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Paper mill still being marketed

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NEWTON FALLS — Newton Falls Fine Paper is still being marketed even though its parent company is liquidating the machinery from another mill it closed in Canada.

Security and heat in the building at Newton Falls will continue for a while, said Robert G. Patzelt, vice president of corporate development, Scotia Investments, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“We’ve got parties interested. We’re just waiting to hear back from them,” he said. “We were hoping to be further along than we are now. The process is still on-going. We’re still trying to sell the mill.”

The Newton Falls plant shut down in mid-December 2010 because of poor sales brought on by a recession and market changes. The plant had more than 100 employees when it closed. Only a handful remain.

The company was confident that a restart plan with a partner, different product lines and a refurbished plant would be successful, but instead President Scott W. Travers announced in August that the deal was dead and the mill would be sold.

In November, Scotia Investments also had bad news for Minas Basin Pulp and Power’s containerboard mill in Hantsport, Nova Scotia, which it is closing this month. In that case, 40 workers were transferred to a sister company, CKF, also in Hantsport, but the remainder of the 135 employees, in addition to Mr. Travers, lost their jobs.

In a memo to employees, Scotia President Archie W. MacPherson wrote that a restructuring of operations and workforce changes had failed to make the mill competitive.

On Tuesday, Minas Basin announced it had retained Can Am Machinery, Fitchburg, Mass., as a sales agent for the equipment at the Hantsport mill.

Clifton-Fine Economic Development Corp. President Christopher L. Westbrook said he remained hopeful that the Newton Falls mill would reopen.

“What I’ve been told is they would like to sell the plant as a whole,” he said.

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