Manufacturing: Money's Paper Chase

FOR 127 YEARS, CRANE HAS MADE THE NATION'S CURRENCY PAPER. CAN A WISCONSIN UPSTART BREAK THE MONOPOLY?

Three years ago, Appleton Paper Co. decided to make money. An excellent pursuit for a company, you would think. But as with all businesses, not so easy as it sounds. The money in question is U.S. currency, more specifically the very high-tech paper used to print it. The Appleton, Wis., papermaker planned an expensive makeover to compete for the $400 million contract to supply the government with currency paper when the contract went up for bid this spring. Appleton, an employee-owned company, figured to spend more than $70 million upgrading one of its three paper mills, enabling it to produce watermarks,...

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