Fraser to review pulp operations in 2006

In an effort to stem losses, officials of Toronto-based Fraser Paper say they expect to make significant changes in their pulp operations in 2006.

According to the Berlin Daily Sun, Fraser Chief Executive Officer Dominic Gammiero said in a recent conference call that the firm wants to “change” its pulp business “significantly.”

The firm owns the pulp and paper mills in Berlin and Gorham.

The Canadian paper industry is weathering an economic storm. Executives at a the recent PaperWeek International forum in Canada said the industry’s return to profitability will rest on its ability to consolidate to compete in a global economy.

All of Canada’s pulp, paper or packaging companies reported fourth quarter losses in 2005. Fraser reported a loss of $22 million for the period.

Gammiero said he believes Fraser’s increasing emphasis on technical specialty and lightweight opaque papers will, over time, bring higher prices.

Fraser Paper officials declined to talk specifically about plans for their pulp operations, but the Sun reported that there are signs the company intends to operate the Berlin mill for the foreseeable future. – JEFF FEINGOLD

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