An action group containing some of the nation’s top business brains has been assembled to secure the future of a closure-threatened Aberdeen paper mill.
Arjowiggins’ Stoneywood Mill was opened in 1770 and has a turnover of £120million, but its 500 jobs have been left hanging in the balance after parent company Sequana went into administration earlier this month.
It is one of the last remaining paper mills in the north-east.
A “common purpose group” has now been established, led by the country’s main economic development agency Scottish Enterprise and involving the mill’s management team, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City councils, Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, development group Opportunity North East and the union Unite.
The team will work to find ways of securing a “long term future” for the struggling business by offering new training and attracting the investment required to find ways for it to diversify.
Arjowiggins UK companies entering administration
- Arjowiggins Fine Papers Limited – Aberdeen (489 staff) and Basingstoke, Hampshire (29 staff)
- Argowiggins Chartham Limited – Chartham, Kent (90 staff)
- Arjobex Limited – Clacton-on-Sea, Essex (48 staff)
- Performance Papers Limited – Manchester (11 staff)
- The Wiggins Teape Group Limited – Manchester (seven staff)
Aberdeen Donside MSP, Mark McDonald, said: “I hope that this will help spearhead efforts to secure a buyer for the business.
“It is encouraging to see how much support there is for the continued success of this local business.
“Stoneywood Paper Mill has operated for 249 years, and my hope is that ongoing efforts can safeguard its future for at least another 249 years.”
Mr McDonald added that early studies have already shown that the mill is “sustainable, profitable and an attractive investment for potential buyers”.
“I have the utmost confidence that continued support will secure a future for the mill”, he said.
A Scottish Enterprise spokesman said: “We are committed to working closely with all partners and the company to achieve the best possible outcome for Arjowiggins employees.”
Colin Clark, Conservative MP for Gordon, added: “I visited the mill and the site is fully operational, and the business is in good health.
“This is a viable business with a focused management team who, along with the administrator, should be unencumbered to conclude a sale of the business .”
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Unite regional representative, Tommy Campbell said: “We will play an active role within the group.
“It’s through all organisations working together that we can hopefully secure the long term future of all the jobs within the paper mill , and all those jobs outwith the paper mill that are dependent upon work connected with it.”