Catalyst Paper's strategy is based on diversifying with 'very broad' range of products, says company executive; the Canadian papermaker now derives just 15% of its revenue from newsprint, 25% from pulp and 60% from specialty papers

LOS ANGELES , October 9, 2012 () –

Catalyst Paper Corp. has a plan for survival following its emergence from bankruptcy last month and it involves diversifying its production with a significant shift away from newsprint, reported The Globe and Mail on Oct. 8.

The Richmond, British Columbia-based papermaker has not only diversified with “a very broad product range,” but is also “geographically diverse,” said Tom Crowley, Catalyst’s senior VP of sales and marketing.

Catalyst Paper’s domestic markets are on the west coast of North America and having a deep-sea port at its Crofton division reduces its shipping costs to Asia and Latin America, said Crowley, The Globe and Mail reported.

The company’s newsprint output in 2013 is expected to be 220,000 tonnes, and this will only be produced at its Crofton mill in British Columbia. This compares to the nearly one million tonnes of newsprint Catalyst produced in 2008.

Its Powell River, British Columbia, paper mill--which at one time only made newsprint--now only makes book paper and earlier this year was chosen to supply the paper for the popular Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, reported The Globe and Mail.

On Sept. 30, Catalyst closed its recycled-content newsprint mill in Snowflake, Arizona, where its feedstock old newspapers became too costly, said Crowley. At Crofton, the high-quality newsprint is made entirely from woodpulp, he said.

At its mill in Port Alberni, British Columbia, Catalyst produces coated specialty papers and directory paper, according to the company’s website.

Catalyst Paper now derives just 15% of its revenue from newsprint, 25% from pulp and 60% from specialty papers. This compares to the 2008 revenue breakdown of 25% from newsprint, 21% from pulp and 54% from specialty papers, The Globe and Mail reported.

Despite its diversification, all the paper grades still produced by Catalyst Paper continue to decline in demand in North America, said Kevin Mason, managing director at ERA Forest Products Research.

In the first eight months of this year, exports of newsprint from North America declined by 25%. Newsprint demand within North America is down by more than 10% since the end of 2008, reported The Globe and Mail.

The primary source of this article is The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Ontario, on Oct. 8, 2012.

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