Local community reacts to sale of paper mill - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Local community reacts to sale of paper mill


A Wisconsin community is reacting after a billion dollar sale of three paper mills. On Monday, Verso Paper announced that it has purchased NewPage. That includes its mills in Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, and Biron.

"This is the third sale in fifteen years," said Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink.

"It does put a little bit of concern in the hearts," said Melissa Reichert, director of Wisconsin Rapids Chamber of Commerce.

The Tennessee based paper company bought NewPage for close to $1.5 billion. Right now NewPage employs more than 1,700 workers in Wisconsin.

"For 100 years its provided a ton of economic opportunity and prosperity for our community," said Vruwink.

So what does this sale mean to those employees? According to Verso Paper President and CEO, David Paterson, nothing bad. In a statement, Paterson says the company does not plan to close any mills or cut any jobs.

"The combination of Verso Paper and NewPage will create a stronger business that is better positioned to serve our customers and compete in a competitive global marketplace," said Paterson.

A NewPage spokeswoman agrees.

"NewPage and Verso will work together to ensure a smooth transition for stakeholders of both companies," said NewPage Director of Communications Shawn Hall in a news release.

That has local leaders are on board.

"Combining them gives us faith that there's more credit backing them, and they're in a stronger financial position long term," said Vruwink.

The sale is expected to take months to finalize. Community leaders here say they'll keep a close eye on it. When the sale does close, the new company will have 11 manufacturing plants in six states.


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