Mosinee, a small central Wisconsin town, received some stellar good news from Wausau Paper. A few months after another local business, SNE Enterprises announced the layoff of over 500 workers, the 400 employees at the paper mill should have security with their jobs.
In an article written by Jeff Starck from the Wausau Daily Herald, the good news came during the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Wausau.
About 70 people, including board members and shareholders, attended Wausau Paper’s annual shareholder meeting Thursday at the Jefferson Street Inn in Wausau. There they heard about a $27 million upgrade at a company plant in Minnesota that will allow the Mosinee mill to change its focus and produce paper for years to come, company spokesman Perry Grueber said.
It was the first meeting of shareholders since Wausau Paper sold its printing- and writing-paper division in January and shuttered its mill north of Wausau in February, throwing 400 Brokaw employees out of work.
The meeting included the election of two paper industry executives hand-picked by a New York-based hedge fund that is one of the largest stockholders of the company.
Starck reported that company officials plan to focus on the expanding tissue, food, industrial, and coated paper markets.
“We have a high degree of confidence in our business strategy to grow the business after four years of constant restructuring,” Grueber said of the company’s overall business plan.
Tensions were high a few years ago because the Mosinee mill wasn’t able to produce enough masking and carton tape to meet demand. So to diversify, Wausau Paper converted some equipment in Brainerd, Minnesota into a specialty machine that produces tape, along with food and industrial paper.
The Brainerd upgrade will allow Mosinee workers to keep busy around the clock to meet the growing demand for coated paper, and paper such as carryout bags, wrappers and labels for the food industry, Grueber said.
Starboard Value LP, a New York investment advising company, made several demands of Wausau Paper since becoming a dominant stockholder in the company last year, including the addition of two new members of Starboard’s choosing to the company’s board of directors.
Wausau Paper agreed to nominate former Georgia-Pacific officials Michael Burandt and Charles Hodges, both of whom were elected Thursday by shareholders. The two men also will serve on a new four-person advisory committee that will analyze the company’s strategic planning.
“They have deep industry experience and are very welcome additions to the company,” Grueber said.
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