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SierraPine agrees to sell three plants, including one in Medford

Flakeboard America Ltd., said it will buy three SierraPine particleboard plants, including a medium density fiberboard plant on North Pacific Highway in Medford.

SierraPine plants in Springfield and Martell, Calif., are also part of the deal, while an Adel, Ga., mill will be closed, said President Jeff Johnson, whose office is in Roseville, Calif.

Santiago, Chile-based Arauco acquired Flakeboard in 2012. Once the SierraPine mills are incorporated into the Arauco system, it will have annual production capacity of 2 billion square feet.

The Medford plant employs approximately 130 on four shifts, said Doug Houston, SierraPine's local manager.

He said the plant has run 24 hours, seven days a week, save for a period during the recession when it cut back to three shifts. It returned to full operation in August 2012.

The plant opened as a division of Medco in 1975 before it was sold to Texas billionaire Harold Simmons' Valhi Inc in the 1980s. In the mid-1990s, Valhi sold the medium-density fiberboard company to Sierra Pine, a California limited partnership including Timber Products Co. and SierraPacific Industries of Redding, Calif., for $39 million.

Simmons, who exited the local timber scene in the 1990s, died Dec. 28 at the age of 82.

"SierraPine will work closely with Flakeboard to ensure a smooth transition of these facilities to the new ownership group," Johnson said in a statement. "In the meantime we will continue to conduct business in the same manner as our customers have come to expect."

SierraPine and Flakeboard expect the deal to close by the end of March.

— Greg Stiles