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MRP close on buyer

NATCHEZ — The chance that Mississippi River Pulp will have a buyer in the new year is making “steady progress,” according to Natchez Inc. Director Chandler Russ.

The local economic development group has been working with MRP to find a buyer for its Majorca Road location in Adams County since the company shut down its recycled fiber plant Oct. 31 after 21 years of a factory operating in that capacity.

Russ had previously said two potential buyers were looking at the facility, one with established roots in the recycled pulp industry and one that was looking to get started in the business. Wednesday he said one prospect was moving forward but that he could not specify which one.

“We are making significant progress with one of our clients,” Russ said.

“We are excited about our client and its potential, and we are working through our closing documents on it, but until we get everything signed we will have to remain confidential on it.”

The sale could be closed toward the end of January, Russ said.

“Between getting everything done and papered up, (late January) is a guess based on how these things go,” he said.

MRP announced eight days before the final day of work for the 79 impacted employees that it would be shutting down the Natchez plant. In a news release from its owners and management, the company stated that despite its best efforts to find a wider market after buying Mississippi River Corporation in 2010, they had not been able to find enough demand to keep the facility open. MRP bought MRC approximately three months after MRC filed for bankruptcy.

Before the closure, MRP spent several months looking for buyers of the property, and has continued the effort to sell it even after shutting down the plant.

When the facility shut down, employees said the plant had been idle for approximately a week following a 15-day production run.

The Majorca Road factory was originally opened as a Diamond International factory, and produced fiber-based products such as egg cartons.