Port Alice pulp mill creditors unlikely to get paid, trustee says

The bankrupt mill owner owes at least $272 million

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), acting trustee for the closed Port Alice pulp mill Neucel Specialty Cellulose, says unsecured creditors should not expect to be paid.

Neucel was forced into bankruptcy this April after all but disappearing from Port Alice, leaving hazardous chemicals, millions in debt and hundreds of unemployed workers behind. Neucel vacated the mill in February 2019, and soon after the province had to step in to address hazardous waste which was at risk of leeching into the inlet.

The province submitted four bills for the clean-up to Neucel, which did not respond. Based on that, the court approved a bankrupcty order, assigning PWC as the bankruptcy trustee and receiver.

In a May 19 report, PWC outlined priority creditors, starting with the province which is owed $13.5 million, plus accruing interest. Second in line is Neucel’s parent company Fulida Holdings Canada, a member of Chinese-based Fulida Group, which claims $235 million.

The last secured creditor is Unifor Local 514, which is trying to collect $21 million in unpaid wages to former employees of the mill.

PWC wrote in its report that “there is no prospect of any recovery to the unsecured creditors.” This includes the municipality of Port Alice which entered a claim for $1.8 million in oustanding taxes.

For now, the massive, derelict mill site sits silent, guarded 24/7, paid for by the province.

READ MORE: Dormant Northern Vancouver Island pulp mill declares bankruptcy, owes $272 million

READ MORE: Neucel Specialty Cellulose lays off remaining workers, no written notice given

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca.


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