Cross-party talks held on future of Arjo Stoneywood mill

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Tuesday 22 January 2019

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Politicians, union leaders and managers have met to discuss the future of Arjowiggins’ Stoneywood mill, after it was placed into administration last week alongside Arjowiggins’ other UK operations.

arjowiggins-conqueror-watermark

Stoneywood produces Arjowiggins' watermarked flagship Conqueror brand

Local newspaper The Press and Journal said the cross-party meeting was called on Friday (18 January) to discuss ways to support nearly 500 workers whose employment at the plant is now under threat.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “very concerned” about the mill and will look at setting up a taskforce in order to safeguard jobs and find a buyer.

Aberdeen Donside MSP Mark McDonald added: “Today’s meeting was an important demonstration of the strong and united approach being taken by local politicians, management and unions to ensure that the very clear and resounding message goes out that Stoneywood mill has a positive future and that everyone is focused on securing a buyer to safeguard that.”

Stoneywood mill manager Angus MacSween welcomed the cross-party support in “a difficult time for all employees and our families”.

“The city is behind us and we are committed to securing a buyer for the business in the coming weeks,” he said.

Unite union regional officer Tommy Campbell described the meeting as “positive” and said the union is “pleased that everyone concerned is working together to secure a long-term future for the paper mill”.

Around 500 people are employed at the Stoneywood mill, which is more than 300 years old and is the last remaining paper mill in Aberdeen.

The mill is operated by Arjowiggins Fine Papers, which also operates a distribution depot in Basingstoke and was placed into administration last week alongside Arjowiggins Chartham, Performance Papers, Arjobex and the Wiggins Teape Group.

The UK companies are part of the Creative Papers division within French parent company Sequana.

The administrations of the UK businesses followed the opening earlier this month of receivership proceedings for some of Arjowiggins’ French subsidiaries by the Commercial Court of Nanterre.

This came after the group’s planned €125m (£110m) deal to sell Arjowiggins’ €528m-turnover Graphic and Creative Papers businesses to Dutch firm Fineska fell through after the buyer pulled out due to deteriorating market conditions.

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