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Quesnel pulp mill sold by West Fraser Timber

Quesnel River Pulp part of a two-factory deal for cash and fibre supply
Quesnel River Pulp, one of two pulp plants in Quesnel owned by West Fraser, has been sold to Atlas Holdings and will now be operated by Alberta company Millar Western. (Tracey Roberts photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

One of Quesnel’s pulp mills is no longer owned by West Fraser Timber.

The company, founded in Quesnel and still with a number of large-scale operations in the Cariboo city, announced Friday morning that the plant had been sold to Atlas Holdings and would henceforth be operated by Alberta-based Millar Western Forest Products.

“This transaction makes great sense for both companies and signals the start of a new chapter for Quesnel River Pulp,” West Fraser’s senior vice-president for Western Canada, Keith Carter, told The Observer. “Millar Western is a well-established pulp producer, with decades of leadership in the industry. As part of a larger pulp-focused company, we expect the people at the mill to have a bright future. For our team at West Fraser, we gain a solid commercial partner as part of the fibre supply chain in the region.”

The agreement includes a long-term fibre supply agreement for the Quesnel River Pulp facility and related woodlands operations and timber holdings in Alberta.

A second West Fraser pulp mill, that one based in Slave Lake, Alberta, was also sold at the same time to Atlas Holdings.

The combined total cash proceeds from the sale were said by West Fraser Timber to be US$120-million.

“We believe this transaction provides these two great assets and teams a strong strategic future while allowing West Fraser to focus our resources on our objective to be the premier wood building products company in North America,” said Ray Ferris, West Fraser’s president and CEO. “Atlas Holdings and Millar Western bring deep experience in the pulp sector, and we look forward to continuing to work together as a key fibre supplier to Quesnel River Pulp.”

David Anderson, CEO of Millar Western, said “This transaction will provide the dedicated and skilled teams at Quesnel River and Slave Lake with a solid future. Our team intends to continue investing in these high-quality mills and we look forward to collectively strengthening our product offerings and value proposition to the global BCTMP (Bleached Chemical Thermo-Mechanical Pulp) marketplace.”

The two companies jointly said the transaction is anticipated to close following successful completion of customary regulatory reviews and satisfaction of customary closing conditions. West Fraser will provide a further update during its third quarter results conference call.