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Sofidel may close down tissue mill

GREATER MANCHESTER, England (From the The Bolton News) -- The Intertissue mill, which employs more than 100 workers in Horwich, could be closed down by parent company Sofidel, which says it is "streamlining" its UK operations.

The company says it is considering proposals to relocate operations in Mansell Way to plants elsewhere in the country -- in Lancaster, Leicester, and Neath.

A decision on the Middlebrook site, which employs 107 people and was formerly Georgia Pacific, is due by the end of the month.

A Sofidel spokesperson said: "To further improve efficiency and strengthen the competitiveness of its tissue operations in the UK, Sofidel Group, the second largest market player in Europe and sixth in the world for the production of paper for hygienic and domestic use, announces that it has informed union representatives and union officers of its proposal to implement restructuring measures aimed at achieving production synergies in its operations in the UK.

"The proposed restructuring measures are aligned with the company's strategy to improve production efficiency in order to drive cost and capital efficiency and further increase value creation.

"Specifically, these measures would affect converting operations in Horwich. The measures could include the relocation of production capacity to other Sofidel Group plants in the UK and it should be completed by March 31, 2019.

"The UK market is currently and will remain one of the most important markets worldwide for Sofidel."

Swedish company Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA) bought four tissue supplier businesses from Georgia Pacific in 2012, but had to sell two of them -- including the Horwich site -- due to European competition rules.

Intertissue then bought the site, which housed 300 staff, in July, 2012, but was not allowed to buy the whole business and part of it was sold to Northwood and Wepa.

This led to 28 employees being left "in limbo" with no company taking responsibility for their employment, while others were either given roles at Horwich, transferred to other sites or made redundant.


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