Composite panel and forest product giant Arauco will close its medium density fiberboard (MDF) production facility in Bennettsville, South Carolina May 18. The closure is the third in US since the beginning of the year.
The Bennettsville mill is currently offline related to market conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said the decision to close the facility permanently was based on a broader assessment that the older manufacturing platform is no longer competitive in the prevailing MDF market compared to the company's other more advanced MDF platforms.
"The decision to close this mill was a difficult one," said Pablo Franzini, president of ARAUCO North America. "We are working diligently to provide options for affected employees to help them through a difficult transition. We are committed to meet all of our customers' needs from our other facilities."
Arauco is a global manufacturer of forest products, including composite panels, premium plywood, millwork, lumber and wood pulp.
In February, it announced it would close another MDF production facility in Eugene, Oregon, on May 1.
The company also made news last year with the acquisition of MDF moulding and millwork producer Prime-Line Inc., the ending of particleboard production at its St. Stephen, New Brunswick facility, which also produces MDF panels, and the opening of a $450 million particleboard operation in Grayling, Michigan, featuring North America’s largest-capacity, continuous single-line particleboard press, two thermally fused laminate (TFL) lines and a large stocking warehouse for just-in-time delivery.
In February 2019, Arauco also closed on a deal to purchase two Masisa mills in Mexico.