BRATTLEBORO, Vermont (From news reports) -- A Washington-based company says it has agreed to buy the Neenah Paper facility in Brattleboro by the end of the year and save 100 jobs that were imperiled by the facility's impending closure.
Ben Rankin, a principal at Long Falls Paperboard LLC, said he heard about the endangered status of the Brattleboro mill from the United Paper Workers Union a few weeks ago and acted quickly to buy it. The mill announced in October it would close.
"We have an agreement with Neenah to buy the plant on or before Dec. 31, and we are not aware of any obstacle to completing the purchase," Rankin said.
Acting under a different company name, Rankin was briefly involved in a $9 million offer for a bankrupt Carthage, N.Y., paper mill earlier this fall, according to the Watertown Daily Times in New York. The sale fell through.
Rankin declined to release any details about that company, Human Capital LLC, or offer further details about the upcoming purchase of the Brattleboro mill. Neenah is a publicly traded company based in Alpharetta, Georgia.
"They're sensitive about information being communicated that isn't accurate," Rankin said of Neenah. "The last thing we want to do is make our transaction with them uncomfortable in any way."
Rankin also declined to answer questions about the future of the mill. "That gets to the plans that I'm constrained from talking about right now," he said.
Rankin thanked Brattleboro Development Credit Corp. for its help in the transaction. Nobody at BDCC was available to comment late Monday. Vermont state officials weren't available to comment late Monday.
"We do already have a pretty steady presence at the mill, and the quality and commitment of the team at the mill is a big part of why we are buying it," Rankin said. "It sounds a little Pollyanna-ish but it's very sincere in this case; we like the folks in management and the dedication of the production crew. We don't see that everywhere."