BPB speeds up waste paper disposal plans

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BPB, Europe's biggest plasterboard group, is speeding up rationalisation plans for its waste paper business after it slumped into a pounds 3m loss last year.

The group said another of its plants was "under review" following the announcement recently that the Chambers paper operation outside Nottingham was to close.

The group is also still seeking buyers for a mill in Holland. There will be redundancies among the 2,400-strong workforce involved in paperboard operations, but BPB was unable to say how many.

Jean-Pierre Cuny, chief executive, blamed the strength of the pound for the acceleration of the plans, which came after a pounds 10m swing into loss at the recycled paper operations.

The effect of falling waste paper prices was exacerbated by sterling, he said.

The turnround was almost exactly offset by a move to average exchange rates at BPB, which yesterday reported a rise in pre-tax profits from pounds 161m to pounds 189m for the year to March.

Investment column, page 25