Business as unusual
Since early 2001, the economic slowdown has also admittedly had an unfavorable impact on demand and prices for Domtar's products. But the paper company says it remains confident in the long-term fundamentals of the uncoated freesheet market. Royer outlines that he will continue taking steps to improve product quality and productivity and to obtain synergies as quickly as possible from the integration of four new mills. He also says he will continue to monitor inventories closely in order to maintain optimum levels of supply to meet demand.
Other companies, such as P.H. Glatfelter (www.glatfelter.com), started anew by rolling out a new name and aesthetic, becoming simply "Glatfelter." And according to Chairman and CEO George Glatfelter III, "We're going head-to-head with some of the biggest companies in the industry and we're determined to further differentiate ourselves from the pack"—a necessity that can mean the difference between leverage and loss this new year.
A key component of Glatfelter's vision is to reach $1 billion in sales by 2004, with an annual return on capital of 17 percent. The company posted net sales of $724 million in 2000, he says. But for the next two years, Glatfelter is quite confident in the market outlook.
For other paper players, cult of personality becomes a way to illustrate product usefulness while treading new commercial waters. For ICG/Holliston (www.icg-online.com), a producer of book cover materials, Michael Jordan, Martha Stewart and Elton John will become synonymous with its DigiTex bookcloth, a material that the company says it will promote heavily in 2002, using the celebrity names.
Fit to buy
Of course, success or failure will not only be predicated upon whether the economy improves but also how well paper buyers recover from a shallow market.