Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) today announced it will permanently close two veneer technologies manufacturing operations in Oregon -- a plywood mill in Springfield and a veneer plant in Coburg -- effective immediately.
The two shutdowns, which affect 86 people at the plywood mill and 42 people at the veneer plant, were difficult decisions according to Cathy Slater, vice president of veneer technologies.
"Weyerhaeuser made the difficult decision after a strategic review of the company's veneer business," Slater said. "There's a shrinking demand for plywood panels because of the decline in housing starts and the increase availability of alternative products. After careful consideration of all the options, a decision was made to close the two facilities."
The company will provide the affected employees with severance pay and continuation of health care benefits, as well as job-transition services and counseling, consistent with company policy and the applicable union agreement. Workers at the Coburg mill are represented by the Western Council of Industrial Workers (WCIW) union. Springfield is a non-unionized facility.
"Our first priority is supporting the people who will be affected by this shutdown, Slater said. "Our associates work diligently to make our mills safe and competitive. Today's announcement is a reflection of the challenging business environment we face."
Springfield plywood mill
The Springfield plywood mill has been operating on a reduced shift schedule since January 2006. The mill employs 86 people and was built in 1962. It has the capacity to produce 117,000 million square feet of 3/8-inch plywood annually.
Coburg veneer plant
The Coburg plant has been curtailed since Oct. 28. The facility, which began producing veneer in the 60s, employs about 42 people. The plant produces dry veneer which is merchandised for internal and external customers. The annual capacity of the mill is 105,000 million square feet of 3/8-inch veneer.
During the next few months, the two plants will be decommissioned. This will include disposal of manufacturing assets and working with the appropriate environmental agencies to ensure that all regulatory requirements are satisfied. Some of the equipment will go to other Weyerhaeuser veneer technology facilities in Oregon. They are in Albany, Eugene, Junction City, Stayton and Sweet Home.
Weyerhaeuser continues to employ approximately 4,000 people in Oregon in a variety of businesses and manages about 1.2 million acres of timberland.
Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies, was incorporated in 1900. In 2005, sales were $22.6 billion. It has offices or operations in 18 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction, development and related activities. Additional information about Weyerhaeuser's businesses, products and practices is available at http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/.
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SOURCE: Weyerhaeuser Company
CONTACT: Media, Mike Moskovitz, +1-541-741-5431
Web site: http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/