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Fife paper mill to 'wind down operations'

A paper mill currently under administration is to close as no buyers have come forward.

The deadline for offers to buy 206-year old firm Tullis Russell Papermakers and its assets expired on 18 May and, although 200 potential buyers were contacted, none was interested.

When the company entered administration on 27 April, 325 of the mill’s 474 staff were made redundant and joint administrators Blair Nimmo and Tony Friar of KPMG have confirmed a further 21 employees have been made redundant while operations are being wound down.

Nimmo said: “The level of interest shown in the business and the outcome from Monday’s closing date is disappointing.

“The business continues to face considerable economic challenges as a result of weakening global demand for printed materials, rising raw material costs and the strengthening of Sterling against the Euro.”

“We will now be working with the company’s remaining employees to continue to wind down operations and focus on realising the company’s assets.”

KPMG previously said it was arranging site visits for parties after receiving ‘a number’ of notes of interest in the company.

The mill’s parent company Tullis Russell Group initially approached 64 parties worldwide, but this and the joint administrators’ subsequent wider sales process proved to be unsuccessful. 

The firm produced high-quality paper board for use in cards, covers and premium packaging.

The business had a turnover of £124.6m in the year to 31 March 2014 but suffered a pre-tax loss of £3.4m. This meant it had incurred cumulative losses of £18.5m during the past five years.

The group’s coating business in Bollington, Cheshire, and its image transfer business in Ansan, Korea, are not affected by the administration and continue to trade as normal.

RWE Innogy, a £200m biomass plant on the site in Markinch that supplies energy to the mill, said it would continue to operate when the paper company entered administration.

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