Canadian Manufacturing

Brookfield to sell controlling stake in NB forest products company

Blue Wolf Capital Partners, Atlas Holdings expect to take controlling interest in about three weeks

EDMUNDSTON, N.B.—Two American investment firms are buying a controlling stake in Twin Rivers Paper Company Inc., which operates mills in New Brunswick and Maine.

Blue Wolf Capital Partners and Atlas Holdings announced they expect to close the deal with Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. in about three weeks.

Financial details were not disclosed and Brookfield, which confirmed it owns 51 per cent of Twin Rivers, declined to comment further.

The New Brunswick government is a general partner and creditors of the company that emerged in 2010 from the bankruptcy filing of Fraser Paper own a minority interest.

Twin Rivers, with about 1,200 employees, is an integrated specialty paper company that manufactures packaging, label and publishing products with mill operations in Madawaska, Maine, and Edmundston, N.B.

It also has a lumber sawmill operation in Plaster Rock, N.B.

New Brunswick Premier David Alward said the province was “excited to have new partners such as Atlas and Blue Wolf invest in the province and commit to growing this operation and working with us as we continue to rebuild our economy.”

“The local communities and our entire forest sector value the jobs and role that Twin Rivers plays,” Alward said.

The New York-based investment firms have already invested jointly in a pulp mill in Pictou, N.S., and in an integrated pulp and paper business in Glens Falls, N.Y.

Separately, Atlas employs about 5,000 people at 30 locations in North America, Europe and Asia while Blue Wolf owns seven U.S. companies.

“Twin Rivers produces specialty papers and lumber products that are well regarded throughout the industry,” Blue Wolf managing partner Adam Blumenthal said in a statement.

“Our plan is to build on these strengths as we seek to position the operations for long-term success and as a key contributor in the revitalization of the forest products sector in Maine and New Brunswick.”

Tim Fazio, managing partner of Atlas Holdings, said that with the support and guidance of his firm and Blue Wolf, “we believe we can provide Twin Rivers with additional resources to address its capital needs, cost structure, market exposure and other critical operational challenges presented by the highly competitive forest products industry.”

Dave Coles, president of the Canadian Energy and Paperworkers Union, which represents workers at Twin Rivers operations in Edmundston and Plaster Rock, praised the development.

“We have long represented workers at companies owned by Atlas and Blue Wolf and we know them to be thoughtful and creative investors who are committed to the industry,” Coles said.

“We will work with the new ownership to protect jobs and pensions for our active and retired members.”

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