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Travels with Larry Archive

New Buyer Surfaces for Closed Wausau Mill

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Wausau Paper's mill in Brainerd, Minn., USA, reportedly has a possible buyer, according to several area newspaper reports, but city officials have not yet released the suitor's name. The Brainerd mill, which produced specialty and tape papers, closed this past April, putting some 130 workers out of work.

City administrator Theresa Goble told the Brainerd Dispatch this past week that local officials will soon meet with the potential buyer "to discuss options or alternatives that might be available to facilitate the return of the mill to productive operations."

City Councilman Gary Scheeler said in the newspaper article that "we hope it works out with the potential buyer. To put a business in this plant would be extremely good news for the area. It's too early to tell exactly what the outcome will be."

The city has placed its own bid on the plant's 2.5 MW hydroelectric dam, which is being sold separately from the facility itself, and both sides are now finalizing the deal. Goble said the purchase price is not public information yet.

Wausau Paper closed the non-integrated, single-machine mill after spending $28 million on an additional capacity and upgrade project that was to help the operation turn out more and higher quality masking tape base paper (unsaturated tape-backing paper) as well as food and industrial papers, according to RISI, which added that the upgrade of PM 7 was completed in 2011. After shifting the company's focus to tissue paper earlier this year, Wausau sold its two other specialty and technical paper mills in Wisconsin to Expera Specialty Solutions, and permanently shut its Brokaw, Wis., uncoated free sheet paper mill last year. Wausau Paper had acquired the Brainerd mill for $9.4 million in 2004.


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