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Domtar’s new owner a member of the Indonesian Widjaja family

Last week Paper Excellence announced that it purchased the Domtar Company for approximately $3 billion in case. Corporate officials said that Paper Excellence planned to operate Domtar as a stand-alone company, and keep its management structure intact. The acquisition does not affect the Hawesville mill other than changing the corporate owner of the mill.

Both companies located their corporate headquarters in Canada, with Domtar being in Montreal, Quebec, and Paper Excellence in Richmond, British Columbia. Domtar also possesses a U.S. headquarters in Fort Mill, South Carolina. According to reports, prior to the Domtar Company acquisition, Paper Excellence was the second largest pulp and paper producer in Canada. In addition, it is a privately held company.

Paper Excellence got its start in 2007 when Jackson Widjaja purchased a pulp mill in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, and the company grew from there to become the second largest pulp and paper company in Canada. So, who is Jackson Widjaja?

Widjaja does not give interviews, so not much information exists about him on the Internet, but much information does exist about his family. Widjaja comes from one of the richest families in Indonesia. His grandfather Eka Tjipta Widjaja moved to Indonesia as a small child from Quanzhou, China with his parents, and started working in his father’s shop, according to various reports. The elder Widjaja continued to pursue different business ventures, and in 1962 formed Sinar Mas, a company that exported natural products and imported textiles, according to information gleaned from the Internet.

The company continued to grow and diversify, eventually getting into real estate, the pulp and paper business and banking. His business ventures eventually translated into him becoming a billionaire, with an estimated net worth of approximately $9 billion dollars.

According to reports, the children of his first wife Trinidewi Lasuki became the principal heirs of his business conglomerate. His eldest son Teguh Ganda Widjaja became the head of the pulp and paper division of the Asia Pulp and Paper business owned by the family. Teguh Ganda Widjaja is the father of Jackson Widjaja. As such, Jackson Widjaja basically grew up in the paper business.

Instead of starting his business from scratch by building new mills, Jackson Widjaja started to purchase old, idle or underused mills in Canada. In addition, according to reports, his company sells the softwood pulp it produces to the Asia Paper and Pulp business, which his father runs. This particular business model helps Paper Excellence’s mills to run at full capacity at all times, even in down markets.

The company remains bullish on the pulp market due to the demand for paper products in Asia. The acquisition of Domtar adds to the diversification of Paper Excellence’s worldwide holdings. According to last week’s story in the Hancock Clarion, Paper Excellence manufactures pulp for the paper industry as well as specialty, printing and packaging paper. Domtar manufactures fiber-based products. The purchase of Domtar allows Paper Excellence’s umbrella of companies to expand into the packaging industry in the United States and beyond.

By Ralph Dickerson

1 Comment

  1. Denis Lendrum on February 27, 2022 at 9:43 am

    I sure hope Paper Excellence will honor of the company paying into a 40.5 year employees pension, as the Domtar staff just want to sweep it under the rug. And want to waste a lot of the new owners money of lawyers, instead of paying what was very clear in the Local 74 & Domtar negotiated contract. When the present management personal won’t fix a problem by previous management. I can see why many existing management positions have been posted for new hires at the Espanola Domtar/Paper Excellence mill.

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