Wausau Paper might sell its Brokaw, Wisconsin, uncoated freesheet paper mill, exit its struggling printing and writing papers business and focus on expanding its tissue and technical paper divisions, top executives confirm

LOS ANGELES , October 27, 2011 () – Wausau Paper Corp. is considering exiting the printing and writing papers business, a market in which it has struggled for years, top executives confirmed in a conference call with investors this morning, reported the Wausau Daily Herald on Oct. 25.

This could include the sale of its uncoated freesheet paper mill in Brokaw, Wisconsin, said Wausau President and CEO Tom Howatt, who will be succeeded by Hank Newell, the company’s current executive VP and COO.

The sale of the mill or the division are both options that the Mosinee, Wisconsin-based papermaker is considering, said Howatt, but neither he nor Newell could provide a timeline for the possible plans, according to the article, which was carried on CentralWisconsinHub.com.

Right now, the company is looking at leaving the printing and writing paper business in a way that provides “the best value” for shareholders, said Howatt, noting that the plan is to do that “as quickly as practicable.”

Howatt declined to indicate if any other companies have shown an interest in buying the Brokaw mill, the Wausau Daily Herald reported.

The move is part of Wausau Paper’s strategy to focus on two of its most profitable divisions, tissue and technical papers, both of which are expanding.

As part of that plan, all of the printing and writing paper production from the company’s mill in Brainerd, Minnesota, is being shifted over to the Brokaw mill. The Brainerd mill will instead make technical papers, such as specialty grades used in food production and other industries, reported the Wausau Daily Herald.

A financial advisor has been evaluating what to do about Wausau’s printing and writing papers division for six months, but the results are still uncertain, according to the company.

Since 2002, the Brokaw mill has operated with a “significant financial loss,” according to an internal memo obtained by the Wausau Daily Herald this past summer.

The primary source of this article is the Wausau Daily Herald, Wausau, Wisconsin, on Oct. 25, 2011.

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