Pratt opens box plant in Wisconsin

From left, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Anthony Pratt, chairman of Pratt Industries, during the grand opening of Pratt’s newest box plant

Pratt Industries, headquartered in Conyers, Georgia, has opened its newest corrugated box plant in Beloit, Wisconsin. The company invested $60 million in the facility.

Attending the official ribbon cutting was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who joined leaders and employees of Pratt Industries, and members of the Beloit community, to celebrate the grand opening.

“We’re pleased to officially welcome Pratt Industries to Wisconsin and celebrate their new manufacturing facility here in Beloit,” Walker said. “As an international leader in paper and packaging, Pratt Industries had numerous options when it came to establishing operations in the Midwest, and their decision to expand here in Wisconsin is another indication that our reforms are working. We applaud the company’s decision to take this step and look forward to working with them in the years to come as they support good manufacturing jobs and continue to invest in and grow their company here in Wisconsin.”

Pratt Industries acquired a 56-acre site in Beloit for the corrugated box factory. The 350,000-square-foot facility is the company’s 13th U.S. corrugating facility and will produce 600 tons of recycled boxes per day. The facility’s location provides access to major hubs, such as Chicago and Milwaukee.

To assist in building the project, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) provided Pratt with up to $2.4 million in jobs tax credits over the next four years and a $1.75 million low-interest loan for equipment. The actual amount of tax credits is contingent upon the actual number of jobs the company creates.

The investment is part of Pratt’s continued expansion plans in the Midwest.

“We currently operate 68 factories and employ 7,000 people, and we want to continue to grow those numbers,” said Anthony Pratt, chairman of Pratt Industries. “Just here in the Midwest alone, we’ve invested almost $500 million dollars since the beginning of 2015.”

Euromoney to acquire RISI

London-based Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, the international online information and events group, has agreed to acquire 100 percent of the equity of Boston-based RISI, the leading price reporting agency (PRA) for the global forest products market.

In its recent strategy update, Euromoney highlighted price discovery (the main activity of PRA) as a key investment theme. The acquisition of RISI follows the acquisition in August 2016 of FastMarkets, a leading provider of real-time metals market pricing information, which significantly has enhanced Metal Bulletin’s position in price reporting, the company says.

Founded in 1985, RISI has been part of London-based AXIO Group, an Epiris Managers, London, business, since 2013. RISI employs 150 people across the United States, China, Belgium, Finland and Brazil. Its product suite consists of pricing data, mill intelligence and analytics, as well as news, research and conferences covering the pulp, packaging, wood products, wood fiber and saw logs markets. Its price indices are used in the daily business operations and trading activities of major paper and board, packaging and other forest-products companies. RISI’s products are embedded in the workflows of its customers, who use its data to price physical transactions and inform strategic decisions, Euromoney says. Many of RISI’s 2200 price series are used as the primary settlement mechanism in contracts.

In calendar year 2016, RISI’s unaudited revenue was $29.6 million and its unaudited EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was $7.7 million. RISI’s revenue is derived predominantly from selling subscription products with high revenue renewal rates, according to Euromoney. RISI’s unaudited gross assets as of Dec. 31, 2016, were $29.8 million.

On completion of the purchase, Euromoney was to pay $125 million in cash for RISI, funded from its existing revolving credit facility. The transaction, which was subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino approval in the U.S., was completed April 7. Euromoney says the acquisition is expected to enhance its earnings in its current financial year.

RISI will be managed as part of a new Price Reporting Division within Euromoney, alongside Metal Bulletin Group (Metal Bulletin, American Metal Market and Industrial Minerals), and will report to Raju Daswani, CEO of Metal Bulletin Group and head of the new Price Reporting Division. This structure will allow RISI and Metal Bulletin Group to benefit from each other’s strengths across a range of areas that power PRAs, Euromoney says.

Resolute indefinitely idles newsprint mill

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Resolute Forest Products Inc., headquartered in Montreal, has indefinitely idled its newsprint mill in Thorold, Ontario, as of mid-March. The company took downtime at the operation beginning mid-December 2016. The mill has an annual production capacity of 197,000 metric tons of 100 percent recycled content newsprint.

Resolute cites ongoing decline in North American newsprint consumption and increasing recovered paper prices for the closure.

With the Thorold mill’s closure, Resolute no longer operates any 100 percent recycled newsprint mills in North America. The company had operated a recycled newsprint mill in South Korea but closed that facility as well.

Resolute says it is working with Stone House Investments Holdings Inc., Montreal, which is interested in converting the Thorold mill to produce an alternative product.