Bankruptcy judge approves Wisconsin company's purchase of shuttered Maine paper mill

Industrials Associated Press

A bankruptcy court judge on Friday approved the $10.5 million sale of a shuttered paper mill to a Wisconsin company that wants to reopen it and bring back about 200 workers by year's end.

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Expera Specialty Solutions of Kaukauna said it plans to reopen the Old Town Fuel & Fiber mill once it closes on the deal.

The current owners cited high operating costs and foreign competition when the mill furloughed about 200 workers and suspended operations in August.

Expera, which owns four paper mills in Wisconsin, contends it can strengthen the Old Town operation because it's financially strong and stable with growing markets. The Old Town mill, which has been operating for more than 100 years, is capable of producing more than 200,000 tons of pulp.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Louis Kornreich in Bangor approved the transaction, which calls for Expera to purchase for $7.3 million in cash and $3.2 million later. The judge's order said the deal was "in the best interests of the debtor's estate, its creditors, and other parties."