MADISON — As Madison Paper Industries’ parent company lays off more than 1,000 employees in Europe, the local paper mill on Main Street continues seemingly unscathed.

Parent company UPM-Kymmene Corp., based in Finland, confirmed Sunday it will permanently close the Albbruck paper mill in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and terminate 508 positions.

UPM, which is one of the largest paper making companies in the world, closed another mill on Dec. 9: the Myllykoski paper mill in Finland, eliminating 375 positions.

On Dec. 14, it shut down a paper machine in Ettringen, Germany, and this month it will restructure overlapping operations in the Ettringen, Plattling and Hürth mills, also in Germany, and cut a total of 78 employees. There are two mills in Plattling.

The sales process of the Stracel paper mill in France, which has 280 workers, is ongoing. In total, the company has stated it anticipates 1,170 people will lose their jobs.

Of the seven mills that UPM bought this summer from Madison Paper’s former parent company, Myllykoski Corp., Madison Paper is the only mill that appears to not face dramatic changes.

UPM acquired Myllykoski for $1.3 billion on Aug. 1.

“Madison plays an important role in our portfolio of assets and complements the business that UPM is having in North America,” Jyrki Ovaska, president of UPM’s Paper Business Group, said in a phone interview from Finland on Monday. “It’s a good geographic fit for us, and it’s a new local mill for us in a new product range.”

Madison Paper is UPM’s only mill in North America that produces supercalendered paper. UPM owns mills in Europe that also produce the glossy paper.

There have been some changes at the Madison mill, such as altering the information technology systems to fit with UPM’s, but “no significant changes or dramatic changes are to be expected, at least in the near term,” Ovaksa said.

The long-term future of Madison Paper, which has 215 employees, will be decided in part by the paper markets and how UPM performs, he said.

“It depends on the development of the markets and the operating environment and, of course, what we are doing internally,” he said. “Madison starts with some strengths, even if it’s a relatively small mill.”

The company’s development will depend on its ability to become more and more cost efficient, he said.

Madison Economic Development Director Joy Hikel was pleased to hear that Madison is still not part of planned cuts. As other paper mills have closed in Maine and the world, Madison Paper has remained, she said.

“I think UPM is a solid company, and solid companies look at performance,” she said.

UPM said in a news release Sunday that discussions between UPM, employee representatives and local authorities did not lead to a solution for continuing operations at the Albbruck paper mill, which produced coated magazine paper. It also could not find a new investor. Employee cuts there will take place Jan. 31.

“UPM Albbruck mill has been making a loss for several years due to the age and relatively small size of the machines and the mill is not cost competitive within UPM asset and global customer portfolio,” Ovaska said in the release. “Unfortunately, it would not have been possible to improve the mill’s profitability to an extent that would have allowed sustainable operations.”

Finland is also reeling from the closure of the Myllykoski paper mill there. The Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported Jan. 9 that the closure came as a shock to residents in the community of about 5,000 and not only meant mass unemployment but the end of paper-making traditions stretching back more than 100 years.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]

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