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Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

Blue Ridge Paper Products changes name, moves headquarters

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By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer

Blue Ridge Paper Products, long one of the largest employers in Western North Carolina, is no longer — at least in name.

An internal memo sent to employees Aug. 24 announced that the company’s name has officially been changed to Evergreen Packaging Group to reflect its new ownership by the New Zealand-based Rank Group.

The memo also stated that the company’s corporate headquarters is being moved from Canton to Memphis, Tenn. It seems as though Evergreen has already set up shop in Memphis — they list their new address on Poplar Avenue in the memo, along with a new Memphis phone number.

Former Blue Ridge Paper CEO Rich Lozyniak declined to relocate to the new headquarters and resigned from the company. His final day was last week.

A new management team has already been put in place at Evergreen Packaging Group, though it includes only two members of upper management from former Blue Ridge Paper Products — Phillip Bowen, vice president of sales and marketing, and Terry Huskey, vice president of paper sales. There is no indication what the new ownership means for rank-and-file jobs at the mill.

Blue Ridge Paper Products posted a $7.6 million loss for the financial quarter ending June 30, according to information from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Blue Ridge (now Evergreen) employees are set to receive a payout from the Employee Stock Ownership Plan, which they agreed to in exchange for the sale of their shares of the company. The average payout is estimated at around $20,000 per employee, and will be doled out around Oct. 12.

The company employs nearly 1,100 workers at its two plants in Canton and Waynesville.

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