NEW YORK (AP) — A deal to combine Canadian wood products maker Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. with U.S. newsprint manufacturer Bowater Inc. now looks unlikely to close until early in the fourth quarter, the companies said Tuesday.
The companies agreed to the all-stock deal in January, won shareholder approval in July and expected to complete the combination by the third quarter, but continue to wait for approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.
In a joint statement, the companies reported ''continued progress'' with the department and said they now expect approval ''within the next few weeks.''
The combined company, AbitibiBowater, would be among North America's largest paper producers and recyclers. With annual revenue of about $7.9 billion, it would own or operate pulp and paper facilities and 35 wood product facilities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Korea. It would be based in Montreal.
Canadian regulators already have approved the deal.
The combination comes amid falling demand for newsprint and other wood products, and could lead the new company to shutter some of its mills. The companies expect to save $250 million annually by combining operations.