Cate Street Capital to begin Millinocket and East Millinocket mills restart preparations Monday

BY RAMONA DU HOUX

September 17th, 2011 

The sale of the Katahdin region mill properties could put 200-250 people back to work by mid-October in the Millinocket area.

Officials from the State of Maine, Cate Street Capital and Brookfield Asset Management, the Toronto-based corporation that owns the two Katahdin region paper mills met in Portland Friday morning to finalize the sale which closed in escrow effectively turning over the Millinocket and East Millinocket mills immediately to Cate Street Capital. The closing in escrow means that Cate Street Capital will take over the mills at considerable financial risk, while it awaits the transfer of environmental permits from the previous owner which, by statute, cannot occur until September 27. A final closing is expected before the end of September.

“We have a proud tradition of papermaking in the region that has been around since my father and grandfather worked in the mills. So many in this region have worked hard to bring it back, and despite the sale and the announcement of hires, there are many that remain without work. While this isn’t a solution to all of our challenges, it’s clearly an important and positive step in the right direction that we can work to build on moving forward,” said Congressman Mike Michaud, a former papermaker at Great Northern Paper “I’d like to thank the Maine Legislature and the Governor for their support of the landfill legislation that helped pave the way for this purchase.”

This spring, Brookfield Asset Management announced they were closing the Millinocket paper mill.

Cate Steet Capital, a national leader in developing green technology and renewable energy companies, is headquartered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The company focuses on finding and supporting green technologies and environmentally sustainable projects for a better world.

“We are grateful to the State, the communities of East Millinocket and Millinocket, and the mill employees who have all put a lot of hard work and faith into the mills’ rebirth,” said Richard Cyr, Cate Street Capital Sr. Vice President. “We still have a great deal of work ahead of us to meet our orders by October 30, but we are very confident in the team of experienced papermakers we are bringing back. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves, re-starting papermaking, and exploring potential opportunities to introduce exciting new technologies to the region moving forward.”

The name of the mills new operating company will be Great Northern Paper, which Cyr says is a respectful nod to the original Great Northern Paper which owned and built up the mills for decades during the 1900s. Cyr, who will serve as Great Northern Paper’s CEO, says the company will enter into a transitional period at the East Millinocket mill next week in preparation to restart the facility to fill virgin newsprint orders due for shipping by the end of October. The Millinocket mill’s restart will be dictated by market demand.

Since January, Michaud has remained in constant contact with state, local, and federal officials to do everything he can to make sure that papermaking in the region continued. In April, Michaud spoke on the House floor about the situation surrounding the paper mills in the Katahdin region and the need for the U.S. to support a national manufacturing strategy and a new trade policy that focuses on the needs of domestic workers and businesses. In June he encouraged the Maine Senate to pass LD 1567 , which authorized the state to take action on the landfill in the town of East Millinocket.