Catalyst Paper - History


The roots of Catalyst Paper date back a century, when the Powell River Company opened a newsprint mill at Powell River in 1912. Bloedel, Stewart & Welch, Ltd. started up their Kraft pulp mill in Port Alberni in 1947 and later added two newsprint machines. These two companies eventually merged into MacMillan Bloedel. The next branch of the family tree was British Columbia Forest Products Limited, formed in 1946 as a logging and sawmilling company. With extensive forest operations in British Columbia, BCFP built a solid reputation as a leading wood products company. The company diversified in the early 1950s, opening its Crofton pulp mill in 1957 and adding newsprint production in 1964, and soon was one of the province's largest integrated forest products companies. The third branch was Crown Zellerbach Canada, which opened a modern newsprint mill at Elk Falls near Campbell River in 1952 and later expanded into Kraft pulp production. In 1981, Fletcher Challenge of New Zealand purchased Crown Zellerbach Canada and renamed it Crown Forest Industries.

In 1987, Fletcher Challenge purchased BCFP. A year later, both companies were merged to form Fletcher Challenge Canada Limited. Gradually, the company began to sharpen its focus on pulp and paper as its core businesses. As a result, it sold its wood products and forest interests to other operators.

In 2000, Norske Skog, a Norwegian paper company, purchased all of Fletcher Challenge's pulp and paper assets, including its majority interest in Fletcher Challenge Canada. That fall, the company changed its name to Norske Skog Canada Limited. Its stock symbol on the Toronto Stock Exchange was NS.

Financial Information
2002 2001
Net Sales (C$M) 1,482.3 1,388.7
Net Earnings (C$M) (123.3) 44.5

In August 2001, Norske Skog Canada acquired Pacifica Papers, which had been formed in 1998 from the paper assets previously held by MacMillan Bloedel. With this acquisition, which effectively doubled the size of the company, the company assumed the new identity of NorskeCanada.

In December 2003 the company grew once again, with the acquisition of Newstech Recycling in Coquitlam. As Catalyst's Paper Recycling Division, the facility recycled old newspapers and magazines to create de-inked pulp that the company used to manufacture paper products. While all divisions used some amounts of recycled pulp, one paper machine at Crofton Division was especially dependent on this fibre source.

In October 2005, shareholders approved a name change, and NorskeCanada became Catalyst Paper Corporation. The company said it chose the new name so it could do business under its own unique identity, one that clearly differentiated it with customers and that accurately reflected its capital structure. The name "Catalyst" was also the name of the company's premium lightweight directory paper.

In February 2006, Norske Skog sold all of its remaining Catalyst shares, ending its association with the company.

By 2009, Catalyst was facing a steep decline in demand and prices for paper products (particularly newsprint) and an overcapacity of production in North America, along with high labour and property tax costs in British Columbia. Rationalization of its business was necessary; the company temporarily closed the Elk Falls mill in February, and reduced production at its other B.C. mills. The following July, Catalyst made the difficult decision to make the mill's closure permanent, and also permanently closed the Paper Recycling Division. Catalyst continues to make recycled paper from its Snowflake Arizona paper mill.

Read more about this topic:  Catalyst Paper

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