Verso Corporation announced on May 17 the completion of the sale of the company’s closed mill in Duluth, Minnesota, to ST Paper 1, LLC, effective May 13, 2021.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are pleased to have found a buyer who plans to operate the Duluth Mill in the future, providing local employment opportunities and serving the local business community and residents of the Duluth area.” – said President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Nebel.
The converted plant is expecting to employ at least 80 people on a full-time basis. The mill employed more than 220 people before its closure last summer. Verso cited weakened demand for supercalendered paper — a type of stock often used for advertising circulars — in its decision to halt production both in Duluth and at another mill in Wisconsin Rapids.
Based on Duluth News Tribune’s website, ST Paper LLC intends to convert the mill’s production from specialty paper grades to tissue. The plant produced in the past graphic papers used for magazines, catalogues and retail inserts and packaging recycled kraft paper used for various bag, sack and converting applications.
“While the negotiations have been long and intense, all parties have focused on reopening the mill,” said Sharad Tak, founder and principal partner of ST Paper. “Our tissue-manufacturing business has been expanding for the last 15 years, continuing on that path, we hope to refurbish the existing machines in Duluth in two years’ time, in addition to installing a new tissue machine now and double the production capacity, resulting in a significant increase in local jobs.”
Bill Broydrick, a spokesman for ST Paper, said that it will likely take about 18 months to ship and install the equipment needed to convert the Duluth mill. But he said work on the plant is expected to begin very soon.
However, he stressed the importance of financial support the company expects to receive to make the $54 million project come to pass, the news article stated.