Austrian firm profitable bidder on Klausner sawmill

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Klausner Lumber II will seek federal bankruptcy court approval next week for the sale of its Enfield facility to Binderholz, an international company, which was the successful bidder on the property Thursday, according to court records contained in the system’s online database.

According to its website, Binderholz is a family-owned company with headquarters in Fugen, a municipality in Austria, which has 13 other sites and around 3,000 employees.

It has five sites in Austria, five sites in Germany, two sites in Finland and two in the United States, which include Live Oak, Florida, and the location in Enfield.

The hearing will be held either by telephone or video conference before United States Bankruptcy Judge Karen B. Owens on December 17 at 10 a.m. at the courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware.

Court records show Binderholz is a limited liability company which is duly organized, validly existing in good standing under the laws of the state of Delaware and the parent company is a stock corporation in good standing under the laws of Austria.

According to the court documents, the purchase price is $83,400,000 in cash and on December 4 Binderholz deposited into an account maintained by an escrow holder an amount equal to $3.2 million.

Within three business days of the close of the auction the buyer is to supplement the initial deposit with an amount equal to 10 percent of the base amount.

The documents also spell out Halifax County government’s obligation at the time of closing, which include stipulations that the county deliver consent to the assignment of a railroad lease, consent to the assignment of a private sidetrack agreement and consent to the assignment of a pump station agreement.

At closing, the seller will deliver to the county the $4.6 million, an amount the county and Klausner agreed to in negotiations leading up to a court-approved settlement on the matter.

On Monday commissioners approved a resolution on the Klausner settlement which was approved by Owens last month.

The settlement, Commissioner Patrick Qualls said after the meeting Monday, puts the county at a break-even with the $4.6 million and the property taxes already paid.

Klausner was announced by former Governor Beverly Perdue in 2012 as an economic development project which would bring 350 jobs to Halifax County and represented what was to be a $130 million investment.

The motion by Klausner seeking approval of the settlement said the company was to be one of the first new sawmills built in the United States for some time. 

It was to use European technology “that would result in efficiencies of operations and production, and far greater utilization and less waste of raw materials,” and if successful would have brought a competitive advantage over domestic lumber mills. 

Construction of the sawmill began in 2014. 

Several setbacks and delays occurred during construction over the next several years, and the debtor’s sawmill never became fully operational, which caused a drain on liquidity, previous documents reviewed in the case show.

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