PaperAge Magazine

Investment Group in Talks with Resolute Forest Products to Acquire and Restart Fort Frances Mill

Fort Frances paper mill Repap Resources Group, an investment firm, hopes to buy the shuttered Fort Frances pulp and paper mill in Ontario and convert its production from groundwood printing papers to packaging grades, i.e. sack kraft papers.

Dec. 17, 2018 - The Mayor of Fort Frances (Ontario, Canada) announced that an investment firm, Repap Resources Group, is interested in buying Resolute Forest Products' shuttered Fort Frances paper mill and restarting the mill in 2019.

“We look forward to assisting Repap Resources Group in their bid to purchase the Fort Frances paper mill. Returning 263 new jobs in the Rainy River District is remarkable. It will not only reunite families will also provide long term opportunities for our youth. We thank Repap Resources Group for their interest in investing in the future of Fort Frances,” said Mayor June Caul.

According to the Mayor's office, Repap Resources Group is a private investment group that is partnering with 4Front Capital Partners Inc., an investment bank in Toronto. Repap's management team consists of professionals with more than 180 years of combined senior executive experience in the pulp and paper industries.

Repap plans to produce packaging grades (sack kraft papers) from the mill.

Resolute Forest Products announced the permanent closure of the Fort Frances pulp and paper mill in May of 2014. Resolute had idled the mill's last operating paper machine (PM 5) three months earlier. The machine had been producing groundwood specialty printing papers. The kraft pulp mill and another paper machine had been idled since November of 2012.

Resolute, however, committed to heat 'critical areas' of the mill at the request of the Government of Ontario in order to protect the assets.

Mayor Caul's office said that in addition to working out a deal with Resolute to buy the mill, Repap will have to successfully negotiate with the Province, access to the fiber currently assigned to the Fort Frances mill from the local Crossroute Forest.

The Mayor's Office noted that in 2016, Resolute identified enough fiber was available to operate the Fort Frances mill during negotiations with another potential buyer.

SOURCE: The Town of Fort Frances