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Paper Shuffling?

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by John Branston

International Paper is restructuring its business, and Memphis could be both a winner and a loser by gaining another corporate headquarters but losing hundreds of jobs.

International Paper (IP) announced Tuesday that it is planning to sell or spin off assets that account for 30 to 40 percent of its operating profits. IP has approximately 2,700 employees in the Memphis area. In one of the most celebrated local business stories of the last 20 years, the company moved most of its white-collar jobs but not the headquarters to Memphis from Stamford, Connecticut., in the 1980s.

"As part of IP's overall effort to become even more efficient and further streamline operations, the company will evaluate the possible relocation of its headquarters to Memphis," the company said Tuesday in a prepared statement.

IP spokesman Amy Sawyer said there are 134 employees in the headquarters.

"At this time we can't quantify the impact on staffing in Memphis," she said.

The restructuring is expected to take two years. If Memphis lost a proportional share of its employees, that would mean up to 1,000 jobs. n

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