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Domtar breaks ground on $300 million renovation in Kingsport, Tennessee

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (From news reports) -- Domtar held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for its $300 million renovation and expansion of the Kingsport mill.

The event was held at Cloud Park with numerous state and local officials and several Domtar executives, including President and CEO John Williams.

"This is an exciting day for the Kingsport mill and for Domtar, and we are glad to celebrate it in the company of many of those who are making this transformation possible," said Williams. "The kind of collaborative spirit we've seen among city, county and state partners here in Northeast Tennessee is what allows successful, long-term business partnerships to flourish."

In order to keep up with changes in the market, Domtar announced last fall it would be converting its Kingsport plant from manufacturing office paper to containerboard. The company has demolished many buildings and structures on its grounds and is poised to begin construction.

The paper-to-containerboard mill transformation is a three-year, $300-million investment, with the mill expected to come online during the first quarter of 2023 -- the year that marks Domtar's 175th anniversary.

Once complete, the mill will house the second-largest containerboard recycling machine in North America, with the capacity to produce approximately 600,000 tons per year.

"In Kingsport, (the mill) can be the go-to supplier to more than 60 independent box makers in the region. That represents 8 million tons of demand for containerboard," Williams said. "We're perfectly placed right in the heart of our potential marketplace.

"This endeavor is a perfect example of what could happen when we work together to achieve the best outcome for everyone involved."

During Friday's groundbreaking event, mill manager Troy Wilson presented Mayor Pat Shull with a $500,000 check -- a donation that will support the relocation of the Scott Adams Memorial Skate Park.

The skate park's move is part of a land swap agreement between Domtar and Kingsport that included the exchange of the 40-acre Cement Hill property for Cloud Park, which will be developed into a receiving area and scales for trucks delivering recyclable cardboard.

Domtar announced on Tuesday that Paper Excellence -- a Canadian-based pulp and paper company -- had agreed to acquire the company in a $3 billion cash deal.

"(Domtar) will operate as a standalone business entity within the Paper Excellence family and will continue to be led by its current management team," Williams told those in attendance on Friday. "We plan to retain all of our corporate and production locations."

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