As of October of this year, the company reportedly was inpossession of approximately 350,000 acres of West Virginiaforestland. Just last month MeadWestvaco officials revealedintentions to sell off approximately 950,000 targeted acres fromits portfolio during the next two to three years. The land, companyhonchos declared, no longer fit the company's plans forproductivity. "We will continue to assess our investment inforestlands and to divest properties that are no longer needed tosupport our manufacturing operations," company chairman and CEOJohn A. Luke Jr. says in a written statement. "In addition,following our planned merger with Mead, we will place a highpriority on analyzing the potential for forestland divestituresfrom our combined land base." Westvaco merged earlier this yearwith Mead to take on its current incarnation.

MeadWestvaco's activities in the Mid-Atlantic region over thelast several months have been part of a grand strategy to improveoverall efficiency. October brought news of the company'sintentions to close down eight paper sheeting machines at the Luke,MD plant in 2003--a move that will significantly cut activity atthe facility and cost the Allegany County area approximately 150jobs.

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