RUMFORD — Second
quarter earnings for NewPage Corp. showed a 31 percent decline from
the same quarter a year ago, the Miamisburg, Ohio, corporation
announced Wednesday.

How these numbers will affect the paper mill in Rumford and its approximately 850 employees is not
known.

The company statement said the
decline in demand for coated paper was primarily the result of fewer
dollars spent on advertising and less catalog circulation. NewPage President and CEO Richard Willett Jr. said the price for
paper has also declined.

For the second quarter of 2008, NewPage
sales were $1.06 billion, compared with $736 million for the quarter
ending on June 30, 2009.

Tony Lyons, spokesman for the local
mill, said Wednesday afternoon that the mill continues to operate on
a difficult schedule. “It’s difficult to predict what
downtime is. We truly are running as fully as we can,” he said.

The local mill shared in the corporate
reduction in production of 161,000 tons during the first quarter,
which resulted in some layoffs, as well as in the reduction of
149,000 tons during the second quarter.

Lyons declined to say whether another
substantial reduction in product would happen during the third
quarter.

The No. 15 paper machine continues to
experience rolling layoffs, contingent upon orders, and the No. 10
paper machine came back online after a two-week shutdown last Monday.
The No. 12 machine has maintained a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week
schedule.

Last year, the No. 11 machine was
permanently shut down at the Rumford mill. It was part of the overall
corporate reduction in production of 1.1 million tons. Two mills
owned by NewPage in Wisconsin were closed as part of the product
reduction last year as well.

In the local plant, Lyons said he will
no longer serve as communications person for the mill, a position he
has held for five years, but will instead devote more time to the
other part of his job which is purchasing and processing wood fiber.

“The weather has created a difficult
time for suppliers,” he said.

Human resources employee Janet Hall
will take over the communications responsibilities.

Lyons said the number of hourly and
salaried employees at the mill has fluctuated between 800 and 850,
according to the needs of production, during the past few months.

At the beginning of 2009, about 100
hourly and salaried local mill employees were laid off.

“It’s a challenging environment,” Lyons said.

Besides the Rumford mill, NewPage Corp.
also owns mills in Kentucky, Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota and
Wisconsin and Nova Scotia.

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