Rentech land deal postponed

Published 3:36 pm Wednesday, March 26, 2008

NATCHEZ — Come Friday, International Paper will still own their old factory site — Rentech and Adams County will have gained nothing.

The land transaction between Adams County, Rentech and IP, originally scheduled for March 28, has been postponed.

Rentech’s vice president for corporate and government communications, Tom Sayles, said the transaction is instead expected to close within 30 to 60 days.

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“Adams County, International Paper and Rentech are diligently working to close the transaction; however there are issues that need to be clarified and resolved before all parties will be prepared to close the transaction,” Sayles said in a written statement.

Chairman of the Natchez- Adams County Development Authority Woody Allen said the issues to be resolved deal with mineral rights on the IP site.

To circulate the necessary legal documentation to all mineral rights owners, approximately 12-15, by Friday was not possible Allen said.

“Logistically it’s impossible,” he said.

Those owning the mineral rights are scattered throughout the South, Allen said.

But Allen remains optimistic the deal will still happen.

“Right now, everything we’re doing is moving toward the closing,” he said.

Approximately two weeks ago mineral rights issues popped up and looked as if they might hinder the closing.

However, most people closely involved with the closing said issues, like the ones currently arisen, are par for the course with large land closures.

Attorney Bob Latham, specially hired to handle the transaction for the county, said the problems causing the most recent postponement don’t involve the county.

“It’s an IP, Rentech issue,” he said.

Supervisor Thomas “Boo” Campbell said he was disappointed to learn of the delay.

Campbell also agreed with Latham’s perspective on the postponement.

“Right now it’s out of our hands,” he said.

Both Latham and Campbell said the county has done everything it was asked of it to facilitate the deal.

“Right now it’s just wait and see,” Campbell said.

On Friday Rentech was supposed to have taken ownership of a 475-acre parcel of land from IP.

Rentech is planning to build a chemical development plant on the old IP site.