Old Town Paper Mill Sale to Assets Consortium is Complete
The shuttered former Old Town Fuel & Fiber/Expera Old Town LLC pulp mill has been sold to a Connecticut conglomerate.
Wisconsin-based Expera Specialty Solutions says it closed the sale to MFGR LLC on Wednesday. The companies did not disclose the terms of the sale. MFGR is a consortium made up of CRG Acquisition, Gordon Brothers, Rabin Worldwide and PPL Group. The four companies bought the Lincoln Paper and Tissue mill last year and then formed MFGR. That mill is being dismantled. Verso Corp. also announced it was filing for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday. That company operates a paper mill in Jay.
Bill Firestone, President of CRG, stated “We have had numerous inquiries since the former Expera Plant has been under contract with our group, including aquaculturists, transportation hubs, pulp manufacturing and developers. With our group’s ownership of the assets at the Lincoln Pulp and Tissue Mill coupled with the Bio Production/Green Chemical Research being conducted on the site by the University of Maine, we see a large potential to make unproductive assets productive. The assets include 400,000 square feet of warehouse buildings, a Waste Water Treatment Plant, a 16 megawatt Biomass boiler and approximately 300 acres of land with about 4000 feet of frontage on the Penobscot River. We look forward to working closely with Municipal and State agencies in order to achieve our mutual goals.”
Expera Specialty Solutions of Kaukauna, Wisconsin closed the pulp mill it purchased in 2014. Officials with Expera said the decline of the Canadian dollar exchange rate combined with a significant increase of new pulp capacity has led to a material drop in market pulp prices. "In addition, wood costs have not moderated in Maine commensurate with demand decline. The combination of these forces does not allow sustainable operations.”
The Old Town sawmill site had been active in some form since 1860. In 1882, it became the Penobscot Chemical Fiber Co., which merged with Diamond International Corp. in 1967. Diamond was bought by James River Corp. in 1983, which merged with Fort Howard Corp. in 1997 to become Fort James Corp. Georgia-Pacific Corp bought Fort James in 2000, at which time the site had more than 600 employees. Georgia-Pacific laid off half its employees three years later,
The State of Maine enabled Casella Waste Systems to take over the Old Town landfill facility and covert to biomass production. G-P fired up its biomass boiler in 2005, then was bought by Koch Industries later in the year.
Red Shield, a consortium of four companies, bought the mill in 2006, then filed for bankruptcy in 2008. New York investment firm Patriarch Partners purchased the mill out of bankruptcy, creating Old Town Fuel & Fiber, which was then purchased in bankruptcy in late 2014 by Expera Specialty Solutions. It operated as Expera Old Town LLC for less than a year, with a staff of about 165.