Uncertainty for the future of the Témiscaming plant: RYAM suspends its activities

Photo by P199 - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5

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RYAM (Rayonier Advanced Materials) announced today the indefinite suspension of activities at its high-purity cellulose (HPC) plant in Témiscaming, effective July 2, 2024.

This decision, which has major consequences for local employment, is part of a difficult market context and a strategic restructuring for the company.

RYAM explains its decision by several unfavorable factors that have been affecting the Témiscaming plant for several months. The persistent weakness of the high-purity cellulose market, combined with uncertainty about the availability of affordable wood fiber and high operating costs, have undermined the profitability of the plant.

Faced with these challenges, RYAM has opted for an indefinite suspension of activities at the Témiscaming plant. This decision, although difficult, aims to improve the overall profitability of the company and strengthen its long-term financial position. The shutdown of operations will reduce the plant's ongoing operating losses and generate consolidated free cash flow for RYAM.

The suspension of activities at the Témiscaming plant will have significant consequences for the site's employees. Approximately 275 people will be affected by layoffs. RYAM has committed to supporting the affected employees through this difficult transition, in compliance with the collective agreement, the company's values and applicable laws.

The suspension of activities does not necessarily mean the permanent closure of the Témiscaming plant. RYAM leaves the door open to a possible resumption of activities if market conditions improve. However, the future of the site seems uncertain in the short term.

The decision to suspend the Témiscaming plant is part of a broader strategic restructuring for RYAM. The company has already announced the sale of its paperboard and high-yield pulp operations located near Témiscaming. These asset divestitures aim to refocus RYAM on its most profitable activities and reduce its debt.

The suspension of the high-purity cellulose plant in Témiscaming by Rayonier Advanced Materials is a major event that will have significant repercussions on the region and the Quebec forestry industry. This decision highlights the challenges facing the sector and underscores the need for strategic adaptation to ensure its sustainability.