Fibre-based packaging producer International Paper (IP) has announced plans to invest nearly $300m to upgrade its No 15 paper machine at the Riverdale Mill in Selma, Alabama, US.

The modernisation will enable the machine to produce high-quality whitetop linerboard and containerboard from uncoated freesheet.

Expected to be completed by the middle of 2019, the conversion is set to improve annual capacity by 450,000t and allow a shift between containerboard products.

The company’s overall uncoated freesheet capacity production is expected to reduce by 235,000t following the conversion.

“Our customers expect us to support their growth and this machine conversion will meet their needs.”

IP Industrial Packaging Americas senior vice-president Tim Nicholls said: “Our customers expect us to support their growth and this machine conversion will meet their needs.

“Our Industrial Packaging business continues to focus on our customers in strategic channels, including our box business, domestic and export containerboard and speciality grades.

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“Our system runs most effectively when there is flexibility, and this conversion will also help us define a more streamlined and balanced system overall.”

The remaining machine at the mill will continue to manufacture uncoated imaging paper products.

IP Paper the Americas and India senior vice-president Mike Amick, Jr said: “International Paper’s uncoated freesheet business remains a strategic part of the company and we are well positioned to support current and future customer demand.”

International Paper focuses on producing renewable fibre-based packaging, pulp and paper products.

The company has manufacturing facilities in North America, South America, Europe and Africa.