Head of Bucksport mill buyers says he's skeptical of 3 firms that say they would keep it open

IndustrialsAssociated Press

The head of a firm that intends to buy a shuttered Bucksport, Maine, paper mill says he will be skeptical about three companies interested in purchasing and reopening the facility until they offer prices.

AIM Development LLC intends to buy the Verso mill in Bucksport, which Verso Paper Corp. closed last month and plans to sell to the Canadian metal recycler. Minimill Technologies Inc. of Syracuse, New York, Fibre Technologies of Reading, Pennsylvania, and Mumbai-based Kejriwal Singapore International have said they want to buy the facility and resume production.

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AIM head Herbert Black said his company is "open to offers if people have money" but otherwise "I refuse to engage with them." He said his firm plans to sell off the mill piecemeal, but declined to go into further specifics.

"I'm the seller of anything and everything at a price, but if you don't have any money it doesn't really matter what the price is," Black said.

The three potential buyers have emerged in the past few days. Fibre Technologies owner Robert Pederzani expressed his interest in sent a letter to a federal judge who is considering a union's antitrust lawsuit that seeks to block the sale to AIM. Pederzani's letter says the firm "would be very interested in an opportunity to evaluate the Bucksport mill."

U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock is urging the potential buyers, the mill and the state to work out a deal. Woodcock called a Tuesday morning hearing at U.S. District Court in Bangor to discuss the mill case. John Carr, a spokesman for the union that filed the antitrust suit, said the union will "anxiously await any invitation from Verso and the state and we'd like to sit down with both of those parties at any time."

A lawyer for Verso declined to comment. The facility, located 120 miles northeast of Portland, employed more than 500 people before its closure.