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The Final Word by Jim Thompson
Another shutdown paper mill is being revived by some developers (with a generous chunk of taxpayer money). I’ll spare the individuals involved embarrassment, only identifying that it is in the southern United States next to a large body of water.

Press releases focus on how many people this mill used to employ and what the payroll used to be. Absent from the narrative is any concern about whether the machinery in the mill is competitive or any discussion as to whether the mill can profitably make grades of paper anyone wants.

In one of the many iterations of this mill’s ownership, yours truly formally reported to a potential investor to not make any investments in this mill. Despite paying me for my advice, they did so anyway, much to their own disappointment a few years later.

Hope springs eternal in some of these old mills. And, sometimes (rarely), a new owner can make a go of a shutdown asset (usually if the former owner had so much overhead they were killing the mill). Most of the time, however, these exercises only end in failure.

I’ll be surprised if the fourth attempt at this particular mill is any more than another exercise in wasting taxpayer money and falsely raising the hopes of a community that knows no better.

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