Louisiana Paper Mill May Get New Owner

Renew Paper mill near St. Francisville, which filed for bankruptcy after a dispute with a contractor, could be sold as early as April, according to court filings.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- The Renew Paper mill near St. Francisville, which filed for federal bankruptcy protection following a dispute with a contractor, could be sold as early as April, according to court filings.

West Feliciana Acquisition LLC bought the mill, formerly operated by Tembec Inc., and 610 acres for $16 million last year. But a payment fight with Fluor Enterprises Inc., a contractor hired to renovate and help manage the mill, resulted in Fluor placing $46 million in liens against the property -- and the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in January.

The mill has been idled, at least temporarily eliminating about 200 jobs.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Douglas Dodd has scheduled an April 9 hearing to review bids.

Steve Jones, executive director of the West Feliciana Community Development Foundation, said Tuesday that several parties have expressed interest in buying and operating the mill. His office is actively marketing the property to find an owner who would operate the mill.

"It's the parish's desire that the company that acquires this would be an operating company that would be in the timber industry, simply because there's so much (forestry) infrastructure in the region," Jones said.

Canada-based Tembec closed the mill in 2007, eliminating about 540 jobs. The mill reopened in July as Renew Paper, focusing on cardboard and paper bag products. Tembec formally used the mill to produce such items as coffee filters and coated paper.

The new owner spent about $36 million restarting the plant.

More in Operations