E&P Technical: Publishers' Recent Retreat from Paper Mills

By Rosenberg, Jim | Editor & Publisher, July 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

E&P Technical: Publishers' Recent Retreat from Paper Mills


Rosenberg, Jim, Editor & Publisher


For all their need for newsprint -- as well as their history of ownership of the mills that produce it -- newspapers have mostly exited the papermaking business in recent years. Ten years ago, for example, The Washington Post Co. and Dow Jones & Co. sold their interests in Bear Island Paper Co. and Bear Island Timberlands Co. to their longtime partner, which continued to run the Virginia operations.

Even then, former Dow Jones' CEO Peter Kann said that although the investment assured a supply of newsprint, with changes in aggregate demand having lessened that concern, "it makes sense for us to sell these valuable assets and concentrate even more fully on our core businesses."

The Washington Post Co., however, still shares ownership of a two-machine mill, Bowater Mersey Paper Co. Ltd., in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.

Similarly, The New York Times Co. owns 49% and Abitibi- Consolidated owns 51% of Donohue Malbaie, which buys Abitibi pulp to make newsprint on a paper machine it owns in Abitibi's mill in Clermont, Quebec. The Times Co. buys almost half the machine's 215,000 metric tons, and Abitibi buys the rest for resale. The Times Co. also owns 40% of a supercalendered paper mill in Maine, from which last year it bought about 9% of the 193,000-metric-ton output. …

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