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Buckeye Exploring Expansion of High-Purity Specialty Pulp Capacity

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Buckeye Technologies Inc., Memphis, Tenn., USA, has approved funding for a comprehensive evaluation of its Florida mill's potential to further increase its high-purity specialty wood pulp capacity. Buckeye's high-end specialty wood pulp grades include ethers, high strength viscose, filtration and acetate, which are used in the production of food and pharmaceutical products, food casings, tire cord, filtration media and acetate tow.

The global demand for these products is growing, the company notes, adding that the company has a proven history of producing these technically demanding grades. Buckeye's specialty wood pulp production continues to be sold out and this potential expansion would help meet growing customer demand in these high-end applications, the company explains..

Buckeye's Chairman and CEO John Crowe said that "currently the lead option in this evaluation is to increase our Florida mill's high-end specialty capacity by 30,000 metric tons with a target startup date at the end of 2012. The overall capacity of the mill would remain at its current 465,000 tpy level, but the mix of high-end specialty production would increase.

"In addition to the mix improvements, we plan to further enhance the performance attributes of the fluff pulp produced at our mill. We expect this project would generate returns significantly above our cost of capital. We believe this option could provide excellent value to our customers and our shareholders. We intend to complete our evaluation and make a final decision on the potential expansion in August 2011," Crowe noted.


Xerium Technologies, Inc.