Georgia-Pacific in Talladega

The Georgia-Pacific plant in Talladega before it closed in 2008. The company announced last year it was reopening the plant, which was renovated to make different products than it had previously.

TALLADEGA -- It would seem some changes are afoot at Georgia-Pacific, but the Talladega facility will continue to operate as it is now for the foreseeable future, according to a company spokesman.

A story published in Business Alabama, citing a report published earlier this week by PR Watch, said the company “announced a retreat from its commercial paper, particle board and wood products business … (while) renew(ing) its focus on bath tissue.” 

Alabama tends to benefit from this process, while plants in Louisiana will be hit the hardest, according to the article.

G-P spokesman Rick Kimble told The Daily Home on Thursday the impact on the Talladega plant specifically would be “none. We are still very focused on our business products.” 

The Talladega plant is strongly market-based, and the market remains strong, he said.

“There have been closures, but Talladega is one of the newest and strongest plants we have; it’s state-of-the-art,” he said. “The article kind of makes things look more negative than they actually are.”

Greater Talladega and Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jason Daves said Thursday he had not seen the article, but said he kept in touch with the plant and had a company representative on his board. 

“If there was going to be bad news, I would probably know about it,” he said. “I’m not worried.”

In a press release from January, the company announced it was “exiting the communication papers business following an assessment of its long-term competitive position in a declining market. 

“As a result, the company will permanently shut down the communication papers machines, related converting asset, as well as the wood yard, pulp mill and a significant portion of (the) energy complex at its Port Hudson, Louisiana, facility. Approximately 650 jobs at the facility will ultimately be impacted by the … closures. About 40 business and sales jobs will be affected by this decision.”

A more recent release, from early June, announced the company was shutting down bleached board operations at a plant in Arkansas starting in October. About 530 plant jobs and 25 business and sales jobs will be impacted, but operations related to consumer tissue and towel businesses at the plant will continue.

The “bleached board business, including supply to the Dixie business, will be supported from the Naheola and Brewton, Alabama, mills, and the St. Mary’s, Georgia, extrusion facility,” according to the more recent release.

Neither release specifically mentions the Talladega plant, which reopened last year after being shuttered for more than a decade. The plant had originally been a pulp mill operation, but before reopening was renovated and retrofitted for plywood.