GEORGIA-PACIFIC TO REBUILD PROSPERITY, S.C. PLYWOOD PLANT
GEORGIA-PACIFIC TO REBUILD PROSPERITY, S.C. PLYWOOD PLANT PROSPERITY, S.C., Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia-Pacific Corp. (NYSE: GP) today announced that it plans to rebuild its Southern Pine plywood plant in Prosperity, S.C. The plant employs 284 workers. On Monday, Jan. 20, 1992, the plant was destroyed in a fire that began in its dryer area. Ray Repko, Prosperity plywood plant manager, told an audience which consisted of Governor Carroll A. Campbell, Jr., state and local officials, Georgia-Pacific employees and neighbors gathered at the Mid-Carolina High School in Prosperity, S.C. that site preparation of the new plant would begin immediately with building erection to begin in seven to eight weeks. The rebuilt plant should begin operation in approximately nine months, Repko estimated. Georgia-Pacific anticipates investing $19 million in re-constructing the plywood facility and its machinery. The destroyed plant had an annual capacity of 230 million square feet of 3/8" plywood. The new facility will have approximately the same capacity. Repko said that some Georgia-Pacific employees would be utilized in rebuilding the facility. "Our senior management hoped it would make sense to rebuild this mill," Repko noted. "There's an encouraging long-term marketing outlook for plywood; we knew we had an excellent workforce in Newberry County; and we have a significant commitment to South Carolina. The decision hinged on the availability of timber supply." "Governor Carroll Campbell, Senator Thomas Pope, and Representatives Dave Waldrop, Jr. and Larry Gentry as well as all state agencies have been as supportive as possible not only of the company, but -- more importantly -- of our co-workers," Repko noted. "The loyalty of our employees and the community support received was an important consideration in our decision to rebuild the Prosperity plant. The Governor's Office, the Newberry County Development Board, the Newberry Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, the Red Cross, community leaders, banks, newspapers, the schools -- everybody cooperated. 'Overwhelming' is the only word to describe the way South Carolina and Newberry County responded. We're all deeply appreciative," Repko said. "Like the phoenix rising from its ashes, this rebuilt plant will symbolize hope for a brighter future in Newberry County, and throughout South Carolina," said Governor Campbell. "Having worked closely with company officials for the last three weeks, I am now more certain than ever that Georgia-Pacific is one of our leading corporate citizens. This company, which generously helped our state recover from Hurricane Hugo, is again demonstrating its remarkably strong commitment to South Carolina." Also representing Georgia-Pacific at the Prosperity meeting were Davis K. Mortensen, Executive Vice President, Building Products; Don Foster, Plywood Group Manager; Dave Fleiner, Vice President, Structural Panels Division; and Jim Haygreen, Timber Manager, Central Group. A major employer in Prosperity and Newberry County, Georgia-Pacific annually invests $12.5 million in payroll and benefits in Prosperity, including nine million dollars of payroll and benefits for the plywood mill. Georgia-Pacific also operates a Southern Pine sawmill at the Prosperity site. The sawmill was untouched by the fire and has continued operations with 100 employees. "While the new plywood mill is under construction, we will continue to accept ply-logs at the mill on a limited basis," says Jim Haygreen, Georgia-Pacific's Timber Manager, Central Group, based in Manning, S.C. "We're placing these logs at other Georgia-Pacific operations in this area in order to keep up log flow for our loggers. Furthermore, our pine sawmill continues to accept logs on its normal five-day a week schedule." The company began studying the feasibility of rebuilding the Prosperity plywood plant as soon as the blaze was extinguished. The fire broke out about 1:30 a.m. on January 20 and burned all day. The preliminary investigation indicates there was an electrical failure in an oil heater in the oil mist system used to lubricate the dryer's fan bearings. Georgia-Pacific is one of the nation's leading integrated manufacturers and distributors of building products, pulp and paper. South Carolina is a significant site for Georgia-Pacific operations. The company invests more than $65 million in annual payroll and benefits for over 2,300 employees in the state. It cultivates almost 275,000 acres of South Carolina timberlands. Sixteen production facilities, four building products distribution centers, and one paper distribution center are operated by Georgia-Pacific in the Palmetto State. Production facilities and distribution centers in South Carolina are operated in Alcolu, Catawba, Charleston, Columbia, Conway, Greenville, Hampton, Holly Hill, McCormick, Russellville, Spartanburg, and Varnville. -0- 2/14/92 /CONTACT: Lynn Klein, Nancy Huffman or Lane Dobbins of Georgia-Pacific Prosperity Mill, 803-364-3510, or Jeff Porter of the Newman Partnership, 803-765-0307, for Georgia-Pacific/ (GP) CO: Georgia-Pacific ST: South Carolina IN: PAP SU:
CM -- CH004 -- 0257 02/14/92 14:06 EST EST electroshock therapy.