An order conditionally approving the sale of the Park Falls paper mill was approved by Price County Judge Kevin Klein following a hearing Thursday afternoon.
The order contains a bid by newly formed company Element Ventures, LLC to acquire the assets of the paper mill for an unknown purchase price.
Element Ventures filed as a business with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Aug. 29, 2019. The registered agent for the business is William E. Johnson Jr.
The sale agreement comes with one contingency that has yet to be worked out between the purchaser and LignoTech USA, Inc., a specialty chemicals company. Should the two companies be unable to come to an agreement and the sale falls through, another hearing will be held Sept. 30.
According to testimony during the hearing, the mill will cease production operations Sunday, Sept. 22, and will phase down the number of employees at the plant through the following week, with a small workforce keeping the facility ready to resume operations under new ownership.
It is expected all workers will be paid for time worked, according to testimony by a financial consultant for the mill.
“The court is confident that the proposed purchaser really is the only chance for the mill to be open and operating moving forward,” said Klein in closing remarks, adding he thought the timeframe for a completed sale is “encouraging.”
“The other thing that’s encouraging … is that despite all of the complications that have been explained on the record here today, a number of individuals representing a number of different entities with totally different interests have come together to say ‘yes this is a plan that can work going forward.’”
An expansion of this story will be included in next week's paper.