Unidentified paper company withdraws from negotiations to acquire NewPage's Kimberly, Wisconsin, facility; plan to convert mill's machines was not cost-effective, says administrator

LOS ANGELES , April 28, 2011 () – An unidentified company reported to have been developing a deal with NewPage for the acquisition of its Kimberly, Wisconsin, plant, has backed out after its business plan fell through.

The paper manufacturer had been in talks with NewPage for six months over its plan to buy the mill, which closed in 2008 with the loss of 500 jobs, according to a report by WBAY-TV.

Administrator Rick Hermus said the news was "really a kick in the gut," as the company was the only one with any real interest in the facility. He said the company had explored possibilities with other interested parties for years, but to no avail.

Hermus said he was told the potential buyer's business plan did not receive final approval from its board of directors as the plan to convert the machines in the mill was not cost-effective for the company. "Our understanding was they had an OK deal with NewPage for the purchase. It was the conversion of the machines that the business plan couldn't support," he said.

Hermus added that the deal was the last ditch effort to get the mill back up and running, and from this point he could not say what would happen to the mill. He described the situation as "scary."

Former NewPage employee Ron Kons said people had been kept waiting on edge of their seats hoping that the mill would start up, but would now have to forget about it.

A NewPage spokesperson said a number of people were interested in the mill but would not identify them.

Hermus said NewPage was not sharing its forward vision for the plant, which is currently maintained by a skeleton crew.

The primary source of this article is WBAY-TV, Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 28, 2011.

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