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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Layoffs clear the air but end an era

This week’s bankruptcy of Peterson Paper in Moss, south of Oslo, has thrown 250 people out of work and signals what many call the “sad” end of yet another forest products business in Norway. Some may even miss the foul smell that the paper plant cast over Moss for decades.

There’s long been a local joke that you could smell Moss before actually arriving there. The venerable paper producer was a fixture nonetheless, perhaps best known for the emissions that weren’t dangerous, just smelly.

The company, hit by sagging European markets and high costs made worse by the strong Norwegian krone, had warned last month that it couldn’t pay its suppliers and was in danger of going bankrupt. Peterson officials couldn’t reach agreement with its creditors, forcing the bankruptcy of Peterson Paper on Wednesday. Peterson Packaging, a sister firm, isn’t affected but the bankruptcy did cost the jobs of 120 persons at Peterson Paper’s Ranheim plant in Trondheim as well.

All 370 laid-off workers will be called in to meetings with state welfare agency NAV next week, to inform them of their rights and start the process of finding new jobs.

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