive marketer of Smart Papers’ Kromekote and Knightkote brands to paper distribution firms and and graphic designers globally, according to a news release. The transition will take place over the next 30 days.
Smart Papers said in a separate release that it will continue to manufacture ultra-premium, cast-coated and recycled matte printing papers, and continue direct selling of its coated paper brands to certain accounts, like original equipment manufacturers, laminators and packaging printers.
The Hamilton Journal-News , quoting the president of the United Steelworkers of America Local 1967, said about 200 Smart Papers workers will be laid off as a result of the sale. That’s about 55 percent of the mill’s union members and 60 percent of its salaried employees, according to the story. About 160 employees will remain, the union head said.
Mohawk, which bought the former Beckett paper mill in Hamilton in 2005, closed the mill for two weeks in December and January due to soft demand.
Smart Papers, which is majority owned by Plainfield Special Situations Master Fund Limited, a hedge fund group based in Connecticut, laid off about 50 workers in the fourth quarter of 2008. Its mill, once owned by Champion Paper Co., was purchased from International Paper in 2001.
Reprinted from Business Couriers