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Smurfit-Stone's Missoula, MT, Mill Earns Jefferson Smurfit Group Worldwide Award As Plant Of The Year

CHICAGO, February 4, 2000 -- Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation's (SSCC) Missoula, MT, mill has been selected to receive the Jefferson Smurfit Group Worldwide Award as plant of the year.
The mill was selected out of 564 Smurfit facilities worldwide, including 74 paperboard mills and 400 packaging plants. The award was presented to the mill employees today by SSCC President and Chief Executive Officer Ray Curran.

"This award is a tribute to the dedication and hard work of the entire Missoula team in helping make the mill truly competitive," said Curran.

During 1999, the Missoula mill had one of the company's best records among its 18 containerboard mills for increasing productivity and reducing operating costs, while also improving safety and product quality.

The Missoula mill was the first to utilize the Operational Excellence process, which was developed as part of the merger of Jefferson Smurfit Corporation and Stone Container to capture synergies of the merged company and develop best operating practices in all the mills.

The mill, which produces unbleached kraft linerboard, reduced total cash costs by more than 10 percent. The results were achieved through improved machine speeds and uptime; reduced waste, energy, and maintenance costs; and an improved grade mix of linerboard produced at the mill. In addition, the mill has improved its safety record for the past five years, including a 20 percent reduction in OSHA recordable incidents in1999.

Across-the-board savings were achieved without any significant capital projects or improvements at the mill.

Smurfit-Stone produces 6 million tons of containerboard each year. The Missoula mill has a capacity of about 750,000 tons per year.

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, solid bleached sulfate, paper tubes and cores, and labels. The company operates about 300 facilities worldwide and employs approximately 35,000 people.