Wausau Paper announced it is closing its Appleton, Wis., plant and moving equipment to its Brainerd and Brokaw, Wis., mills.
Wausau recently revised its fourth quarter earnings information, noting "weakening economic conditions and reduced customer order activity at both its specialty products and printing and writing business units." The Brainerd mill is included in the printing and writing segment.
Wausau's board of directors approved a $6.6 million capital project, aimed at consolidating and streamlining its printing and writing business. Following a phased reduction in operations at the Appleton plant in mid-2009, the facility will be permanently closed before Dec. 31, 2009, affecting 90 permanent jobs. The company reported the closure will involve a one-time pre-tax expense of $3.8 million to close the plant, remove equipment and relocate paper inventories.
"Our lower earnings expectations are entirely driven by weaker than anticipated four-quarter market conditions," Thomas J. Howatt, Wausau Paper president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. "We are committed to balancing production with demand and have scheduled market-related downtime to maintain that balance."
Scheduled downtime at the Brainerd mill is planned from Dec. 22 to Dec. 28.
Howatt said the company continues to pursue opportunities and ways to be competitive. Wausau reported it had earlier anticipated earnings in the range of $0.03 or $0.05 per share.
With the planned downtime, Wausau reported its fourth-quarter results are expected to approximate break even levels, including timberland sales gains and charges related to facility closures and a permanent machine shutdown at the company's Jay, Maine, mill.
On Dec. 17, Wausau declared a quarterly dividend - payable to stockholders of record on Feb. 2 - of $.085 per share on its common stock. Wausau Paper reported it had record revenues of more than $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2007. The company makes fine printing and writing paper, specialty papers and towel and tissue products.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reported the seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose a half a percent to 6.4 percent last month meaning 14,400 joined the ranks of the unemployed for a new total of 188,925. The state reports that number of unemployed is the highest number since early 1983, another rough time in the nation's economy. Overall, the state reports there are about three unemployed workers for each job vacancy statewide during the second quarter of 2008.
The Waller House Inn, a bed and breakfast in Little Falls, and The Depot in Minneapolis, were named the 2008 Minnesota Lodging Association Properties of the Year Dec. 11 at the association's awards celebration in Bloomington.
The association reports the Waller House, a Queen Anne Victorian home built in 1897 and with five bedrooms, was honored in the "50 Rooms or Fewer" category.
The home was purchased by Scott and Raquel Lundberg in 2006. The Waller House also has small and corporate meetings.
The association reports properties of the year are recognized for "providing outstanding customer service, continually exceeding guest expectations and distinguishing themselves as leaders in the industry. Properties are selected by a committee of peers."
Previous award recipients include the AmericInn of Mountain Iron/Virginia, Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior in 2007; AmericInn Lodge & Suites of Madelia; Country Inn & Suites of Albert Lea in 2006, Holiday Inn Select of St. Cloud and Pehrson Lodge of Lake Vermillion in 2005.
Eighty winter banners were installed in downtown Brainerd earlier this month. Kristen Anderson at RedHouseMedia designed the banners. They were purchased with donations from area businesses, organizations and residents and matched by the city of Brainerd.
Beyond the holiday decorations added to the downtown Brainerd business district, visitors may have noticed another effort at visual upgrades as 80 winter banners were added to the area.
Kristen Anderson at RedHouseMedia designed the banners, which were purchased as donations from area businesses, organizations and residents were matched by the city of Brainerd. Banners were installed earlier this month for the holiday season.
RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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