The Graphic Flexible Packaging kraft paper mill and bag plant in Jefferson Industrial Park are being sold to Mondi Group of Johannesburg, South Africa, in a $105 million agreement, it was announced Tuesday.
Officials said that it is too early to know if there will be any changes at the Graphic Packaging facilities or with staffing as a result of the sale, expected to close during the summer.
The agreement also includes eight additional Graphic Packaging bag plants located across the United States.
Mondi Group CEO David Hathorn said in a press release that the acquisition of the 10 properties is part of his company’s efforts to strengthen the bag-production sector of its business.
“The combination of these facilities with Mondi’s existing network will create a leading bags player in North America and expand the Mondi Group’s growing global footprint in this market,” Hathorn said in the press release. “We look forward to offering innovative solutions to our enlarged customer base. I am confident that the synergies expected from this acquisition coupled with Mondi’s proven expertise as a leading global kraft paper and industrial bags producer will ensure that the combined business delivers strongly.”
Graphic Packaging Chairman, President and CEO David Scheible said in a press release that the decision to sell the company’s bag operations was based on a desire to focus on strengths.
“The anticipated sale of these non-core assets substantially completes our transformation into a pure play, vertically integrated paperboard packaging company,” Scheible said in the press release. “The divestiture will free up valuable resources, which we can redirect to further accelerate global growth in our core paperboard packaging business.”
The paper mill has been in operation under various owners since the 1950s, including Delta Natural Kraft and Gaylord Container, according to information provided by the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County.
The bag plant was operated by Mid-America Packaging prior to Graphic Packaging.
Kraft paper gets its name from the process that converts wood into a type of wood pulp that is almost pure cellulose fiber. This pulp is then turned into a strong, smooth brown paper, which is used in the manufacture of various types of heavy duty bags.