Sale of Resolute Forest Products: the latest in a long line of loss of control

The sale of Resolute Forest Products – formerly Abitibi-Price – is just the latest in a long line of large Quebec forest companies recently acquired by interests outside the province.

In early February this year, Eacom Timber Corporation sold its nine mills and sawmills in Quebec and Ontario to Interfor Corporation of British Columbia. The Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company will have paid US$490 million to acquire properties from Eacom, including the former Domtar sawmills in Val-d’Or and Matagami, acquired in 2010.

Domtar last year

Domtar, another century-old Quebec paper company — dating back to 1848 — was sold last year for $3 billion to Paper Excellence, the same company that just acquired Resolute. Let’s remember, this company is owned by a wealthy Indonesian (Jackson Widjaja).

Finally, in the same year (2021), Green First, also from British Columbia, bought a series of seven sawmills and newsprint mills in Quebec and Ontario from the hands of the American Rayonier Advanced Material for M$267.

These facilities had been acquired by Rayonier just four years earlier (2017) in a transaction to acquire the majority of Tembec’s assets. This forest company was founded in 1973 in Temiscaming, Quebec.

EACOM TIMBER CORPORATION

  • Employees: 600
  • sold in 2022
  • Price: $490 million
  • Acquirer: Interfor Corporation
  • Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia

DOMTAR

  • Employees: 6400, including 1235 in Quebec
  • sold in 2021
  • Price: $3 billion
  • Buyer: Paper Excellence
  • Headquarters: Richmond, British Columbia

TEMBEC

  • Employees: 3,000 including 1,500 in Quebec
  • sold in 2017
  • Price: $807 million
  • Buyer: Rayonier Advanced Materials
  • Headquarters: Jacksonville, Florida, USA

what they said

“We need a guarantee from the government that the company will honor these commitments, that is, investing $100 million over the next 10 years, that also means making a modernization plan in 2023. That’s what we fought for. »

– Sylvain Gaudreault, MP for Jonquière, PQ

“We note the transaction and the buyer’s intention to invest in Gatineau. However, we are still in the dark about the future of the Amos and Baie-
Comeau, still closed. We will wait to learn more about their intentions before giving thought to this transaction. »

– Daniel Cloutier, director of Unifor in Quebec

“I don’t know anyone who would buy a company at that price with the intention of later reselling it as parts. […] After 200 years another page of history opens […] and a new era of transformation is dawning. »

– Jean-François Samray, CEO of the Quebec Forest Industry Council

“We are encouraged that Paper Excellence comes from the forest industry and appears to have a long-term perspective. On the other hand, it raises concerns among workers. This is normal because we don’t really know them yet; we do not know their intentions. Only time will allow us to judge. »

– Kevin Gagnon, Vice President of the CSN Manufacturing Industry Federation

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