The company, which has a timber division, has started a debt tender offer which is expected to be settled shortly before Christmas.

International Paper announced plans during the summer to spend US$6-7bn strengthening its balance sheet, primarily through debt repayment, as part of its transformation plan launched in 2005.

The company had debt of about US$10.5bn at the end of the third quarter.

“We committed to our shareowners that we would use a portion of proceeds from our transformation plan to strengthen our balance sheet, and that’s what we’re doing,” said chairman and chief executive John Faraci.