Georgia-Pacific confirms permanent closure of shuttered Peterman, Alabama plywood mill, prepares to remove buildings

LOS ANGELES , October 24, 2011 () – Georgia-Pacific LLC (GP) says it will not reopen its shuttered plywood mill in Peterman, Alabama, according to a report by the Press-Register.

The mill employed 300 workers when it was idled in January 2009, and GP made final settlement payments to employees in December.

Company spokeswoman Melodie Ruse said GP had determined that the market for building materials would not rebound any time soon, with housing starts currently running at an annual rate of below 600,000.

GP, an Atlanta-based unit of Koch Industries, spent US$18 million on the Peterman mill, which opened in 1978.

Ruse said GP was preparing to remove the buildings, but had not yet decided on what to do with the land.

GP operated 21 plywood mills before the housing construction downturn began, but has reduced that number to nine. The company has permanently closed six mills, including its plants in Gloster, Mississippi; Louisville, Mississippi; Springhill, Louisiana; Fordyce, Arkansas and Monticello, Georgia. GP has also idled six other mills including one in Talladega, Alabama.

Plywood has been losing market share to OSB for decades, but the decline has accelerated since 2005 when construction peaked. Plywood capacity fell 11.5% between 2005 and 2009, according to APA - The Engineered Wood Assn., while  OSB capacity dropped 1.3%.

The primary source of this article is the Press-Register, Mobile, Alabama, on Oct. 21, 2011.

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