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Norske Skog Plans Major Upgrade For Australasia

Norske Skog Announces Major Upgrade Program For Australasia

A$160 million upgrade program for the Albury mill in Australia and the Tasman mill in New Zealand, has been announced by the Norske Skog Board.

NORSKE SKOG ANNOUNCES MAJOR UPGRADE PROGRAM FOR AUSTRALASIA

Norske Skog today announced an A$160 million upgrade program for its Australasian newsprint assets.

Rob Lord, Executive Vice President Australasia said the company would invest A$130 million at the Albury Mill in NSW and a further A$30 million (NZ$33) at the Tasman Mill in New Zealand.

Mr Lord said the expenditure would improve overall mill productivity as well as improving paper quality for customers.

“This is a significant investment and demonstrates Norske Skog’s strong commitment to the region”.

“It provides a number of benefits to customers and lays the foundation for ongoing success and future development in Australasia”. Mr Lord said

Tasman General Manager, Peter Chrisp said work on the program will begin immediately and will take two years to complete.

Under the program annual paper production at Albury will increase by 50,000 tonnes to 265,000 tonnes. In New Zealand at Tasman, capacity will be reduced from approximately 365,000 tonnes to 315,000 tonnes per year. This will be achieved by upgrading No.2 and No.3 paper machines to increase production by 30,000 tonnes per year and closing No.1 paper machine.

Mr Chrisp said the expenditure would improve the long- term future of the Tasman Mill.

“Norske Skog has already invested some $NZ120 million at Tasman since purchasing the mill. Today’s announcement further demonstrates the company’s commitment to the New Zealand business”.

“The program will increase the productivity of the No.2 and No.3 paper machines, through upgrades to their former, press and dryers sections”, Mr Chrisp said.

Work on the No.3 paper machines is scheduled for mid 2005 and No 2 for early 2006. Tasman’s No. 1 paper machine will close on 31 July 2006. The upgrade program also involves some plant closures in wood handling and stone groundwood.

“The No. 1 machine was established in 1955 and it will be a sad day when it finally shuts. However, the upgrade of the remaining two machines will ensure that the Tasman Mill remains a major employer in the region and a major contributor to the New Zealand economy for many years to come”.

“These changes have been foreshadowed for the last two years and we have been working closely with employees and unions about the impact of the proposed program”.

“Some common principles have been established to effect demanning and discussions will continue over the coming months,” Mr Chrisp said.

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