Von Drehle purchases paper machine

Published 12:01 am Saturday, June 7, 2014

NATCHEZ — Company officials with von Drehle announced Friday the purchase of a new paper machine for its Natchez location.

The purchase represents a significant step toward the completion of von Drehle’s announced plans for Natchez, and a company spokesman said the investment is an excellent demonstration of von Drehle’s commitment to supplying quality products at a competitive price for the long-term.

The company purchased the former Mississippi River Pulp in early 2013 — several months after the pulp recycling plant was shuttered — and announced it would resume the pulp recycling operations there and add a paper manufacturing line. The company has committed to investing $80 million.

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At the time the MRP facility was purchased, company officials said they planned to hire between 50 and 60 people in its initial startup, but when a new paper machine was installed more than 100 jobs would be created.

“With von Drehle making this announcement, it is basically them notifying everybody that they are proceeding with their project and letting people know what the paper machine configuration of their products will be across their customer base,” Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said.

“We are truly, truly excited about it.”

The Metso paper machine von Drehle purchased for Natchez has the ability to manufacture paper using conventional and textured methods using virgin or recycled fibers, according to a news release from the company.

Von Drehle specializes in manufacturing what it characterizes as “away-from-home” paper tissue and towel products.

The company said it plans for the newly purchased paper machine to be fully operational in the fourth quarter of 2015.

“We appreciate everything the community has done to date to assist us in making this project a reality,” von Drehle Chief Executive Officer Steve Bergman said. “We are excited and look forward to a long and successful relationship in Natchez.”

The Adams County Board of Supervisors approved last month a request to provide $50,000 worth of dirt as an in-kind match for a $500,000 Mississippi Development Authority grant to construct an access road for the industrial property.