The paper machine at the former Madison Paper Industries mill in Madison has been sold to a Chinese company for an undisclosed amount of money in a move the mill’s new owners say they’re hoping will open up the shuttered facility for redevelopment.

“The issue had been because the paper machine was there it would be hard for anyone to move in,” said Greg Schain, principal of New Mill Capital Holdings, one of three partners who purchased the mill in December. “Now the machine is being removed, I think it will be a lot easier for someone to envision the space. It’s a good building that’s wide open, obviously with a ton of power, space and infrastructure, so it would be a great place to operate.”

The Somerset County mill closed in 2016, putting about 215 people out of work.

New Mill Capital of New York is part of a partnership called Somerset Acquisition LLC that also includes Perry Videx of Hainesport, New Jersey, and Infinity Asset Solutions of Toronto.

UPM Madison President and CEO Russ Drechsel stands beside two finished rolls of paper in August 2015. The mill closed at the end of May 2016. The paper machine was sold in the summer of 2018 and is being moved to China.

The group is not disclosing how much the Valmet machine sold for or the name of the company that purchased it, said Ken Miller, vice president at Perry Videx.

The sale was completed in the summer and the company is moving the machine right now, a process Miller said will take three to four months.

The purchase is the third major investment by a Chinese company in a Maine paper facility in the past few weeks.

Jaime Broce of Somerset Acquisition LLC and manager of the former Madison Paper Industries mill in April 2017, gives tours of the mill and its assets, including the paper-making machine behind him that along with other mill assets is for sale as working equipment or, as a last resort, scrap. The mill closed at the end of May 2016. The paper machine was sold in the summer of 2018 and is being moved to China.

ND Paper, a subsidiary of industry giant Nine Dragons Paper, headquartered in Hong Kong, bought the Old Town pulp mill, which has been closed for nearly three years, earlier this month. The announcement came on the heels of ND Paper’s announcement that it would invest $111 million to increase efficiency at its Rumford paper mill. The investments, which are expected to create about 150 new jobs, have been hailed as evidence that Maine’s paper industry is climbing out of the doldrums that have hobbled it for the last decade.

A condition of the Madison sale was that the machine not be sold to a competitor of Madison Paper and not be used to produce supercalendered paper, the type of glossy magazine paper the mill produced for 38 years.

Some support equipment and the 550,000-square-foot building that used to house the mill remain for sale. Other items such as debarking equipment, log grinders, vacuum pumps and other industrial equipment were sold at an auction in June 2017.

“The paper machine was the big thing left, and now that’s being removed, most everything will be gone,” Schain said.

The building is listed with CBRE, a Portland real estate firm, for $2.5 million.

Several manufacturing companies have looked at the site, though Schain said he was bound by non-disclosure agreements from naming any of them.

UPM Madison employee Steve Sanborn operates equipment that lifted a huge roll of paper and transported it from one location to another inside the Madison mill on Aug. 20, 2015. The mill closed at the end of May 2016. The paper machine was sold in the summer of 2018 and is being moved to China.

“Whoever comes into the building, they’ll need to invest in it for their own operations,” he said. “They’ll need to customize it, bring in new machinery. It will be a process for whatever comes in, but it will be a long-term investment that will hopefully be there for many years.”

The town of Madison is in the process of applying for a grant through the Maine Rural Development Authority to fund a marketing and redevelopment plan, according to Town Manager Tim Curtis.

Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or [email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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