Thursday, July 13, 2000

What's the Buzz?

Domtar acquires Ris Paper Co.

By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Greater Cincinnati is losing one of its largest privately held companies but strengthening its ties to the paper industry with Montreal-based Domtar Inc.'s planned acquisition of Ris Paper Co. in Florence.

        Ris, which moved its headquarters to Northern Kentucky six years ago, is one of the nation's largest paper distributors with sales of $600 million, 19 branches and 680 employees including about 60 in Greater Cincinnati.

        Ris, owned by the Ris family and management, has been the top company on Arthur Andersen's Cincinnati 100 list of largest private companies the last three years."

        Domtar, Canada's largest specialty paper maker, agreed to pay $24 million in cash and stock and assume $66 million in debt to acquire Ris.

        Steven Barker, Ris senior vice president, said one of the keys to the deal is that it won't mean a change in Ris's name, employement or Florence headquarters.

        The deal is the latest in the continuing consolidation of the paper industry. Last month, giant International Paper acquired Champion International, which was started and still operates in Hamilton.

        Ris will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Domtar when the deal is completed, possibly by the end of this month. Ris has been a U.S. distributor for Domtar printing papers for a long time.

        For Domtar, which started in 1929 as Dominion Tar & Chemical Co., the deal fulfills one of its ambitions to expand in the United States, which represents about three-fourths of its sales.

        With Ris, publicly traded Domtar's sales should exceed $2.7 billion.

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