DAYTON, Ohio, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mead Corporation announced today that Mead Specialty Paper's Devon Valley Mill in England will focus on the decor paper business by discontinuing most of its other product lines and selling selected assets. The product lines to be discontinued are vacuum dust bag, absorption and saturated automotive filter papers. Mead has signed an agreement to sell related assets to Hollingsworth & Vose Company of East Walpole, Massachusetts. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

``Our strategy for the Devon Valley Mill is to focus on what we do best- produce and market papers for the decorative laminate industry,'' said Cynthia A. Niekamp, president of Mead Specialty Paper. ``The decor business is one of our core competencies and that's why we acquired the mill in 1999. It has strengthened our ability to meet the needs of decor customers globally and will remain an effective way to reach the European market. In addition, the Devon Valley Mill will continue to produce and support specialty crepe automotive and crepe food grade papers. We also have the option to use the mill in the future to produce overlay papers.''

Mead Specialty Paper's decor products are used to manufacture flooring, furniture and countertops. ``Our decision to discontinue Devon Valley's filter and absorbent product lines resulted from inadequate profitability in those business sectors and insufficient scale to meet the technical requirements of the global filter business,'' Niekamp said.

As a result of these changes, Mead Specialty Paper will shut down one of the two paper machines at Devon Valley and reduce the workforce by approximately 85 to 90 positions. The division has been in discussions with the local union regarding what positions will be redundant when the shutdown occurs. Announcements regarding job losses and reassignments are likely to be made within three weeks.