Paper company expands operations in US

A Chinese paper company is using its investments in American properties that employ more than 1,000 as part of its global expansion strategy.

Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Ltd, the largest container board producer in China, which operates three pulp and paper mills in the US and plans to open a fourth this summer, was honored by the Maine International Trade Center with its Foreign Direct Investment of the Year award Tuesday.

“They are one of the largest players (in China) and one of the largest — three or four (paper) companies — in the world,” said William Moore of Moore & Associates, an Atlanta-based paper recycling consulting firm. He added that Nine Dragons is a publicly traded company with a stock listing on the Hong Kong exchange.

ND Paper, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nine Dragons Paper Holdings, officially began in June 2018 with the purchase of North American pulp/paper mills in Rumford, Maine, and Biron, Wisconsin. The company later acquired a mill in Fairmount, West Virginia, according to Brian Boland, vice-president of government affairs and corporate initiatives at the company.

“Nine Dragons has aspirations to be a global company, and [the investments help] us to expand into a stable and mature market,” Boland said. The American investments also enable the company to diversify its supply chain, he added.

Last fall the company announced $300 million in strategic investments in the Maine and Wisconsin mills. Shortly after that, ND Paper unveiled the purchase of a shuttered mill in Old Town, Maine, that is expected to reopen this summer.

Boland said the company employs about 650 at the Rumford mill, 350 in Wisconsin and 130 when the Old Town mill resumes operations.

“We appreciate the investment by Nine Dragon Paper in Rumford and Old Town. We look forward to a long-term partnership that supports and grows the forest products industry and its workers,” said Heather Johnson, commissioner of the Maine Economic and Community Development department.

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