A successful buyout has “secured a future” for hundreds of staff working at an Aberdeen mill, its general manager claimed today.
Mill bosses said the news had filled staff with “elation, relief and emotion” and comes after nine months of “uncertainty”.
Under terms of the rescue agreement, the historic mill has been sold to a new firm, Creative Paper Holdings Limited, formed by a management buyout team.
All 450 Stoneywood jobs will be transferred with immediate effect to the new firm.
Elsewhere in the UK, 82 jobs have been saved at the Arjowiggins Chartham plant in Kent and 27 at an administration centre in Basingstoke.
Angus Macsween, general manager of the mill, described the negotiations as a “rollercoaster” but said it was a “massive relief” to complete the sale.
He added: “We went up for sale 18 months ago, the sale fell through and then our parent company went into administration and we shortly followed. That was on January 15.
“We’ve had nine months of uncertainty. There’s 450 people work here and they’ve got families and mortgages.
“On top of that you’ve got the surrounding suppliers who come in and supply products to us here.
“All in all there’s probably about 1,000 jobs affected by the mill so it has been a huge concern for many people. Today we’ve now given them a future and secured it for hopefully years to come.
“We’ve now got an opportunity to shape it as we want to going forward.”
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Angus said many workers at the mill have been there for a long time and there are also multiple generations of the same family who work there, adding that it means a “lot to a lot of people”.
He said: “We’ve got a lot of proud heritage – we’ve been here for 249 years.
“We’ve got state-of-the-art equipment and offer fantastic apprenticeships to young people so I think it’s crucial for the city and Aberdeenshire.”
Staff spoke to the Evening Express at the mill after learning of the news yesterday.
Chris Duncan, a trade union representative who has worked at Stoneywood for the last 36 years, said the announcement was a “big relief”.
The 55-year-old, who lives in Woodside, said: “There have been some uncertain times, coming in every day not knowing whether it would be shut down.
“This gives more certainty. There may have to be changes but the majority of the jobs should be saved and hopefully the business will become profitable.”
Beverly Thompson and Elzbieta Skorzynska, who work as paper sorters at the mill, were also thrilled.
Beverly, a 15-year mill veteran, said: “It has been a big relief – it’s been a long nine months.
“I’d have been so sad if it shut down with all the people and young families and mortgages.”
And Elzbieta, who has worked at Stoneywood for a decade, claimed she would have been forced to move back to her native Poland if she had lost her job.
She said: “I’m feeling happy because my son-in-law works here as well and I’m really happy that I can stay in Scotland.”
Six directors were appointed to the new company, AW Creative Papers Group Limited.
New managing director Jonathan Mitchell said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the future of a strong and sustainable business with such a long heritage in the UK.
“The last nine months have been an unsettling time for the company and we are extremely grateful to the administrators, FRP Advisory, for having allowed the business to continue to trade while we found a workable solution.
“The support we have had from our staff, customers, suppliers and the Scottish Government has been incredible and without them this deal would not have been possible.”