Boise Inc. ends but its Idaho presence remains

Fewer than 30 people have lost their jobs so far as the paper company becomes part of an Illinois rival.

krodine@idahostatesman.comNovember 9, 2013 

Boise Inc. no longer exists as a publicly traded Gem State company.

The paper and packaging maker’s $1.27 billion sale to Packaging Corp. of America, announced in September, is now final, and some answers about the firm’s future in the Treasure Valley were disclosed Friday.

The headquarters at Boise Plaza, home to the company since its days as part of Boise Cascade Corp., will remain, spokeswoman Virginia Aulin told the Idaho Statesman.

The company name will get longer to acknowledge the new owner.

“Boise is a valuable brand, especially on the paper end,” Aulin said. “The paper mills and paper sales will be Boise Paper, and the corporate name will be ‘Boise, a PCA Company.’”

As for the company’s pre-sale workforce — roughly 5,400, including nearly 450 at the Boise Plaza headquarters — Aulin said changes will be focused mostly at corporate headquarters, where there will be “downsizing of a fairly limited nature.”

Some of the laid-off workers are already gone, while others are in transition. No information is available yet on how many more jobs will be cut, she said. Jobs will be pared based on duplication of existing PCA operations, she said.

“The big challenge right now is merging two companies, looking at talent resources and needs across both companies and seeing which functions will change and where the work will be done,” Aulin said.

Aulin is keeping her title as vice president of human resources and corporate affairs — but now for PCA, not Boise Inc.

Her former boss, Boise Inc. CEO Alexander Toeldte, has departed with a “very fair” severance package as required by his contract, Aulin said. Boise Inc.’s 2013 proxy statement said Toeldte would receive an estimated $6.9 million for an involuntary termination caused by a change in the company’s control.

Toeldte told the Statesman in September that the sale, approved by the Boise Inc. board, would have substantially less impact on Treasure Valley jobs than some people feared.

“Our corporate headquarters is an excellent service organization that provides outstanding service at very low cost, and that will be an important factor for PCA to consider,” Toeldte said.

Boise Inc.’s trucking operation in Boise has about 25 employees, and its Nampa packaging plant has about 140. Both staff levels are expected to remain about the same, Aulin said.

Boise Inc. traced its roots to Boise Cascade Corp., an iconic Idaho company that fell on hard times more than a decade ago.

In 2004 Boise Cascade bought OfficeMax, assumed the OfficeMax name, and moved its headquarters to Illinois.

OfficeMax promptly sold most of its interest in the former Boise Cascade timberlands, paper-making business, and wood products and building materials distribution divisions to a Chicago private-equity company. That company kept the wood products and building materials units but sold the paper, packaging and newsprint operation in 2008 to a pair of investors who turned it into the publicly traded Boise Inc.

Boise Inc. shares the Boise Plaza with the other ex-Boise Cascade Corp. descendant, now called Boise Cascade Co. The latter firm’s private-equity owners returned Boise Cascade to public ownership in February.

Boise Inc. board Chairman Carl Albert said in September that selling to PCA was “the best way to maximize value for our shareholders.”

When the Boise-PCA merger took effect Oct. 25, each share of Boise Inc. common stock not purchased in the tender offer was converted into a right to receive $12.55 in cash per share — the same price that was paid in the tender offer. Boise Inc. common stock, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, no longer exists.

Packaging Corp. of America had about 8,000 employees before it purchased Boise Inc. The combined company, headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., is the fourth largest producer of containerboard and corrugated packaging products in the United States. It also is the third largest producer of uncoated free-sheet paper in North America, according to a company news release.

Kristin Rodine: 377-6447. Business Editor David Staats contributed.

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