Asheville Daily Planet
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Plant management sold stock just before announcement of mill closing, filings indicate
Wednesday, 15 March 2023 21:08

From Staff Reports

Filings on March 6 with the Securities and Exchange Commission “show several Pactiv Evergreen management team members sold off stock in advance of the closure announcement,” Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported on March 8.

“In total, it amounts to more than 58,000 shares,” News 13 noted. “ All executives received $11.30 per share. The sales were made Thursday, March 2, 2023, ahead of the announcement and reporting to the SEC on Monday, March 6, 2023.”

In response to the reported stock selloff, U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards, R-Hendersonville, released a letter March 9, calling for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to formally investigate the selling of stock by four Pactiv Evergreen executives just days prior to the company’s announcement on March 6 that the more-than-century-old Canton paper mill would be closing by summer, News 13 noted.

The closure of the Canton plant will result in the projected loss of 1,200 jobs and “be a devastating blow to the town and Haywood County,” a press release from Edwards’ office stated. 

The 115-year-old paper mill in Canton is the largest manufacturer in Western North Carolina, and its employees have an average income of $80,000 per year, plus benefits.

Meanwhile, the Asheville Citizen Times reported in its March 13 edition that Pactiv Evergreen stocks were sold at $11.30 per share, with profits made by the executives as follows

:• President and CEO Michael King: $509,776

•  Chief Legal Officer and Secretary Chandra Mitchell: $63,426

• President of Beverage Merchandising Byron Racki: $46,250

• Chief Operations Officer Douglas Owensby: $44,849

The ACT report added that “town and union officials protested the sale, (with Canton) Mayor  Zeb Smathers calling the selloff and dividend payoff also made by the corporation ‘sickening and cowardly.’”

To that end, Smathers told News 13 on March 9, “It’s sickening. Once again, we have to deal with the devastation while others are cashing out. There is an anger here... It is morally reprehensible and cowardly...Whether it’s legal or illegal, it’s wrong, and anyone listening knows that this is wrong.”

News 13 added, “Smathers said he is — daily — hearing from hardworking mill families struggling to understand the actions” of top company executives.

“Making hundreds of thousands of dollars while I have grown men and women crying and children crying because they don’t know if they’re going to have to move away to find a job. We have asked to look at all the incentives. If they have complied with it, great. But if they have not held up their end of the bargain, I want that money back and I want it back for the taxpayers of this state — and especially Haywood County,” News 13 quoted Smathers as saying.


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