Gaspesia mill to reopen
Chandler, December 17, 2001 – The reopening of the Gaspesia mill in Chandler, Gaspé was announced today, in the presence of Bernard Landry, Premier of Quebec, Gilles Baril, Minister of State for the Regions and Minister of Industry and Trade, and a number of dignitaries. The consortium involved, which includes Tembec, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and SGF‑Rexfor, agreed to reopen the mill in early 2004, with construction to begin in the spring of 2002. When the project is completed, some 260 jobs will be created in the Gaspé region.
The project, estimated at $465 million, is designed to shift the former Abitibi‑Consolidated mill’s production to the manufacture of high‑gloss coated paper. The Quebec government’s contribution will be made under its FAIRE and Emploi‑Québec programs. Furthermore, the INNO‑PAP agency is contributing financially to the project. The federal government has yet to confirm participation.
Tembec is investing $35 million to acquire a 25% equity interest in the new facility. SGF‑Rexfor, a subsidiary of the Société générale de financement du Québec (SGF), will hold an equivalent interest, while the Fonds de solidarité FTQ will hold a 50% interest, representing amounts already invested and contributions yet to be made.
Quebec‑based Tembec will provide the newly formed entity with assistance to carry out the modernisation of the Chandler mill, after which it will also provide technical support to the mill operations and market the mill’s entire output. With the addition of the mill’s estimated capacity of 200,000 tonnes per year, the Tembec Paper Group will become the sixth‑largest paper producer in North America, marketing over 1.3 million tonnes. Tembec’s participation will give the Chandler mill preferential access not only to Tembec’s resources and know‑how, but also to a worldwide distribution network and proven marketing techniques.
At Tembec, we are proud to participate in the reopening of the Chandler mill. Tembec President and CEO Frank A. Dottori said: “Through this high-tech state-of-the-art project, our participation in the Chandler mill’s reopening will not only enable us to pursue our growth strategy, but will also give us an edge in this highly competitive market. Tembec has become what it is today because of the unrelenting hard work of everyone who has worked to build it. Our machines are no different from our competitors’. It is Tembec’s employees who make the difference, because they are building their future together. Today, I know that Chandler mill employees will support us in that effort”.
FTQ President Henri Massé stressed that on the very day the Gaspesia mill closure was announced, the FTQ and its Fonds de solidarité decided to do everything it could to remedy the catastrophic impact the closure would have on Gaspesia workers and the Gaspé economy. “The Fonds de solidarité FTQ bought the mill, and worked relentlessly for eighteen months to come up with a project to modernize the mill, in which the Fonds invested $70 million. By turning Gaspesia into a world-class state-of-the-art mill, we wanted to ensure its long-term survival,” said Mr. Massé. More than ever, he is convinced that the Fonds de solidarité FTQ is an essential economic development tool for Quebec regions. “The project announced today will make it possible for an entire region to face the future with greater confidence. That is what we are most proud of today”, he added.
Claude Blanchet, Chairman, President and CEO of the Société générale de financement du Québec (SGF), added: “In addition to the jobs created directly at the mill, the project itself will be a first-rate incentive for the region, especially given the many goods and services that will be purchased, 50% of which will be provided by Quebec suppliers. The project is fully in line with SGF‑Rexfor’s mission of supporting projects focusing on innovation, partnership and structural regional development through the use and enhancement of resources and the manufacture of value-added products.”
The mission of SGF is to implement economic development projects in cooperation with partners and under normal profitability conditions. Since its reorganization in 1998, SGF has generated investments of over $4.4 billion, and created over 19,400 direct and indirect jobs through projects that reached the operational phase, in addition to the thousands of jobs created during construction. As of September 30, 2001, SGF’s consolidated assets totalled over $2.8 billion; SGF has 57 international partners that operate businesses in Quebec. (sgfqc.com)
The Fonds de solidarité FTQ is an investment fund that supports job creation and maintenance in Quebec and promotes regional economic development by investing in SMEs. As of June 30, 2001, the fund had 488,000 shareholders and assets totalling $4.6 billion. Approximately $3 billion of that amount were invested in over 1,800 SMEs, while the fund also provided support for over 93,000 jobs in Quebec.
Tembec is an integrated Canadian forest products company principally involved in the production of wood products, market pulp and papers. The Company has sales of some $3.5 billion with almost 50 manufacturing sites in the Canadian provinces of New-Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British‑Columbia, as well as in France and the United States. Tembec’s Common Shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol TBC. More information can be obtained on the Tembec Web site, at www.tembec.ca
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Société générale de financement du Québec
Fonds de solidarité FTQ
Charles J. Gagnon