PaperAge Magazine

Appleton Coated Paper Mill Sold to Industrial Assets Corp. for $20 Million

Appleton Coated Paper Mill The new modified agreement includes the stipulation that Industrial Assets will market the mill for 90 days to see if a new buyer can be found who will restart and operate the mill as a going concern.

Oct. 7, 2017 (Post-Crescent Appleton) - Industrial Assets Corp., a used machine dealer and liquidator based in Los Angeles, will be the new owner of the Appleton Coated paper mill as of Friday (Oct. 6).

The $20 million sale, plus a $1.5 million backstop fund, was approved by Outagamie County Judge Gregory Gill in a hearing on Thursday morning (Oct. 5).

It included $2.25 million to cover employee health insurance through October and wages for about 100 employees to be recalled for a few weeks to keep the mill at "hot idle" status. That number will then be reduced to 30 employees.

The new modified agreement includes the stipulation that Industrial Assets will market the mill for 90 days to see if a new buyer can be found who will restart and operate the mill as a going concern.

It ended a tense waiting period for workers. Several dozen sat silently on Thursday in the back two rows of the courtroom.

The mood was funereal.

"It's been like a death in the family," said employee Jim Bird.

Workers learned that a previous plan to restart the mill for 45 days with a partial recalled staff of 195 workers had been scrapped.

According to the modified purchase agreement, Industrial Assets met with Appleton Coated management and “determined that the management's projections for profitable short-term operations were not achievable.”

Some are holding out hope that the mill can be sold again, come back to life and rehire at least some of the 620 employees.

"The good news is that we have an opportunity to find someone to operate the plant. It's not going to be easy, but we still have a second chance," said Outagamie County executive Tom Nelson.

He praised the parties, including the union and judge, in their efforts to keep that option on the table.

In Thursday's hearing, the judge admitted that the drawn-out approval of the sale, which had been initially accepted in a receiver's auction Sept. 19, was unorthodox.

"The willingness of all the parties to engage in these discussions to look at a solution that benefits all is greatly appreciated," said Gill. "We're presenting an opportunity . . . go to the full story on the Post-Crescent website: www.postcrescent.com/story/news/2017/10/05/appleton-coated-sale-like-death-family-worker-says-after-thursday-ruling/735928001/

SOURCE: Post-Crescent Appleton