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Four bidders in the running for NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill


November 1, 2011
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The list of bidders for the NewPage Port Hawkesbury paper mill has been whittled down from eight to four, a Halifax newspaper reported on Nov. 1.

The list of bidders for the NewPage Port Hawkesbury paper mill has been whittled down from eight to four, a Halifax newspaper reported on Nov. 1.

The court-appointed monitor, Ernst & Young, confirmed to the Chronicle Herald that discussions with the four firms had begun.

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The mill, located in Point Tupper, N.S., was placed under creditor protection last month. A sales process laid out in the court documents had allowed for a maximum of two bidders at this date. The sales process allows bidders until Nov. 14 to confirm or waive all remaining conditions, the Chronicle Herald reports. The monitor will choose the successful bidder by Nov. 21 and the purchase is expected to close by Dec. 12.

Paper Excellence, a Dutch company that has purchased several pulp mills in Canada in recent years, was reported to be one of the eight original bidders. Paper Excellence already owns a nearby mill in Nova Scotia, Northern Pulp Nova Scotia.

“We’ve expressed an interest in the mill and we’ve visited the facility,” Ed Roste, Paper Excellence’s Canadian vice-president of operations, told the Halifax newspaper.

“We’re trying to ascertain whether there is a business case there for us and we’re continuing to consider our options.”

Roste admitted that both the cost and availability of fibre in Nova Scotia has been an issue for the Northern Pulp mill.

The NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill produced newsprint and supercalendered paper. The supercalender machine is said to be one of the best in North America, but the mill was challenged by high electricity costs and a strong Canadian dollar.

According to industry analyst Kevin Mason, managing director of ERA Forest Products Research, quoted in the Chronicle Herald, the NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill would give Paper Excellence a foothold in the North American paper market. Paper Excellence is affiliated with the Sinar Mas Group of Indonesia and its subsidiary Asia Pulp & Paper. Asia Pulp & Paper is hindered in the United States market because of high tariffs on paper imported from China and Indonesia.


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