Senators Collins, King Applaud Sappi Nor…

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$418 million investment in new specialty paper products will double production and support 1,000 contractor jobs

washington d.c. – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) applauded the announcement of a $418 million investment by Sappi North America, Inc. in the Somerset plant in Skowhegan. This significant investment will help the mill convert paper machine no. 2 in order to diversify its line of specialized products and double its production capacity. Construction of the expansion is expected to support 1,000 contractor jobs in Maine.

The forest products industry is a vital part of our state’s economy and identity, especially in rural communities,” said Senators Collins and King.As the industry seizes new opportunities, it is essential that companies Craft the necessary investments to evolve with the market and ensure long-term success. This is exactly what Sappi has done with its recent upgrades at the Somerset factory in Skowhegan, which supports hundreds of Maine works. This investment will help Sappi reach new customers, support its hard-working employees and keep the local economy strong. We are excited on this upcoming project and I look forward to working alongside Sappi and other State leaders to find new opportunities and markets for the forest of Maine product industry.”

“This move complements our long-term Thrive25 strategy, which is focused on growing our portfolio of packaging and specialty papers, pulps and biomaterials,” said Mike Haws, President and CEO of Sappi North America. “By investing in our business to pursue areas of growing demand, we can remain profitable and competitive in the global marketplace”

With this investment, Sappi will convert its No. 2 paper machine from a mix of woodfree coated graphic paper and single-sided coated label papers to solid bleached sulphate (SBS) plank. The capacity of the machine will increase from 235,000 metric tons to 470,000 metric tons per year. The project will be phased in and is expected to be completed in early 2025. Currently, the Somerset plant supports approximately 800 jobs in Skowhegan and 1,300 jobs in Maine.

Senators Collins and King are strong supporters of Maine’s forestry economy. In 2016, they called on the US Department of Commerce to Establish Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT), that would work across agencies and sectors to create strategies for job growth and economic development in rural Maine communities. The creation of the EDAT and subsequent federal funding of the EDA and the U.S. Forest Service established the FOR/Maine Initiative 2018an industry-led effort that released recommendations to grow Maine’s forest economy through five priorities.

This investment follows another big announcement last week, from LP Houlton, of a $400 million investment in Maine’s forestry economy.

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