As papers wilt, a newsprint maker goes bust

TORONTO (AP) — The newsprint manufacturer White Birch Paper Company has filed for bankruptcy protection, citing declining demand for newspapers and the strength of the Canadian dollar.
The company's United States unit filed a
Chapter 11 petition in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday. It listed assets of $100 million to $500 million and debt of $500 million to $1 billion in the court documents. The parent company filed its papers in Quebec, under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, in an attempt, it says, to preserve the value of its business and improve its capital structure.
The company, one of the largest newsprint manufacturers in North America, is seeking approval in Canada and the United States for 140 million Canadian dollars ($132 million) in financing while in bankruptcy that it has already secured from lenders.
The company operates one pulp and paper mill in Ashland, Va., and three in Quebec. It said it expected to continue operations as usual while it restructures under creditor protection. The filing comes at the culmination of a year of poor economic conditions that have significantly hurt the newspaper industry.
Fraser Papers of Toronto sought bankruptcy court protection in June, blaming weakness in the pulp and lumber markets and a cash shortfall. The paper producer AbitibiBowater is also insolvent.

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