Nova Scotia

NewPage wins extension of creditor protection

NewPage Port Hawkesbury has been given a new deadline to try to seal a deal with a buyer for the idle paper mill.

NewPage Port Hawkesbury has been given a new deadline to try to seal a deal with a buyer for the idle paper mill.

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice approved the company's request for an extension of its creditor protection on Wednesday.

The court was told it would take until March 30, or possibly even longer, to satisfy the conditions under which Pacific West Commercial Corp. is prepared to buy the Cape Breton plant.

Matthew Harris, the court-appointed receiver overseeing the sale, said there are a number of steps ahead.

"It's going to take a number of weeks in order to complete an agreement with Pacific West Commercial Corporation, which may include a plan of arrangement and the need to obtain creditor approval," he told reporters.

"There will also likely be some sort of energy regulatory approval with the utility review board."

B.C.-based PWCC was awarded a tentative deal in January. It plans to operate the machine that makes glossy paper for magazines, but not the one that makes newsprint.

Harris said negotiations continue between PWCC, Nova Scotia Power Inc. and the provincial government to reduce energy costs. He said PWCC has not yet met with the union to discuss a new contract.

The NewPage plant closed in September, throwing about 1,000 people out of work. It struggled with rising fuel and electricity costs, a strong Canadian dollar and a decline in demand for paper.

PWCC is also known as Stern Partners Inc. The Vancouver investment firm also owns Alberta Newsprint Co. of Whitecourt, Alta., and West Linn Paper Co., an Oregon-based mill.

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