Northern Wisconsin mill sale falls apart, now heading for liquidation

The state's paper business continues to face challenges

The sale of the Park Falls paper mill to Element Ventures, a new company, has fallen through, according to the Park Falls Review.

Rebecca DeMarb, the receiver in the court case that is charged with resolving the mill’s financial problems, will seek court approval on Nov. 4 to a plan that would allow for the liquidation of the business. She said she hopes that a viable plan to operate the business will emerge.

The mill has operated on a limited basis during 2019. It had employed as many as 200 people.

The mill's owner announced that a trustee was operating the mill while Flambeau River Paper positions it for sale.

The company had closed one of the mill’s three production lines early last year and laid off 82 employees. Spokesman Aaron Johnson said that a second line is likely to be closed, but no layoffs were expected occur for a couple of months.

The remaining line will be dedicated to making value-added and specialty paper that has a stronger demand pattern. In contrast, sales of U.S. offset paper and other commodity papers are declining while imports of the same types of paper are increasing.

The company’s actions will occur under the Wisconsin law governing voluntary debt consolidation.

Park Falls Mayor Michael Bablick said the mill was the center of economic activity in the city, and is a major customer for the local electrical utility.

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