Muhlenberg, Township, Pennsylvania, USA 27 September 2016 -- (From the Reading Eagle) -- Neenah Paper Inc. is closing its facility in Muhlenberg Township, Pennsylvania.
The company announced to employees earlier this month that the facility will be closing later this year or early in 2017, and its employees will be laid off. It is unclear how many employees will be affected.
Plant manager Bill Hockley was not available for comment on Monday.
In a notice sent to employees earlier this month, Byron Racki, Neenah's vice president of performance materials, said capacity at the Reading-area facility is underutilized and products made there can be processed efficiently at other Neenah locations.
"The decision to close a facility is always difficult," Racki said in the notice. "We do not take lightly the impact it has on our employees, customers, or community. We thank the Reading team for their service and commitment."
Pam Shupp, president and CEO of the Greater Reading Economic Partnership, said hearing about people losing their jobs is not something you ever want to hear, but she believes they will not have too much trouble finding new work because demand for skilled workers is high in Berks County.
"It is unfortunate but we do feel that those employees can be absorbed into the demand that we have right now from existing manufacturers in Berks County," she said.
Shupp said she is aware of other companies that could be a good fit in the location.
"We already have prospects that we will be looking to show the vacated space," she said. "Based on the specifications of the space they occupied, we already have prospects that are looking for that kind of space."
Neenah Paper was founded in 1873 in Neenah, Wis., and is based in Alpharetta, Ga. It manufactures premium writing, text, cover, specialty and private watermark papers and envelopes. Its brands include Classic, Environment, Astrobrights, Royal Sundance, Touche and Suedetex.
Neenah Paper purchased FiberMark North America Inc., including the Muhlenberg mill, in July 2015.