Fortress Mill Faces Shutdown

Fortress Paper’s pulp mill in Thurso, Quebec

Bad news keeps on coming for Fortress Paper’s dissolving pulp mill in Quebec

Fortress Paper Ltd. faces further trouble at its Thurso, Quebec, mill, with the announcement yesterday that the mill will be shut down at least until December 10 in order to repair a faulty pipe, losing at least six days of production.

The company announced in October that it intends to convert the mill from dissolving pulp, used primarily to manufacture clothing, to kraft pulp used to manufacture paper, in response to a 13 per cent import duty imposed by China. The mill had been online for about a year, following a $120-million conversion from kraft to dissolving pulp.

Fortress announced on November 12 that it had lost $12.4 million for the quarter ending September 30, on revenue of $53.2 million. That compares to a loss of $19.1 million on revenue of $38.3 million in the same quarter a year earlier. The company lost $20.9 million in 2012, on revenue of $314.4 million.

Fortress shares have slid 66 per cent this year, from a high of $11.05 in January to close at $3.73 on December 6.