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WDI-Special Focus

Gould Paper Corp.


In 2010, Gould Paper Corp. began a transition that will finally come to a close this April. Five years ago, Japan Pulp & Paper (JPP) purchased 51 percent of Gould Paper and is on track to purchase the remaining 49 percent this April, which will make Gould Paper a wholly owned subsidiary of JPP. The consolidation is a strategic play for both companies, which have maintained global growth as a key part of their futures. 

Specifically for JPP, the long-term business investment is part of its Innovation JPP 2020 initiative – which is a plan to identify optimal investments in offshore management resources and expand its business overseas. 

Historically, JPP’s 21 locations have served China and other Asian countries with the wholesaling of paper, paperboard, recycled paper and household paper products, as well as printing, communication and specialty papers. Gould Paper, which was established in 1924, is one of the largest paper merchants in the United States. It has distribution facilities in New Jersey, Florida and Texas, as well as 33 warehouses across the country. In addition, the company maintains 16 sales offices throughout the country and sales offices in Europe, Australia, South America and Central America. 

“JPP is a $6 billion company and currently of that $6 billion, Gould represents $1 billion of that pie,” says John Cooper, senior vice president of corporate marketing at Gould Paper. “JPP’s trading areas are largely everywhere else in the world where we are not, so there are minor crossovers. We are essentially JPP’s conduit into western civilization business.”

Standing Firm

In addition to an ownership transition, Gould Paper has been on a two-part business transition to solidify its standing in existing market segments and expand into new ones. The company’s legacy markets lie in financial printing, commercial printing, catalogs, magazine and direct mail – sectors that have been on the decline in the digital age. 

“Our legacy markets have no organic growth to them,” Cooper explains. “All of those markets are shrinking but we have still been able to gain marketshare in those marketplaces.”

That’s true especially in Texas. Paul Collins, vice president of integrated supply chain at Gould Paper says that Texas has the strongest commercial printing market in the nation. Last year, Gould’s Dallas-based subsidiary Western-BRW Paper purchased Bosworth Papers to increase its presence in the market. 

“Everyone is going just-in-time and commercial printers are looking for same-day and next-day delivery,” Collins says. “Many of our printing presses operate using sheeted paper and not just reels, which allows us to easily get the right-sized paper for their jobs. This is a big advantage for commercial printing. When we acquired Bosworth that really helped us fill in the market. We already had our location in Dallas and now we are in Austin, Houston and serving the San Antonio market. We have coverage of the whole state with custom-sheeted product.” 

Seamless Supply

The Bosworth acquisition is in line with Gould Paper’s mission to make itself a more integral and harder-to-replace supplier to its customers. In addition to designing and manufacturing paper products, Gould Paper is becoming a greater part of its customers’ supply chains by partnering with manufacturers to deliver one end product. 

“While manufacturing of products in North America is in decline, it’s on the rise in the rest of the world,” Cooper says. “So we take product from China, from Spain, from South Korea, from Japan and we are bringing that product here to North America and working in combination with other North American suppliers to provide total solutions to big-brand companies that want to project their brand through quality packaging and marketing.” 

The value-added service allows Gould’s customers to free up resources and focus on their core functions while Gould takes on the project manager role within the supply chain. 

“If you’re a scotch manufacturer in southern Scotland and you want a way to get your brand packaging consistent on a worldwide basis, we can help provide that,” Copper says. “We can bring all the pieces together to do the box, the label, the advertisement that goes inside and the tissue that surrounds it.” 

A Natural Fit

In part two of its strategy, Gould is leveraging existing capabilities and facilities to launch itself into new arenas. Although commercial printing is on the decline, packaging and paper recycling are steady. Gould Paper has made key investments to manufacture consumer packaging, corrugated packaging and food packaging products. The company also purchased Netherlands-based GP Harmon Recycling, giving Gould Paper access to recyclable fiber and ensuring supply continuity for its expanding European customer base. 

“We’ve been using our core expertise, which involves international trading, logistics management and redistribution, and using those things to find ancillary business that will be good places for us to grow our business,” Cooper says. “We’ve been doing that organically and through acquisition. We feel the management of waste paper for corrugated box-making and tissue, and recycled boards for packaging – those are businesses that are not going to be digitally replaced.”

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