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Bridgewater newsprint mill goes into administration

The Bridgewater newsprint mill in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire has filed for administration after the directors concluded that Bridgewater Paper Company could no longer meet its debts.

The mill, which is owned by global paper producer AbitibiBowater, has a production capacity of 220,000 tonnes of paper each year, employing 300 workers.

A spokesperson for appointed administrator Ernst and Young explained that although it was too early to say if the whole of the workforce would be made redundant, 108 temporary lay-offs have already been made.

Joint administrator Tom Jack said: We are continuing to trade the business as we explore all options which include looking for a buyer for the business as a going concern. We are grateful for the support of all customers, employees and suppliers as we continue to satisfy customer demands.

Currently, there is no date set for when the mill will close as the primary focus is to find a buyer for the business as a going concern, so production is continuing at the mill for the time being. The administrators are now in discussions with a number of potentially interested parties.

The subsidiaries of Bridgewater Paper Company, Cheshire Recycling and Abitibi-Consolidated Europe SA, are not affected by this administration. 

The news comes almost a year after AbitbiBowater reassured its UK branches that operations for AbitbiBowater Recycling Europe will continue as normal despite its parent firm filing for creditor protection in Canada and the US. (see MRW story)  Ernst and Young were unable to comment on this transaction.

AbitibiBowater president and chief executive David Paterson said: We recognize the impact the filing has on our UK employees and business partners. However, these actions were necessary and represent the best course of action going forward.

Without this mill, the UK would have just three newsprint mills ; UPM, PALM and Aylesford Newsprint.


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