Job security in sight

Jobs at Australian Paper’s Maryvale Mill are one step closer to long-term security following news the company has acquired the ED Office Products business.

The acquisition is anticipated to result in the replacement of imported paper with competitively-priced office paper produced at the Maryvale Mill.

Although the company says the acquisition from BJ Ball is subject to regulatory approval, it claims this is the latest step in its business turnaround plan.

In February last year, AP announced a review and restructure of its operations following its fourth year of consecutive losses.

AP spokesman Craig Dunn said the turnaround plan’s key focus was to rebuild the company’s market share, with the pending acquisition providing the opportunity to do so.

“The EDOP acquisition provides us with the opportunity to increase our share by replacing imported paper with competitively priced office paper that is proudly made in the Latrobe Valley at Australian Paper Maryvale,” Mr Dunn said.

He said the company did not expect the acquisition to bring more jobs to Maryvale, as AP’s overall manufacturing volumes would not be impacted.

“However it will help secure jobs at Maryvale in the longer term through increased domestic share in line with our turnaround plan,” he said.

An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission spokesperson said the ACCC was considering whether it was necessary to conduct a public review.

“The ACCC reviews mergers and acquisitions, which have the potential to raise concerns under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010,” the spokesperson said.

“The CCA prohibits acquisitions that would have the effect, or be likely to have the effect, of substantially lessening competition in a market.”

The spokesperson said if a public review was commenced, details would be made available on the ACCC’s mergers register.

Anthony Pavey, the Maryvale sub-branch secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, said Maryvale workers had reacted positively to the news.

He acknowledged it was hypothetical until the acquisition received the regulatory tick of approval, but was happy to wait and see the outcome.

“Any news coming through that we’re going to have more supply or be able to supply more of the market locally, it’s a benefit to us,” he said.

“We’re going to be continuing on I suppose, because there is going to be work in front of us.”

If approved, the acquisition will initially expand the range of office paper and stationery that Australian Paper distributes, to include imported products along with locally made paper.

The company says local paper will replace imported streams over time.

“We expect to begin transitioning imported grades to Australian-made in consultation with our customers,” Mr Dunn said.

“Paper buyers simply need to look out for the Australian-made logo on their office paper to confirm that they are buying local, Maryvale-made products.”

It follows the company’s recent acquisitions of Envelope Specialists and Trade Envelopes, which AP says has seen more than 100 million envelopes return to being made in Australia.