Potential buyer surfaces for Everett Kimberly-Clark mill

EVERETT — Kimberly-Clark Corp. has entered into serious talks with Atlas Holdings LLC to sell its pulp and paper mills, officials said Tuesday.

This summer, the company had warned its 750 workers that unless a buyer is found, it would shut the plants down early next year.

While saying

the announcement doesn’t mean there’s a deal, Kimberly-Clark spokesman Bob Brand said Atlas is a viable buyer “interested in continued operations of the Everett mill.”

He described Atlas as “a strong buyer candidate with extensive acquisition and pulp and paper industry experience.”

“We are pleased by their continued interest in the Everett site and their capability and experience in operations management,” he said.

Brand called the exclusive talks with Atlas a positive step forward but said it doesn’t mean there’s an agreement.

He said there’s no deadline, but he expected Atlas to take a couple weeks to examine the plant and talk with employees, union representatives and others.

“It’s information gathering and sharing at a more extensive level,” Brand said.

He said that since there’s no deal yet, the company will continue to work with local union representatives and employees to prepare for closing the plant,

Efforts to reach an Atlas spokesman for comment were unsuccessful.

The company has operations in North America, Europe and Australia in pulp and paper, packaging, building materials, equipment, energy, steel and industrial services.

Headquartered in Greenwich, Conn., it has 5,000 employees at 10 companies and 60 facilities. It earns $2 billion in annual revenue.

Among its companies is Finch Paper LLC, which produces printing paper at a mill on the Hudson River in New York state’s Adirondack Mountains. It is an integrated pulp and paper operation, just like the Everett mills.

Kimberly-Clark is also a worldwide manufacturer, and it announced some time ago it wanted to move out of the pulp business, which is why the Everett mills are for sale.

The news was unsettling to employees and to members of the community.

Generations of Snohomish County residents have worked at the mills, which are the last vestige of Everett’s heritage.

The city’s waterfront used to be covered with factories that made lumber, paper and other products, earning it the nickname “The City of Smokestacks.”

“It’s part of the community’s heart and soul,” Everett historian David Dilgard said of the K-C stacks, which issue steam these days, not smoke. “It comes from the days when people were proud to have a job that made your hands dirty … where you could make a living.”

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., called the exclusive talks good news for workers and for the city.

“As negotiations progress, I am hopeful that the local workforce will be seen as an asset that contributes to the facility’s growth,” he said. “These are good paying jobs that I want to see in Everett long into the future.”

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson agreed with Larsen.

“We are committed to working with both companies toward a mutually beneficial outcome,” he said. “Our goal is to keep these family wage jobs in our community.”

The mill now owned by Kimberly-Clark was built on Everett’s waterfront in 1931 as Puget Sound Pulp and Timber Co., the mill helped build the city’s reputation as a prime pulp producing center. It became Soundview Pulp Co. in 1935 and was purchased by Scott Paper in 1951. Scott merged with Kimberly-Clark in 1985.

Since the merger, the company has invested about $300 million in the Everett operation, installing major wastewater treatment systems, adding a new effluent outfall and switching its pulp-making system from one based on chlorine to chlorine dioxide, which is considered more environmentally friendly.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said Monday, March 13, 2023. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to acquire Bothell-based Seagen

Pfizer announced Monday it plans to acquire Seagen in an all-cash deal for $43 billion.

Lacie Marsh-Carroll stirs wax before pouring candles in her garage at her home on March 17, 2018 in Lake Stevens. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Women business owners in Snohomish, Island counties make their mark

In honor of Women’s History Month, we spotlight three local business owners.

Edmonds International Women’s Day takes place Saturday

The Edmonds gathering celebrates women and diversity with this year’s theme, “EmbraceEquity.”

Owner and CEO Lacie Carroll holds a “Warr;or” candle at the Malicious Women Candle Co workspace in Snohomish, Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. The business is women run and owned. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Malicious Women Co: She turned Crock-Pot candles into a sassy venture

Lacie Marsh-Carroll is rekindling her Snohomish candle company with new designs and products.

Kelly Matthews, 36, left, Tonka, 6, center, and Nichole Matthews, 36, pose for a photo in their home in Lynnwood, Washington on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023.  The twin sisters work as freelance comic book artists and illustrators. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Drawing interest: Twin sisters never gave up on making their mark

Lynnwood sisters, Kelly and Nichole Matthews, got their big break a decade ago and now draw comics full time.

Willow Mietus, 50, poses for a photo at her home in Coupeville, Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Mietus bought a former Frito-Lay truck to sell her dyed yarn out of. She calls it "The Wool Wagon." (Annie Barker / The Herald)
The Wool Wagon to hit the streets of Whidbey Island

A self-described “professional yarn temptress” from Coupeville is setting up shop in a modified truck.

IonQ will open a new quantum computing manufacturing and research center at 3755 Monte Villa Parkway in Bothell. (Photo courtesy of IonQ)
Quantum computing firm IonQ to open Bothell R&D center

IonQ says quantum computing systems are key to addressing climate change, energy and transportation.

Nathanael Engen, founder of Black Forest Mushrooms, sits in the lobby of Think Tank Cowork with his 9-year-old dog, Bruce Wayne, on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Growing green mushrooms in downtown Everett

The founder of Black Forest Mushrooms plans to grow gourmet mushrooms locally, reducing their carbon footprint.

Barb Lamoureux, 78, poses for a photo at her office at 1904 Wetmore Ave in Everett, Washington on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. Lamoureux, who founded Lamoureux Real Estate in 2004, is retiring after 33 years. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Barb Lamoureux, ‘North Everett’s Real Estate Agent’ retires

A longtime supporter of Housing Hope, Lamoureux helped launch the Windermere Foundation Golf Tournament.

AGC Biologics in Bothell to produce new diabetes treatment

The contract drug manufacturer paired with drug developer Provention Bio to bring the new therapy to market.

Funko mascots Freddy Funko roll past on a conveyor belt in the Pop! Factory of the company's new flagship store on Aug. 18, 2017.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Dumpko? $30M worth of Funko Pop! collectibles destined for landfill

The Everett toy maker has too much inventory, making it cheaper to toss the figurines than sell them.

A Value Village store is seen Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Edmonds, Wash. The company that operates 300 Value Village, Savers and other thrift stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia is suing Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, saying his office has violated its rights by demanding $3.2 million to settle a three-year investigation. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Court rejects deception charges against Savers Value Village

The Washington state Supreme Court handed the thrift store chain Savers Value Village a unanimous win Thursday.