Paper mill future under threat

There have been several times in recent years when we have held our breath over the future of the Inverurie Paper Mill. Tonight it seems that our worst fears may be founded. The mill’s owners, International Paper, based in Tennessee, has said that the mill is “unprofitable and not financially viable”.

The announcement:
  • puts in question the future of 400 jobs
  • threatens to erodes one of the North-east’s traditional industries
  • and may further shrink the non-oil sector of the Aberdeen City and Shire economy.

Inverurie Paper Mill

In the shadow of Bennachie, Inverurie Paper Mill (right) faces a very uncertain future

When the mill was owned by Thomas Tait, a local firm, it was firmly anchored in Inverurie. The concerns in recent years that – as one small factory in a global organisation – it was vulnerable. Why produce paper in a centre that is remote from the main European markets, with transport costs that are inevitably higher than mills located closer to mass markets?

In Thomas Tait’s days Captain Copier paper was everywhere and the factory’s future seemed secure. But to International Paper, with a $22 billion revenue and a workforce of over 51,000, you can see why the corporate team in Memphis might be wondering why they even had a mill in a place called Inverurie.

Management has announced a three-month consultation on the future of the mill, but the fears must be that an unprofitable factory far from global headquarters is under serious threat. Let’s hope for a miracle, or a business angel with the drive, desire and resources to build the business again.
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