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Industrial Assets completes purchase of Appleton Coated

COMBINED LOCKS, Wisconsin (From news reports) -- Industrial Assets Corp. has dotted every i and crossed every t.

On Tuesday, it became the new owner of essentially all of the assets of Appleton Coated.

The paper mill went into receivership in August and was auctioned Sept. 19 to the lone bidder, Industrial Assets Corp., for $21.5 million. The mill shut down and most of its 620 employees were laid off.

After three hearings in Outagamie County court, Judge Gregory Gill approved the sale on Oct. 5 and the purchase closed Tuesday.

At the final hearing, the mill was said to be put in "hot idle position" with a reduced staff while Industrial Assets markets it for 90 days with the intention of finding a buyer to continue mill operations.

The mill primarily manufactured coated, uncoated and specialty papers.

Industrial Assets is a California-based corporation specializing in capital financing acquisition and sale of distressed manufacturing companies.

"Industrial Assets and its partner Maynards Industries are uniquely suited to find the perfect strategic buyer, most likely in the growing packaging grade sector, that will keep the paper mill running and employing members of this community for years to come," said Steven Mattes, CEO of Industrial Assets, in a prepared statement.

"This mill's infrastructure is one of the most desirable that we have seen with a 50 (megawatt) cogeneration system which will provide low-cost energy, on-site rail service, landfill, water treatment and all permits in place for an immediate restart for a domestic or foreign buyer," he said.

"We have been approached by several large corporations seeking to operate the manufacturing site including a new tissue machine project. We believe the site is also ideal for a co-operative arrangement sharing facilities running noncompetitive grades of paper on this 55-acre site with 1.2 million square feet under roof. Our company's internal financing programs and leasing opportunities will provide the wherewithal for both large and small manufacture(s) to take advantage of this unique situation," Mattes said.

Maynards Industries previously worked with Industrial Assets on large-scale projects and mill sales in the paper industry.

"The trim widths of the three paper machines are ideal to serve the corrugating and packaging industry and the Jagenberg offmachine coater-laminator is especially distinct to produce linerboard for the high-end graphics segment of commodity packaging," said Taso Sofikitis, CEO and president.

"We look forward to continuing to work closely with Industrial Assets and their partners to secure a strategic buyer for this mill and to reemploy as many people in Combined Locks as possible," said Doug Osterberg, president and CEO of Appleton Coated LLC.

He said the mill has been in Combined Locks for almost 130 years, and "is well suited for many, many more years."

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