Governor John Lynch today applauded the purchase of the former Fraser Paper mill in Gorham by Patriarch Partners.
"This is a great day for Gorham and Berlin, the North Country and the entire State of New Hampshire. We did not give up hope, we did not quit and our hard work has paid off. I am extremely pleased that we were able work together to identify a buyer with a plan to keep the mill open. This mill is important to the North Country economy, and it's important that we keep our workers employed," Governor Lynch said. "We all must recognize it is because of the workers - and their skills and strong work ethic - that made this agreement possible."
"Patriarch is company with a successful track record and commitment to manufacturing, and we are very pleased they are choosing to invest in the hard working men and women of the North Country," Governor Lynch said.
"While this is a great day, it's just a step toward what we all hope will be a successful transaction that leads to the reopening of the mill. We cannot rest or celebrate until the paper machines are up and running and our people are back at work. I want to thank Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald and his team for continuing to work to find a buyer, and Patriarch for recognizing what assets this mill and these workers truly are," Governor Lynch said.
In September, Fraser Papers announced it would be shutting down the mill indefinitely on Oct. 13, after a potential purchaser could not secure sufficient financing. Since that time, the State of New Hampshire has been working with Fraser, local officials and potential buyers to find a way to keep the facility operating as a paper mill.
"I want to thank Governor Lynch and George Bald because without the state's help, I am sure the mill would have been torn down by now. Governor Lynch has been instrumental in keeping the mill open and we can't thank him enough," said Spanky Lozier, president of United Steel Workers Local 75, the union representing the mill workers. "I want to thank Lynn Tilton (Patriarch CEO) for purchasing the mill and keeping it operating as a paper mill and Willis Blevins (mill manager) for working with the state to find a buyer. The rollercoaster ride is done. I am happy to see former Fraser workers will be working again, and I can't wait to see smoke coming out of the stack and the machines up and running again."
Patriarch Partners is a global investment firm, which owns over 70 companies, and specializes in purchasing distressed businesses. Patriarch has been successful in purchasing failing mills, reopening them, and putting people back to work, including the Old Town Fuel & Fiber facility in Maine.
"While there is a lot of work to be done to restore this business, and it will take time to rebuild a mill that had been shuttered and left to liquidation, we are confident that we have a plan to achieve long-term success," said Lynn Tilton, founder and CEO of Patriarch. "Patriarch is committed to turning around distressed and dormant businesses with the dual goal of building portfolio value while sustaining and creating jobs in America. This acquisition presents an opportunity to achieve both goals as we rehire the mill's workforce and make the necessary investments and operational changes to return the company to long-term profitability."
"We are very appreciative of Patriarch Partners for their commitment to the North Country and their efforts to put 240 citizens back to work," said New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald. "With over 70 portfolio companies including many manufacturing firms, Lynn Tilton has an excellent track record and dedication to job creation. I also want to applaud Governor Lynch for his leadership in seeking a new buyer and the many state agencies that helped to make this deal a reality," said George Bald, Commissioner of the state Department of Resources and Economic Development.