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Wed, Aug 21, 2019 03:13
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Management Side
Graphic Packaging Holding Company Announces Approval to Invest $600 Million in a New Coated Recycled Board Machine in the Midwest

ATLANTA (News release) -- Graphic Packaging Holding Company announced that its Board of Directors has approved a $600 million investment in a new coated recycled board (CRB) machine in the Midwest with annual capacity of approximately 500,000 tons. The Company is planning to make the investment in either Ohio or Michigan, subject to a number of conditions, including environmental permitting and negotiations currently underway relative to government incentives and labor relations.

The CRB machine is designed to be the largest and lowest cost producer of CRB in North America. Upon completion of the project, the Company believes the CRB machine will produce the highest quality coated recycled board product in North America with the lowest-caliper capabilities in the industry. The Company expects the investment will be capacity neutral by eliminating higher cost production at other facilities and will deliver an incremental $100 million in annualized EBITDA upon full ramp up in 2022. The increase in EBITDA will be driven by cost savings from significantly increased scale production, reduced raw material consumption, and lower fixed costs. The investment will be funded from cash flow and existing credit facilities with most of the spending occurring in 2020 and 2021.

"We are very pleased to announce our intent to proceed with this significant investment into our integrated CRB platform. This is a unique opportunity to make a highly strategic investment in sustainable packaging, exceptional product quality and an unmatched cost position for producing CRB," said President and CEO Michael Doss. "Importantly, the investment will be capacity neutral as we expect to reduce production at other higher cost CRB facilities after we ramp up production of this highly productive CRB machine starting in early 2022. Increasing consumer preference for sustainable packaging is expected to drive steady, long-term demand for packaging solutions manufactured from 100% recycled fiber. We are confident the investment will deliver returns well above our cost of capital, and remain fully committed to executing our balanced approach to capital allocation as we continue to build a growing, highly integrated, low cost paperboard packaging platform."

The Company expects to complete final negotiations and provide an update on the status of the investment, including the location, in late September. The Company has also scheduled an Investor Day for September 26, 2019 in New York City at the NYSE where it will discuss the strategic and financial rationale for the investment in more detail, as well as other key strategic and financial priorities.

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