Proud History — Lasting Legacy
Since its founding 11 decades ago, our Company has been in the vanguard of many profound changes that have defined the paper industry in North America. In common with our industry as a whole, Wausau Paper has continued to evolve since our beginnings in 1899. Our legacy and our future are embedded in our mission to be the leading provider of environmentally sensitive paper-based brands and solutions to the markets we serve. We continue to draw upon many proud, successful and forward-looking initiatives to guide our future. Wausau Paper today reflects a concerted strategic review conducted in 2012 that resulted in our decision to focus future efforts and capital investments in the growth of our highly profitable towel and tissue business. The largest capital investment in our Company’s long history, completed in late 2012, anchors this new tack and sets the trajectory for significant growth. A history of innovation is the hallmark of Wausau Paper. Below are just a few of the Company’s milestones:
Wausau Paper Mills founded. Norman H. Brokaw and brothers W.L. and E.A. Edmonds build the first Wausau, Wisconsin, area paper mill; only the second built on the Wisconsin River.
Wausau Sulphate Fibre Company Established in Mosinee, Wisconsin. The first integrated mill in North America to use the sulfate pulping process; the company is renamed Mosinee Paper Mills Company in 1920.
Adding Breadth. In December, Mosinee purchases Bay West, a maker of paper napkins, paper towels and creped and kraft papers.
Growing by Leaps and Bounds. A $4.25 million expansion program doubles production.
Mosinee Paper Mills Purchases Nekoosa Edwards’ Special Products Business. Mosinee Paper Mills continues its expansion, becoming Mosinee Paper Corporation in 1970.
Astrobrights™ Introduced. The Company becomes a North American leader in premium printing & writing and colored papers with the introduction of the soon-to-be-iconic Astrobrights™ brand.
Rhinelander Paper Company Purchased. Through this acquisition, the Company becomes a leading producer of specialty papers and expands production to meet emerging new commercial and consumer demand for pressure sensitive and protective-barrier papers.
The Foundation is Laid. A world-class tissue and towel converting facility is constructed in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.
Expansion to Serve Growing Business in Eastern U.S. Markets. The Company acquires manufacturing capacity in the Northeast U.S. to support its growing sales, and enhance customer service in Eastern U.S. markets. The Groveton, New Hampshire, and Jay, Maine, (Otis) mills enjoy a decade of strong performance. By the mid-2000s, however, digital communications reduces North American uncoated freesheet demand dramatically and more efficient distribution systems allow the Northeast to be served more cost effectively from the Company’s Midwest base of operations.
The Merger of Two Paper Companies. On December 17, 1997, the shareholders of Wausau Paper Mills Company and Mosinee Paper Corporation approve a merger uniting two strong participants in the North American paper industry. The Company becomes the Wausau-Mosinee Paper Corporation.
A New Market Opportunity Identified. The Company’s Tissue segment introduces the industry’s first complete range of Green Seal™ certified towel and tissue products for the away-from-home market. Sales and profitability grow dramatically and launch a dramatic period of expansion investment in the business.
A New Master Brand Emerges. The Company is renamed Wausau Paper, as the products of the Wausau-Mosinee Corporation are fully integrated under a single umbrella. The Company’s leading position in the premium and colored uncoated freesheet market is expanded with the acquisition of a mill in Brainerd, Minnesota.
Business Unit Consolidation. Cost reduction initiatives and two years of restructuring lead to the formation of a streamlined Paper segment and improved operating performance by the Company’s non-Tissue businesses despite the global recession.
Setting the Course for Future Growth. The Company embarks on the most ambitious growth project and largest capital investment in its history as it commits $220 million to build a first of its kind paper machine at Harrodsburg.
Focus on Technical Specialties and Away-From-Home Tissue. After intensive strategic review and responding to accelerating declines in uncoated freesheet market demand, the Company exits the Print & Color market and shutters the Brokaw, Wisconsin, mill in early 2012. The Harrodsburg paper machine comes on-line – the project is on-time and $10 million under budget.
Accelerating Growth In mid-2013 the Company completes the divestiture of its technical specialty paper business to focus on increasing the significant rate of growth being achieved by its tissue business. Two new product lines are announced; DublNature® is re-launched in May with new ATMOS enabled premium paper products, while the launch of Artisan®, a family of first-of-their-kind, super-premium from 100% recycled fiber products is expected in mid-2014.