Cascades Inc (TSE:CAS) Sonoco invests in new coating technology for recyclable and compostable take-out containers

Packaging manufacturers Cascades Inc (TSE:CAS) and Sonoco Products Company announced on Friday that their joint venture is investing millions of dollars in new water-based coating technology.

Cascades Sonoco will invest approximately US$16m in the expansion of its existing facility in Birmingham, Alabama to produce coated paper and paperboard substrates using the FlexShield, FluteSHIELD and SurfSHIELD coatings.

TSE:CAS Cascades Sonoco coating technology

Cascades Inc (TSE:CAS) Sonoco invests in new coating technology for recyclable and compostable take-out containers

These new functional and barrier coatings are designed to replace the standard LDPE coating used in take-out container folding carton applications, as well as wax replacement technology for the corrugated industry. According to Cascades Sonoco, they allow the creation of containers that are recyclable, repulpable and compostable.

"This investment represents a significant geographic expansion for water-based products by Cascades Sonoco, especially in the fast-growing Southeastern United States ," commented Rodger Fuller, senior vice-president of Sonoco's Paper & Engineered Carriers, U.S. & Canada, and Display & Packaging. "With this exciting addition to its product portfolio, Cascades Sonoco remains dedicated to maintain its market leadership position in protective roll packaging for the paper industry."

Luc Langevin, president and chief operating officer of Cascades Specialty Products Group, said that the support of the Birmingham Business Alliance and the company's partners influenced its decision to invest in the region.

"This strategic investment certainly helps Cascades Sonoco expand its product offerings into high-growth consumer-oriented markets," he added.

Expansion of the Birmingham facility and installation of the new equipment is planned to begin early this year, with start-up expected in the second quarter of 2018.

Once at full capacity, the new water-based coating line will have the capacity to produce 40,000 to 50,000 tons of sustainable coated materials annually.

Cascades Inc. (TSE:CAS) is a Canadian company that produces, converts and markets packaging and tissue products consisting of recycled fibers. The Company operates through four segments: Containerboard, Boxboard Europe, Specialty Products (which constitutes the Company's Packaging Products) and Tissue Papers. More from Reuters »

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Canada Stockwatch – Cascades Announces $26m Green Investment

Canada Stockwatch – Green packaging and paper products manufacturer Cascades, Inc. (TSE:CAS, Mkt cap 687.00M, P/E – , Div/yield 0.04/2.19, EPS -0.68, Shares 94.24M) has announced plans to spend $26 million on new technology at its Norampac – Cabano facility, which it believes will improve efficiency and make existing jobs more secure.

Canada Stockwatch Cascades Announces Green Investment

Canada Stockwatch – Cascades Announces $26m Green Investment

The new process, which is used to extract hemicellulose, a cellulosic sugar with high value-added potential, from wood chips, is said to be a Canadian first.

The innovative project marks a major advance in biorefinery development in the country, the Kingsey Falls-based firm said in a statement.

Cascades added that the project will be supported by a $10 million investment from Natural Resources Canada’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program and an additional $4.4 million from the Québec Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs.

The new process is said to be more environmentally friendly and economical, replacing the use of chemical products which would otherwise have to be purchased, shipped and disposed of responsibly.

Mario Plourde, president and CEO of Cascades, said the announcement proves the company is dedicated to sustainable development, adding: “This new process will enable improvements in the efficiency and competitiveness of our Cabano plant’s current corrugated paper production process, thus making existing jobs more secure.”

Greg Rickford, federal Minister of Natural Resources, claimed that the investment is also a further example of how the Canadian government is helping the forest industry “bring innovative, high-value products to the marketplace, increasing Canada’s global competitiveness and protecting jobs in the local community.”

Canada Stockwatch – Cascades’ net income grew year over year last quarter from a loss of $0.50 per share to break-even.

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Canada Stockwatch – Cascades Reveals Cost Of Transition Process

Canada Stockwatch – Green packaging and paper products manufacturer Cascades, Inc. (TSE:CAS, Mkt cap 673.67M, P/E – , Div/yield 0.04/2.24, EPS -0.64, Shares 94.22M) has reported a $47-million net loss for the fourth quarter, with the figure driven down by a number of expenses such as asset write-downs and a loss on discontinued operations.

Canada Stockwatch Cascades Cost Transition Process

Canada Stockwatch – Cascades Reveals Cost Of Transition Process

As The Canadian Press reports, factoring out those items, Cascades had $8 million of net earnings, which is a drop from $18 million a year earlier.

However, the Quebec-based firm is likely to be buoyed by its sales, which rose to $879 million from $844 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Mario Plourde, Cascades’ president and chief executive officer, admitted that the year ended on a “weaker note”, but attributed 2014’s shortcomings to “strategic repositioning,” pointing out a number of initiatives which were completed in the 12 month-period that are expected to drive the company forward.

He added: “These decisions, while having a negative impact on our financial results for the year, are now behind us and we can now expect improved results going forward.”

The fourth quarter alone saw the sale of part of its container business, the startup of a new tissue paper machine in Oregon and the introduction of a new tissue converting line at a plant in North Carolina.

Cascades announced on Friday (March 13) that it will continue to buy back shares from the public market. Since March 1, 2014, it has bought 77,400 common shares at an average cost of $5.93. The new buyback program enables the company to acquire up to 942,194 shares over the next year.

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Cascades Announces $44.9m Sale Of Assets

 Cascades, Inc. to sell its Norampac division to Graphic Packaging

Green packaging and tissue paper manufacturer Cascades, Inc. (TSE:CAS, Mkt cap 624.62M, P/E – , Div/yield 0.04/2.41, EPS -0.64, Shares 94.07M, Beta 1.06) has reached an agreement with U.S.-based Graphic Packaging Holding Company for the sale of its North American boxboard manufacturing and converting assets.

Cascades Announces Sale AssetsNorthumberland News reports that Graphic Packaging will pay Cascades $44.9 million for five facilities, including a plant in Cobourg, Ontario.

Alongside the Cobourg location, the transaction includes the sale of two mills in Quebec, a plant in Mississauga and a plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Cascades says the shedding of its Norampac division is a strategic decision, as it tries to figure out which direction to go in.

Cascades' vice-president of communications and public affairs Hugo D'Amours told Northumberland News that he expects the transfer of the facilities, which employ approximately 670 workers, to occur sometime in the first quarter of 2015.

"I think it's well positioned and obviously I can't speak on behalf of Graphic Packaging, but I certainly believe that if they are investing that amount of money to acquire those units, it's probably because they have plans for them," he explained.

Norampac president and CEO Marc-André Dépin thanked the employees for their services, suggesting that their input has allowed the firm to move forward.

"The investments made in past years in these boxboard manufacturing and converting units have led to an opportunity to create synergies with a player such as Graphic Packaging," he said. "By exiting this sector of activity in North America, Cascades and Norampac are turning a page in their history."

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Stockwatch – Cascades Says $13m Printing Press Investment Signals Growth

Stockwatch – Cascades has installed Mitsubishi Evol-100 presses in two plants

Stockwatch – Green packaging and paper products manufacturer Cascades, Inc. (TSE:CAS, Mkt cap 620.13M, P/E – , Div/yield 0.04/2.43, EPS -0.64, Shares 94.10M) has acquired and installed two new printing presses at its Quebec plants in Vaudreuil and Drummondville at a cost of nearly $13 million. The facilities are operated by its Norampac Inc. division.

Stockwatch Cascades Mitsubishi Evol-100 presses two plants

Stockwatch – Cascades has installed Mitsubishi Evol-100 presses in two plants

The Kingsey Falls-based firm says the move has been taken to modernize Norampac’s and Cascades’ assets and it’s hoped the new state-of-the-art equipment will increase its output and efficiency.

In a statement, Cascades outlined how it will be installing Evol-100 presses, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., at its Vaudreuil and Drummondville plants in Quebec that make corrugated packaging.

Norampac vice-president and chief operating officer Charles Malo highlighted how similar investments were made at several of the company’s corrugated converting plants in Ontario, which led to a significant boost in production levels.

“We believe that the investments in Quebec will have the same positive spin-offs, allowing us to respond more quickly to our customers’ needs, offer packaging products of greater quality, and increase our productivity,” Malo said.

The new press at the Vaudreuil plant has been up and running since September 2014, according to Cascades, while the press at the Drummondville plant was commissioned at the beginning of November.

Cascades’ executive board chair, Alain Lemaire, says the business will continue to grow in Quebec, as it will in the rest of North America. He added that it plans on increasing market share “by focusing on strategic sectors as a means of keeping the company on track as we move forward”.

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Stockwatch – Cascades Completes $1m Green Energy Development

Stockwatch – Packaging and tissue products maker Cascades, Inc. (TSE:CAS, Mkt cap 600.65M, P/E – , Div/yield 0.04/2.51, EPS -0.33, Shares 94.15M) has teamed up with solar thermal firm Rackam to build a solar park in southern Quebec in an effort to further integrate green energy into its business.

Stockwatch Cascades solar thermal firm Rackam solar park Quebec

Stockwatch – Cascades has teamed up with solar thermal firm Rackam to build a solar park in Quebec.

The Alain-Lemaire Solar Park will supply energy to Cascades’ units in Kingsey Falls, with the energy produced from the facility used to produce hot water required for operations at the industrial complex.

Cascades says the project is the first in the pulp and paper industry and the only facility of its kind in Canada, which Rackam said is “proof of Cascades’ leadership and innovative spirit”.

The concentrated solar polar system will heat more than 87 million litres of pressurized water, saving 139,700 cubic metres of natural gas annually and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 265 equivalent tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, or 5,300 tonnes of over 20 years.

Rackam, which called the results “extremely satisfying”, says the deployment of roughly 1,490 square metres of mirrors will produce one megawatt-hour per year.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand praised the project, which cost just over $1 million, saying the development fits in nicely with the Quebec government’s vision for green energy.

“We are making significant efforts to support the development of new sources of clean energy, and to encourage the business community to employ these innovative energy-producing technologies,” he added.

Financing for the project partly came from a $463,500 grant from Quebec’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources through the former Energy Innovation Assistance Program, now part of the Technoclimat Program.

Energy company Gaz Metro also contributed $76,000 through its innovation program.

Stockwatch – during the past three years, Cascades’ earnings have declined by an average of 22.80% annually. However, this is comparable to the industry average growth of 22.80%. For fiscal years 2014 and 2015, analysts are estimating Cascades Inc earnings to hit $0.37 in 2014 and $0.72 in 2015.

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Fire Forces Cascades to Temporarily Cease Production at Two of Its Mills

A fire at the Greenpac Mill facilities in Niagara Falls forced Cascades, Inc. (TSE:CAS, Mkt cap 576.17M, P/E – , Div/yield 0.04/2.61, EPS -0.33, Shares 94.15M) to temporarily shut down its Greenpac and Norampac Niagara Falls containerboard mills.

Stockwatch Cascades Greenpac Norampac Niagara Falls start shipping fire

Stockwatch – Cascades – Greenpac and Norampac Niagara Falls start shipping again after fire incident.

News station WGRZ said the fire started about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and was still burning some 48 hours later.

WGRZ report that the fire ignited when roughly 50 cardboard bales of paper, each measuring about 8′ x 4′ x 6′, caught alight. The cause for concern was underlined by the sheer number of firefighters at the scene, with fire companies from across Niagara County and its neighboring communities all in attendance.

Cascades say both mills were swiftly evacuated, ensuring no personnel were injured. The Quebec-based packaging firm said that damage to the Greenpac Mill is limited to the old corrugated containers stock (OCC) pile and the OCC conveyor. Damage to the Norampac Niagara Falls mill, however, is more extensive, but is limited to the OCC stock pile, pulper and stock preparation.

As of today, operations have resumed partially at the Greenpac and Niagara Falls mills. Both mills have begun shipping finished products manufactured prior to the fire. Production equipment at the Greenpac mill was not damaged during the fire and the mill is expected to resume normal production within next 48 hours.

Start–up of the Norampac mill will not be determined until damage to the stock preparation equipment is fully assessed. Employees of both mills are now back to work to help out with various tasks in preparation for start-up.

Norampac and Greenpac Mill produce different types of containerboard that is used in the production of corrugated boxes. Norampac, a division of Cascades, manufactures 100% recycled medium and employees 137 people. The Greenpac Mill is a brand new “state-of-the-art” factory that manufactures 100% recycled linerboard. Greenpac Mill, which started its production last year, has 118 employees and is owned at 59% by Cascades, alongside three other partners.

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Stockwatch – Cascades To Open A New Tissue Converting Facility In North Carolina

Stockwatch – Cascades will extend the scope of its converting activities in Southeastern United States as part of its growth strategy.

Quebec-based manufacturer of green packaging and tissue paper products, Cascades, Inc. (TSE:CAS, Mkt cap 591.24M, P/E – , Div/yield 0.04/2.55, EPS -0.33, Shares 94.15M) has announced the installation of a new US$55 million tissue converting facility located in Wagram, North Carolina.

Stockwatch Cascades tissue converting facility Wagram North Carolina

Stockwatch – Cascades to open tissue converting facility in Wagram, North Carolina

According to the plans, the plant should begin operation toward the end of 2014. With this move, the company expects to reorganize and further extend the scope of its converting activities in Southeastern United States, as part of its growth strategy.

It announced that the total annual capacity for the new plant to be approximately 10 million cases on six converting lines. The plant will produce a range of tissue products, such as bathroom tissue, paper napkins, kitchen towels and hand towels. The products will be intended both for the away-from-home and consumer products markets.

Suzanne Blanchet, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Cascades Tissue Group, said the installation of the plant in the Southeast – a US market, she says, that is growing at impressive rates – will help optimize the company’s converting platform.

Cascades will be able to relocate the equipment it uses elsewhere, while enjoying the benefit of the most up-to-date equipment, including robotised warehouse management. Such steps will result in enhancing the company’s productivity and logistics, as well as improving customer service, Blanchet believes.

Mario Plourde, president and CEO of Cascades, says that the cutting-edge technology available at the new converting plant will be able to successfully satisfy customers’ growing needs. “Cascades has made clear its intention to prioritize investments in the tissue paper and packaging products sectors,” he added.

Cascades is focused on reducing energy costs. That focus, along with lower raw material prices and product price increases should result in better margins over the next year. As margins improve, we believe that management will take steps to reduce debt. Cascades offers good value for patient investors.

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