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IP mill announces 'downtime'

"I refuse to be pessimistic about the future of our country or the future of our mill," he continued. "With the amount of stimulus money being directed toward the overall economy I can only hope and pray the strategy will be successful and we begin our recovery this year. Meanwhile, we all do what we must to hold the line."

International Paper is a global paper and packaging company with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa.

IP has struggled to trim expenses in the face of steep losses and a deepening recession.

The firm posted a loss of $452 million in the fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 31. It earned $327 million the previous year.

In response, the company has shut mills, implemented layoffs and frozen salaries.

The firm announced in March a reduction in its quarterly common stock dividend payable June 15 from 25 cents per share to 2.5 cents per share. IP said the reduction would preserve approximately $100 million in cash on a quarterly basis, to be applied to debt.

International Paper Investments, a subsidiary of IP, last month refinanced a Euro denominated $500 million credit facility due in August.

The company also announced the sale of 135,000 acres in the southeast to American Timberlands Fund for $275 million in cash and a 20 percent interest in the fund (valued at $55 million).

Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., the company employs about 61,500 people in more than 20 countries and serves customers worldwide. In 2008 net sales were approximately $25 billion.

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