Sale of Resolute Forest Products: the latest in a long series of loss of control

Sale of Resolute Forest Products: the latest in a long series of loss of control

The sale of Resolute Forest Products, formerly Abitibi-Price, is just the latest in a long line of major Quebec forestry companies recently acquired by interests outside the province.

Earlier this past February, Eacom Timber Corporation sold its nine mills and sawmills in Quebec and Ontario to the Interfor Corporation of British Columbia. The Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company will have paid $490 million to acquire Eacom’s properties, including the former Domtar sawmills in Val-d’Or and Matagami, acquired in 2010.

Taming last year

Domtar, another hundred-year-old paper company from Quebec – its foundation dates back to 1848 – was sold last year for $3 billion to Paper Excellence, the same company that Resolute just acquired. This company, let’s remember, is owned by a rich Indonesian (Jackson Widjaja).

Finally, in the same year (2021), Green First, also from British Columbia, bought a chain of seven sawmills and newsprint mills in Quebec and Ontario from US-based Rayonier Advanced Material, for $267 million.

These facilities had been acquired by Rayonier, just four years earlier (2017), as part of a transaction to acquire most of Tembec’s assets. This forestry company was founded in 1973 in Temiscaming, Quebec.

EACOM WOOD CORPORATION

  • Employees: 600
  • Sold in 2022
  • Price: $490 million
  • Acquirer: Interfor Corporation
  • Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia

DOMTAR

  • Employees: 6,400, including 1,235 in Quebec
  • Sold in 2021
  • Price: US$3 billion
  • Buyer: Paper Excellence
  • Headquarters: Richmond, British Columbia

TEMBEC

  • Employees: 3,000, including 1,500 in Quebec
  • Sold in 2017
  • Price: $807 million
  • Buyer: Rayonier Advanced Materials
  • Headquarters: Jacksonville, Florida, USA

what they say

“We have to have a guarantee from the government that the company will respect these commitments, that is, investments of $100 million for the next 10 years, that also means producing, in 2023, a modernization plan. We fight for it. »

– Sylvain Gaudreault, MP for Jonquière, PQ

“We take note of the transaction and of the buyer’s intention to make investments in Gatineau. However, we are still in the dark regarding the future of Amos and Baie-
Comeau, still closed. We will wait to know more about your intentions before thinking anything about this transaction. »

– Daniel Cloutier, director of Unifor in Quebec

“I don’t know anyone who would buy a business at that price with the intention of reselling it later for parts. […] After 200 years, another page of history opens […] and a new era of transformation is dawning. »

– Jean-François Samray, executive director of the Quebec Forestry Industry Council

“We are encouraged that Paper Excellence comes from the forestry industry and appears to have a long-term vision. On the other hand, it generates concern among workers. This is normal, because we don’t really know them yet; we do not know their intentions. Only time will allow us to judge. »

– Kevin Gagnon, Vice President of the Federation of the CSN Manufacturing Industry

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