Catalyst on its own, says B.C. gov't
The B.C. government says it will not interfere in Catalyst Paper's business, after creditors voted down a debt restructuring plan May 23, putting the company in a position of having to sell its assets.
Although Catalyst CEO and President, Kevin Clarke, is trying to assure Crofton, Port Alberni and Powell River that the mills will continue to operate, many see the future as uncertain when it comes to long-term viability.
Still, B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, Pat Bell, told SunFM News that the government will not get directly involved.
“While the company is still in its restructuring attempts, it is not appropriate for government to step in with specific subsidies,” he insisted. “That was attempted in the Skeena Cellulose days back in the 1990s, but that did not work out well.”
The Skeena Cellulose paper mill was meant to be a major employer in Prince Rupert before it went under in 2001.
“The NDP government of the day put in half a billion dollars and of course that led to the eventual bankruptcy of that operation anyways.”
Bell said he is hopeful the pulp and paper industry will find new markets in Japan, Korea and China in the coming years with the help of the B.C. government’s forestry revitalization campaign.
Catalyst Paper is now in a Sale and Investor Solicitation Procedure (SISP), initiated through a stalking horse bid by the 2016 noteholders, which must offer at least $275 million for full ownership of the company. Other potential buyers may bid during the legal process scheduled to last 73 days from May 23.
Photo: B.C. Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell
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