Paper Excellence finalizes deal to acquire Crofton’s Catalyst Paper

Sale includes Crofton mill, plus mills in Port Alberni and Powell River

The addition of Catalyst Paper to the company puts the “paper” in Paper Excellence Canada, said PEP CEO Brian Baarda.

Baarda was joined by B.C. Premier John Horgan, North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring, MLA Doug Routley and other dignitaries and company officials on March 18 at the Crofton pulp and paper mill to celebrate the completion of the deal that adds Catalyst Paper’s Crofton mill, as well as its two mills in Port Alberni and Powell River, to PEC’s’s assets.

Horgan said he’s grateful to PEC for committing to B.C.’s forest industry and helping to move it forward.

“Last year, we stepped up to protect pensions for Catalyst employees and stood up against unfair U.S. trade tariffs because when forestry is successful, B.C. is successful,” Horgan said, while dozens of mill workers in work vests and hard hats looked on.

“Our government will keep working hard to revitalize the coastal forest industry, and today’s announcement shows that others are committed to the work too.”

The B.C.-based Paper Excellence, which had five operating mills in Canada and two mills in France before its acquisition of Catalyst Paper and its three mills, has quickly grown to be one of the largest pulp producers in North America, producing 2.7-million tonnes of pulp and paper products over the past decade.

Catalyst has also been generating more than $2 billion in annual economic activity in B.C. and, with the acquisition now complete, PEC’s product range expands to include printing papers, specialty and packaging papers and increased pulp production to service its customers worldwide.

Catalyst brings about 1,500 forestry workers to PEC, including about 570 at the Crofton mill, as well as at its other two mills in Port Alberni and Powell River.

The purchase of Catalyst follows regulatory changes made by the provincial government last summer to protect the pensions of Catalyst retirees and workers in the event that only part of the company was sold.

PEC officials have said during negotiations that the company will assume all Catalyst’s obligations to its employees, including pension plans, as part of the deal.

Baarda said the acquisition of Catalyst is a continued step towards PEC’s long-term growth plan within Canada’s pulp and paper industry and clearly demonstrates its commitment to B.C.

“Together, these combined operations will improve efficiency and sustainability in the forest industry in B.C. and Canada,” he said.

“We also look forward to being an integral part of the community here in Crofton and the Cowichan Valley, as well as in Port Alberni and Powell River. We will demonstrate our dedication to the safety of our employees, as well as to the protection of the environment and the communities in which we operate.”

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley said the Crofton mill is a leader in adapting to the demands of the industry, as well as reducing its emissions and water use.

“As well as the jobs provided at the mill, there are also spin-off jobs that help the economy and support the community,” Routley said. “I want to thank PEC for making this deal happen.”

Siebring said the Crofton mill has been operation for 62 years and has become a mainstay in the economic and social fabric of the region.

“We are a prosperous municipality and this mill has played a major part in that over the years,” he said.

“The mill’s involvement in the community has been unparalleled.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

B.C. Premier John Horgan, third from left, assists executives from Paper Excellence Canada and local politicians unveil a new sign at the at the Crofton mill on Monday indicating the facility is now a part of PEC (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Just Posted

North Cowichan Mayor assesses drive-by celebration situation in Crofton

Siebring says bylaw officer’s response to a complaint routinely done all the time

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Crofton

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Hot ticket: Tickets on sale tonight for drive-in theatre at Cowichan Exhibition

Fresh Air Cinema bringing Onward and The Lion King to the big screen at the Cowichan Exhibition

Long-awaited opening for Chemainus Public Market

All components not up and running just yet, but will be soon

RCMP remind drivers of school zone safety as classes resume

Failure to comply could result in a fine of anywhere from $196 to $253

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Vancouver Island grizzlies: moving in, or just passing through?

Lack of data makes seeming increase in grizzly sightings on the North Island an open question

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Most Read