Appleton Coated files for receivership petition

    Appleton Coated LLC in Combined Locks, August 22, 2017. (WLUK/Chris Bourassa)

    APPLETON (WLUK) -- An Appleton-area company is seeking a buyer after it filed a state petition for receivership.

    Appleton Coated, LLC, located on Prospect Street in Combined Locks, filed the petition last week.

    The filing will allow the company to continue operations while looking for a new buyer.

    Appleton Coated senior vice president, Ann Whalen, said the demand for paper is going down. She says that's because much of what they make has gone digital.

    "This overcapacity is resulting in falling prices and operating losses for our company as well as many companies for our paper industry," Whalen said.

    Whalen said instead of shutting down, the company decided to continue operating while it looks for a new buyer. A Milwaukee attorney will oversee the receivership process, "There has been a lot of interest and we're just getting into heavy meetings with interested parties. I don't' have a specific number yet."

    The company's bank will still fund operations during the receivership, but how long that could last for is still unknown. If the paper mill can't find a buyer, 620 people may be out of a job. However, even if the mill finds a new owner, the decision to keep those employees is up to the buyer.

    "It not only affects the employees directly but lots of suppliers of raw materials and services to the mill as well, so it has a big impact to the community," said Whalen.

    Outagamie County executive, Tom Nelson, agreed, saying the mill has been a major part of the region.

    "If you were to look at the workforce, it draws from all over, predominantly from Outagamie County, some from Calumet County, Brown County perhaps," Nelson said. "So this is a driver industry, it is a big part of why the Fox Valley is the Paper Valley."

    The future for Appleton Coated may be uncertain, but Whalen believes the diversifying paper machines and products in the mill will result in a happy ending.

    Whalen said, "We're pretty optimistic that the process will culminate in a buyer."

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