Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fortress, Tembec union may not be pulp fiction: CEO

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MONTREAL -- Fortress Paper has much work to do to calm the fears of nervous investors, but the company's CEO envisages becoming one of the world's leading dissolving pulp producers by eventually merging with Canadian rival Tembec.

"In a perfect world, I could see the Tembec, Fortress dissolving pulp entity being very interesting," Chad Wasilenkoff said during an interview as part of a tour with shareholders, analysts and the media.

Fortress first has to work out the bugs at its facility in Thurso, Que., and then open another facility in Lebel-sur-Quévillon, Que. But he said other options are possible once both are operating at full capacity in about two years and churning out a total of 450,000 tonnes annually of the material used mostly to make rayon and viscose for the textile industry.

"We're not in discussions and I couldn't see it happening in the short term, but multiple years out it would make a great Canadian powerhouse in the global dissolving pulp space."

Wasilenkoff said the entity would be a good mix and generate a lot of synergies.

He said it would be interesting to unite the companies and then break the new one into two entities -- one with the four dissolving pulp mills and another with the other mills that make high-yield pulp and other products.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 19, 2012 B7

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