Delta-Energy Natchez shuts down operations; assets go to auction on Thursday

Published 4:41 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2023

NATCHEZ — Delta-Energy Natchez LLC, which leases a portion of the former International Paper Co. facility from Adams County, has shut down its operations here and laid off most of its employees.

At its high point, Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said the company employed approximately 74 workers.

Further, it has set an auction for Thursday, which it advertised publicly, to auction off equipment in the Natchez facility.

Email newsletter signup

The Adams County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday filed a Writ of Attachment and Complaint in Adams County Circuit Court against Delta-Energy Natchez LLC to ensure the company meets the terms of its lease with the county.

Part of its agreement with the county calls for it to notify county officials if it intends to terminate its contract with the county. The lawsuit, filed by county attorney Scott Slover, said the county has not been notified that the company has ceased to operate here.

Delta-Energy Natchez converted rubber chips from old tires and extracted chemical components from them, which were eventually used to create new tires. Bridgestone Americas, a tire manufacturer, is a partner in the business, along with majority owner Castleton Commodities.

Russ said Castleton decided to get out of that business.

“We have three or four entities who are looking to buy it and want to continue to operate and grow the business — add equipment and increase production,” he said. “I understand that Bridgestone, who is a partner in the business has full faith in the process and they are Delta-Energy’s main customer.”

Russ said if someone other than those who have been identified as wanting to continue to operate the business buys the equipment and “it ends up starting to be carved up, Delta has the responsibility to notify the county that it’s not going to operate and has some other obligations. We are a little nervous in that event. We don’t want the assets walking off without the firm commitment that they are going to make whole their obligations to the county.

“Best case scenario for us is that one of the three we are aware will purchase the business outright along with the facility lease agreement,” Russ said.

Among the obligations Delta-Energy Natchez has per its agreement with the county is to return the facility in a clean and useful state, he said, and the business must give the county one year’s notice before its lease agreement ends.

Delta-Energy Natchez pays the county $25,000 per month as a lease payment and they are not delinquent on any of those payments, Russ said.

“Regardless of what happens from here, the lease agreement has been good for the county. To date, Delta has paid its bills and has not been behind or delinquent in any way. The county has not been left yet holding the bag, so to speak. They have been in that facility for 10 years at $300,000 a year, and that money has gone straight to the county, in addition to taxes they pay on machinery and equipment,” Russ said.

Slover said he had no comment on the issue at this time.

Robert Kennedy, plant manager at Delta-Energy Natchez, did not return a phone message left for him Wednesday afternoon seeking comment.

Bob Genovese, who is still listed as president and CEO on the Delta-Energy Group website, is no longer with the company, a move that has taken place within the last few weeks, Russ said.