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The Ups and Mostly Downs of Coated Papers by ProQuest


NewPage, based in Miamisburg, Ohio, has announced a new marketing program for its Futura Laser, Sterling Ultra Digital, Productolith Pts. Digital and Blazer Digital coated brands. Michelle Garrett, the company's manager of marketing strategy for digital papers, noted in a written statement: "After almost a year's work of integrating legacy Stora Enso North America and NewPage digital brands, we are proud to present a line-up of products that meet virtually every digital printing need.

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paper trends
        By Jeanette Clinkunbroomer

                           The Ups and Mostly Downs of Coated Papers
                                                                                   deal involved an extra element of         hit by market shifts. The company

     or printers, the market for coated   contain 10 percent postconsumer
     papers has offered the same          fiber. The papers also have are RIT-     convenience for both companies.           went public a year ago, offering 14
     highs and lows as a roller coaster   certified for use with the HP Indigo                                               million shares at $12 per share. In
ride during the past couple of years      and Kodak NexPress.                      Smart Papers will continue to             its fourth-quarter report issued early
in terms of price and availability. As                                             produce its Kromekote and Knight-         this month, Verso saw sales of its
demand drops, so does the price, only     Although NewPage is emphasizing          cote cast-coated paper brands, but        coated paper products decline by 27
to be corrected by slowdowns and          the positive and apparently is seri-     about half of its work force, about       percent over 2008. The company’s
closures among the manufacturers.         ously targeting the digital printing     250 production and administrative         losses totaled $33.56 million for the
And these can make coated hard to         market, the company continues to         employees, will be laid off, according    year, compared to a loss of $8.05
get, even at premium prices.              take what it calls “market-related       to local news reports. The company        million for 2007. Verso has suspend-
                                          downtime” at its mills, and early this   said it will continue to fulfill orders   ed dividend payments for the fourth
These papers have been used most          year planned to reduce production        for its contract buyers, though           quarter, but said it will re-evaluate
often for magazines and advertising       by 150,000 tons of coated papers in      Mohawk will market Smart’s coated         this issue over this year.
collateral materials, two print market    the first quarter. The downtime may      brands through paper distributors
segments that have been declin-           continue as dictated by economic         and merchants.                            “We have prepared ourselves for a
ing due to the increasing shift to        conditions and market demand.                                                      challenging 2009 and have taken
electronic media. In addition, coated                                              Despite the sale, Smart Papers is         appropriate actions, including salary
papers cost more than uncoated,           In February, NewPage reported            going ahead with the opening of its       freezes, SG&A reductions, workforce
and some print buyers have either         a loss of $117 million for 2008,         $30 million co-generation plant, a        planning improvements, and new prod-
rediscovered the virtues of uncoated      compared to a loss of $8 million for     project it launched last year. The        uct opportunities,” said Mike Jackson,
or have moved to less expensive and       2007, although sales increased by        co-generation system will produce         Verso’s president and CEO. “Nonethe-
lighter weight coated groundwood,         101 percent because of acquisitions      40 megawatts of electricity, enough       less, we expect first-quarter 2009
especially for short-lived items like     during the year.       
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