Deal is dead. Pacific West Commercial Corp. will not be taking over NewPage Port Hawkesbury
Pacific West Commercial Corp. will not be completing its purchase of the NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill in Nova Scotia.
The deal fell apart when the Canada Revenue Agency did not approve the advanced tax ruling that would have seen Pacific West Commercial Corp. use a $1 billion tax credit to obtain low cost power from Nova Scotia Power in exchange for tax free dividends (read more about the rejected arrangement).
Statement from the Premier of Nova Scotia’s office:
Premier Darrell Dexter today, Sept. 21, responded with great disappointment on behalf of the people and businesses in Port Hawkesbury and the entire Strait region that Pacific West Commercial Corporation will not proceed with reopening the mill in that community.
“I know this news will be devastating to the workers and their families,” said Premier Dexter. “The province fought as hard as it could for those jobs because this government knows good jobs are the lifeblood of rural communities.
“There are some who would have been happy for us to turn our backs on those workers and their families the day it was announced that the mill would be idled. Even though we could not reach a deal in the end, I can proudly say that we did not abandon those people and we will not do so now either.”
The premier said that following the Canada Revenue Agency ruling, the province and Pacific West Commercial Corporation tried their best to find a way forward within the financial framework already announced.
“The negotiators have worked extremely hard this week to tie down those details,” Premier Dexter said. “But in the end the Canada Revenue Agency ruling made this an impossible situation to overcome. Every option identified exposed Nova Scotia taxpayers to too much risk and the province was not prepared to accept that.”
Premier Dexter noted that the employees took significant steps to set the mill up for restart on a competitive basis, and that Richmond County worked hard to arrive at a fair agreement on property taxes.
“Everyone had a role to play if this mill was going to reopen and be successful. The province took every reasonable step to keep this mill resale ready and facilitate the reopening.
“The key for Nova Scotia was that this mill operates for the long term and that the jobs be there for decades to come, not just a year or two.”
The premier said he will meet in the coming days with municipal officials and other community leaders to discuss transitional support for former workers, and those in the forestry sector.
“I believe there is significant potential to continue building a forestry sector that will support workers, their families and small businesses across this province,” Premier Dexter said.
“This is not the end. I said from the beginning that the province will stand with the Strait area, and just because an agreement was not reached doesn’t absolve us of that commitment.”
Since it was announced in August, 2011 that the NewPage Corporation would idle the mill, the province has focused its efforts on ensuring the mill remained ready for resale and a quick restart by maintaining the supply chain and keeping the necessary forestry infrastructure in place.
Statement from Pacific West Commercial Corp.
Over the past week, Pacific West Commercial Corporation has been involved in extensive discussions with the Government of the Province of Nova Scotia and other stakeholders regarding the planned restart of the Port Hawkesbury paper mill in the absence of an advance tax ruling from the Canada Revenue Agency. The tax ruling was a key condition to completion of the transaction and a critical factor in ensuring the economic viability of the mill. Without the tax ruling, the restart of the mill was made immensely more difficult.
Despite the best efforts and intentions of the Government of the Province of Nova Scotia and Pacific West, both parties have concluded that the impact of not having the advance tax ruling cannot be mitigated without unduly compromising the long-term competitive position of the mill and negatively affecting Nova Scotia taxpayers. Ronald Stern, Pacific West’s President, said “It is extremely disappointing for everyone involved in the year-long effort to restart the mill to realize that we have been unable to achieve our collective goal, and that our vision of a world class, competitive, paper manufacturer in Port Hawkesbury will not be realized. Notwithstanding this, we are deeply appreciative of the enormous efforts and commitments of all those involved, especially the Government of the Province
of Nova Scotia, the mill’s employees and the many local suppliers and other stakeholders who we hoped would be able to benefit from the restart of the mill. We regret that the impact of the absence of the tax ruling could not be overcome despite the collective efforts and contributions made by the many parties involved.”
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