Paper manufacturer Pixelle finalizes deal on two mills

York County’s Pixelle Specialty Solutions is poised to become the largest specialty paper manufacturer in North America after completing the acquisition of paper mills in New England and the Midwest.

The Spring Grove-based paper producer will take over operations of paper mills in Jay, Maine, and Stevens Point, Wisconsin, from Verso Corp. Verso has its headquarters in Miamisburg, Ohio, and operates paper mills around the country. Financial details of the acquisition were not released.

Pixelle already manufactures more than a million tons annually in specialty paper products at its mills in Spring Grove and Chillicothe, Ohio, company officials said. The addition of the two new plants puts it at the top of manufacturers for products such as food packaging papers, inkjet papers and thermal labels.

Glatfelter’s former Spring Grove plant, which was sold along with its specialty papers division to Pixelle in 2018. PHOTO/FILE

“Customers now have access to the specialty papers industry’s largest assembly of technical expertise, product knowledge, skilled labor and production capabilities,” said Timothy Hess, Pixelle’s CEO. “At this industry-leading scale, we can provide customers with advanced capabilities such as barrier coatings, customized coating technologies, release and casting chemistries, inkjet innovations, document security, and short-run custom colors.”

Credit Suisse and Citizens Bank served as financial advisers, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore of New York served as legal adviser to Pixelle on the deal.

The acquisition of the two new paper mills brings together several specialty paper brands under the Pixelle banner, including Aspect release liners and pressure sensitive face papers, Exhere casting and release papers and Defensa security papers.

Pixelle was formed in 2018 by Lindsay Goldberg, a private New York investment firm, which bought York-based Glatfelter’s specialty paper division for $323 million and officially took over operations in October of 2018. Pixelle was the name of a copier-paper line manufactured by the former Glatfelter division.

Besides the four paper mills that collectively have 12 paper machines, Pixelle operates a converting facility in Fremont, Ohio and wood sourcing operations in Delmar, Md., Piketon, Ohio and Washington, W.Va.

The news of the acquisition comes on the heels of management moved done by Pixelle in January. Hess who had been serving as the company’s president since its creation in 2018, was promoted to CEO on Jan. 6 where he continues to report to Steven J. Klinger, Pixelle’s executive chairman.

Hess previously served as Glatfelter’s senior vice president in its specialty paper business unit. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a master’s degree from the Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Tech.

A week after Hess’s promotion, John P. Jacunski was named as Pixelle’s senior vice president at CFO. Jacunski previously served as senior vice president and CFO of Glatfelter. He has a bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University.