Worldwide Paper Company
In December 2006, Bob Prescott, the controller for the Blue Ridge Mill, was consid- ering the addition of a new on-site longwood woodyard. The addition would have two primary benefits: to eliminate the need to purchase shortwood from an outside sup- plier and create the opportunity to sell shortwood on the open market as a new mar- ket for Worldwide Paper Company (WPC). The new woodyard would allow the Blue Ridge Mill not only to reduce its operating costs but also to increase its revenues. The proposed woodyard utilized new technology that allowed tree-length logs, called long- wood, to be processed directly, whereas the current process required shortwood, which had to be purchased from the Shenandoah Mill. This nearby mill, owned by a com- petitor, had excess capacity that allowed it to produce more shortwood than it needed for its own pulp production. The excess was sold to several different mills, including the Blue Ridge Mill. Thus adding the new longwood equipment would mean that Prescott would no longer need to use the Shenandoah Mill as a shortwood supplier and that the Blue Ridge Mill would instead compete with the Shenandoah Mill by selling on the shortwood market. The question for Prescott was whether these expected benefits were enough to justify the $18 million capital outlay plus the incremental investment in working capital over the six-year life of the investment. Construction would start within a few months, and the investment outlay would be spent over two calendar years: $16 million in 2007 and the remaining $2 million in 2008. When the new woodyard began operating in 2008, it would significantly reduce the operating costs of the mill. These operating savings would come mostly from the difference in the cost of producing shortwood on-site versus buying it on the open mar- ket and were estimated to be $2.0 million for 2008 and $3.5 million per year thereafter. Prescott also planned on taking advantage of the excess...
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