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International Paper to fold local plant, laying off 91

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International Paper Co. plans to close its box plant on the east side of Indianapolis, permanently laying off all 91 employees by July 2, according to a notice to state officials.

The shutdown is the latest in a recent string of layoffs and closures by the global company in its Indiana operations.

Employees at the Indianapolis container plant, 2900 N. Franklin Road, manufacture corrugated and solid fiber boxes. The company said in a notice received Monday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that the job losses are expected to begin June 19. They will include more than 70 employees represented by unions.

The closure was necessary due to a recent merger that duplicated International Paper operations in the Indianapolis area, said Cynthia Godby, a spokesperson for the company.

"That created overcapacity in the market," Godby said. "We did not make this decision lightly. It was in the best interest of our shareholders."

International Paper, based in Memphis, Tenn., acquired industry rival Temple-Inland Inc. in February 2012. The purchase included a box manufacturing plant in the Indianapolis area, making the Franklin Road plant redundant, Godby said.

International Paper is a global manufacturing firm specializing in industrial and consumer packaging, as well as uncoated papers. It employs about 70,000 people worldwide, with locations in more than 20 countries.

The company’s operations in Indiana have been in flux for years. In April 2012, International Paper notified state officials that it was eliminating one shift and 57 employees at its Crawfordsville box plant. And, in 2011, International Paper at least temporarily layed off 78 employees at its Indianapolis packaging plant at 620 S. Belmont Ave. Those operations were spun off in the creation of a new packaging firm, AGI-Shorewood.

In January 2009, the company told state officials that it would close its plant in Hartford City by spring of that year, eliminating 99 jobs.

International Paper owns the Xpedx chain of print shops but has been shedding locations over the past three years. Those included Arvey Paper & Office Products at 1021 Pennsylvania St., which closed in June 2012. It reopened under new management in December.

Shares of International Paper, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange, have risen nearly 40 percent in the last year. They closed at $47.20 on Monday.



 

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