Major hurdle clears in sale of Catalyst

Competition Bureau decision sides with Paper Excellence and Powell River mill

A significant step has been made in the acquisition of Catalyst Paper Corporation by Paper Excellence Corporation (PEC) and the future of the Powell River mill.

According to a media release from PEC, on Thursday, February 7, the Canadian Competition Bureau issued a no-action letter in respect of Paper Excellence’s previously announced agreement to acquire Catalyst.  

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"All transactions over a certain dollar threshold are automatically reviewable by the Competition Bureau for potential anti-competitive effects," said PEC director of corporate communications, Kathy Cloutier.  "In that regard, this deal was no different than any other."

The transaction involves the purchase of all of the shares of Catalyst, including mills in Powell River, Port Alberni and Crofton, a distribution centre in Surrey and headquarters in Richmond, BC. 

“Once finalized, this acquisition confirms Paper Excellence’s position as a key player within Canada’s forest industry and will benefit all of the stakeholders involved, including our employees, suppliers, customers, the communities where we operate, as well as the pulp and forest products industries,” stated chief executive officer Brian Baarda in the release.

PEC is the largest pulp producer in Canada with three facilities in BC at Howe Sound, Skookumchuck and Mackenzie, as well as Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia, and two mills in France.

The sale of Catalyst was announced in October 2018 and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019 between Paper Excellence and the three principal shareholders: Oaktree Capital Management, LP, Mudrick Capital Management, LP, and Cyrus Capital Partners, LP.

The transaction is still subject to the satisfaction or waiver of remaining customary closing conditions.

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