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G-P spends $20M on Memphis Plant Upgrade

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According to a report this week by The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn., USA, two years after buying Buckeye Technologies for $1.5 billion, Georgia-Pacific Cellulose (Atlanta, Ga., USA) has spent $20 million upgrading the mill and research center.

The mill has operated in the city for nearly a century. The facility has now been renamed Georgia-Pacific as it continues to render cotton and wood pulp into material used in toothpaste, tires, diapers, hot dogs, and other consumer items.

"We’ve definitely been able to grow our business," said Pat Boushka, president of G-P Cellulose in an interview about the second anniversary of the purchase.

The facility exports about 70% of its product, employs about 200 workers in the research center and mill, which Boushka said was upgraded by this investment to boost productivity, safety, and quality of the material it makes. Employment had totaled about 235 in Memphis at the time of the sale. This was down from 600 more than a decade ago. The mill was producing at less than half its capacity when G-P Cellulose bought the Memphis line to complement its fluff pulp business.

The takeover came during the consolidation in the forest products industry. Manufacturers were hit by soaring natural gas prices early in the 2000s and then a recession followed by falling demand for paper amid the rise of digital publishing. The mill was originally owned by Proctor & Gamble before becoming an independent venture in 1993.

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