Paper companies are merger-bound

Michigan State Roundup

Published July 1, 2000  | July 2000 issue

Like other industries, huge consolidations in the paper industry is shifting ownership of some of the largest regional paper companies. In May, International Paper of New York announced its acquisition of Champion International for $7.3 billion. Champion had been a buyout target for UPM-Kymmene of Finland in February of this year, but the European company backed away when International made a better offer.

Among its workforce, Champion employs over 600 people in the Upper Peninsula (U.P) and owns about 600,000 acres of U.P. timberland, along with 70,000 acres in northeast Wisconsin and 7,500 acres in Minnesota. With the merger, Champion is joining the world's largest paper and forest products company, with sales last year of almost $25 billion.

Earlier in the year, Stora Enso Oyj, also a Finnish company, purchased Consolidated Papers Inc. in central Wisconsin for $4.8 billion. It was the first substantial merging of North American and European paper companies and is expected to generate revenue of about $13 billion.