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Smurfit-Stone Announces Agreement to Sell Timberland to Rayonier for $725 Million

CHICAGO, July 29, 1999 -- Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation (Nasdaq: SSCC) announced today that the company has reached a definitive agreement to sell its southeastern timberland holdings to Rayonier, Inc. (NYSE: RYN), for $725 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Smurfit-Stone will sell 820,000 acres of fee-owned timberland and about 160,000 acres of leased timberland. The agreement, which is subject to regulatory approvals, has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close early in the fourth quarter.

Commenting on the transaction, Ray Curran, president and chief executive of Smurfit-Stone, said, “We are very pleased with the outcome of the sale process. This is without doubt the single most important step in the divestiture process and will significantly reduce our debt and strengthen our balance sheet. With the completion of the timberland sale, Smurfit-Stone will have to date raised in excess of $1.5 billion in proceeds from divestitures.”

The timberlands are located in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. As part of the agreement, Rayonier has agreed to supply part of the pulpwood requirements for Smurfit-Stone's containerboard mills in that region following the closing. Smurfit-Stone will also continue to purchase timber for its mills on the open market.


Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation was formed on November 18, 1998 as a result of the merger of Jefferson Smurfit Corporation and Stone Container Corporation. The company is the industry's leading manufacturer of paper and paperboard-based packaging, including containerboard, corrugated containers, industrial bags, and claycoated recycled boxboard; and is the world's largest paper recycler. In addition, Smurfit-Stone is a leading producer of folding cartons, paper tubes and cores, and labels. The company operates about 300 facilities worldwide and employs more than 30,000. This press release contains statements relating to future results, which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in general economic conditions, continued pricing pressures in key product lines, seasonality and higher recycled fiber costs, as well as other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.


© 1999 Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation

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