NewPage selling cogeneration assets

RUMFORD — The cogeneration energy facility at NewPage Corp. in Rumford has been sold to a New York integrated biomass waste-fuel company.

Eileen M. Adams/Sun Journal

NewPage paper company has sold its cogeneration facility assets at its Rumford mill to a New York-based company.

The selling price is $61 million.

The effect on the local mill is not yet known by Local 900 union President Matt Bean.

“We need more information on that. It's in the very early stages,” he said Thursday afternoon.

Local mill spokeswoman Janet Hall said the transaction has been in the works for a while.

“No job losses are anticipated,” she said.

She declined to provide further details.

The announcement was made in a news release from the NewPage home office in Miamisburg, Ohio. Phone calls to the Ohio office for comment were not returned.

According to the release, ReEnergy Holdings LLC, of Latham, N.Y., is buying the cogeneration energy assets in the Rumford mill.

ReEnergy Holdings LLC is a recently formed company by multibillion dollar corporation, Riverstone Holdings LLC, which has offices in New York, London and Houston.

According to the release, the transaction is expected to provide a longtime symbiotic relationship between the Rumford mill and ReEnergy.

“ReEnergy will operate the acquired assets to provide energy to the Rumford mill in the form of electricity and thermal energy. In turn, Rumford's pulp and papermaking process will supply ReEnergy with sustainable biomass fuel needed to operate the cogeneration assets,” according to the release.

The release and ReEnergy's website said the company focuses on renewable energy. It currently owns a 31 megawatt tire-to-energy facility in Sterling, Conn., and two construction and demolition waste and waste wood facilities in Epping and Salem, N.H.

Riverstone was formed in 2000 and is an energy and power private equity firm with investments in gas, oil and renewable energy.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close sometime in mid-2011, according to the release.

NewPage owns plants in Maine, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nova Scotia.

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It's a contract year for the Rumford mill. What the workers and the town does not fathom yet is that New page is an investment company. If you remember the movie Pretty Woman the investment company buys a corporation and then sells it off in pieces to make a profit for it's investors. The writing has been on the wall for years. They could shut what remains down in a heart beat without batting an eye. Then what would this town do. The taxes would rise for sure because of the loss tax revenue. Now what happens to level of service that the department heads seem to use as fear tactic to keep their budget requests higher than they should be. Mr. Belanger has warned of such happenings since he has been in office. I got voted out of office by the big spenders. You have some finance members who, along with the remaining selectboard and manager, that don't realize yet that this town cannot afford higher taxes. Somehting has to be done. Yet they won't consider sitting down with the towns of Dixfield and Mexico for the betterment of all three and talk town merger the rescuing of of three before the bottom falls out. Wise up citizens . All for one and one for all is the way to go.

Jarrod Dumas's picture

I agree

Good morning,
I agree with most of what Mr. Diconzo has said above. This news story is a bit disturbing, because, while ReEnergy's press release talks a good game about symbiosis, I think anyone who's been watching changes at the Rumford mill over the last 10 years or so realizes that NewPage isn't putting in to the area, but taking out and selling off. Mr. Diconzo is also correct to say that, should the mill close, the current level of services would not be sustainable for the community.
I believe, however, that characterizing people who want to maintain the current level of services, or who would like to try and provide services to the people of the community even if it requires tightening our belts, as "big spenders" is too simple. I think most people on the board, and those on the finance committee, understand the reality of the situation; they are not stupid people. They understand the bigger picture, and what the services in town mean to the community. Just like honest politicians at the national level warn of the dangers of reducing spending too quickly, we should have an honest discussion about how to gradually step things back without pulling the rug out from under people who utilize services, or depend on them to earn a living. Whether people like it or not, there are probably almost as many people in the area who work for the public sector as the private sector now. So, I appreciate Mr. Diconzo's concern for the community and the taxpayer. I believe his intentions are honorable, and he is interested in helping us realize savings before we face an even more dire fiscal situation. I simply hope we can all see the full picture, communicate, and work together.
To Mr. Diconzo's point about consolidating services between Mexico and Dixfield, I agree that this is something we should be considering. These kinds of changes are always compromises, of course, and would require some kind of "give-and-take" on everyone's part, but this is absolutely something that could help realize efficiencies over time.


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