April 08, 2020

Baileyville mill announces plans to lay off 18 employees

BAILEYVILLE – Officials at Domtar Inc. pulp and paper mill announced Friday they plan to lay off up to 18 employees over the next few months.

Company spokesman Scott Beal did not indicate in a telephone interview Friday how the layoff would be divided. “We’ll look at all positions as we have been,” Beal said. He said the company would look at attrition as a possible solution to the layoff. “If that can become part of the 18, that’s all the better,” Beal added. “It will all be in place by the end of March.”

The layoff has nothing to do with the agreement that Montreal-based Domtar reached with Weyerhaeuser Co. in August to combine its fine-paper business with the Canadian papermaker in a deal that is valued at around $3.3 billion. At the time of the announcement, Domtar officials said the arrangement would be good news for Washington County employees. The deal is expected to close early next year.

“This isn’t anything new for us. This is a continuation of programs [that started] when we joined Domtar in 2001,” Beal added. “We continue to focus on our head count, but more importantly, it’s [about] overall cost reduction. Our competitors continue to make products that are cost-efficient and put it in the marketplace at very competitive prices. There’s just no let up in the marketplace in terms of being a low-cost producer,” he said.

Beal said the company needed to focus on areas the company can control. “There’s some things that we can’t – like energy, chemicals and stuff like that,” he said.

Contacted Sunday, Baileyville Town Manager Scott Harriman said Domtar notified town officials of the layoff Wednesday. “They’re hoping most of that can be done through attrition,” Harriman said. “This is a systemwide cut, not just [Baileyville].”

Although Domtar continues to look at ways to cut costs, in June, company officials presented an optimistic outlook of Maine’s pulp and paper industry.

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