NORPAC auction ‘significantly’ bids up price

Special Reports

NORPAC plans to announce outcome Wednesday afternoon

The NORPAC Foods plant in Stayton. (Google Maps)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Amid competing offers, representatives for the Oregon farmers’ cooperative NORPAC conducted an auction for its Quincy, Washington plant Tuesday evening, the outcome of which the company plans to report to bankruptcy court Wednesday afternoon.

After years of financial troubles, NORPAC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August, and announced plans to sell most of its assets to Oregon Potato Company for $155.5 million. But the buyer pulled out, complaining NORPAC hadn’t provided necessary documents to complete its due diligence on the transaction.

In November, Oregon Potato made a new offer to purchase just NORPAC’s Quincy plant and its related assets for about $94 million. That would leave the Brooks, Salem and Stayton facilities unspoken for.

However, according to NORPAC attorney Albert Kennedy, the company received a letter of intent from Lineage Logistics to purchase the Oregon facilities for $49 million. Lineage Logistics would possibly lease the Brooks and Salem plants to Oregon Potato, Kennedy said during Tuesday’s bankruptcy court hearing. The Stayton facility was not mentioned.

In the meantime, the J.R. Simplot Company, a large agricultural business based in Boise, Idaho, submitted a competing offer for the Quincy plant.

Kennedy said the debtor’s main issue with Simplot is that its proposal would take longer to close than the Oregon Potato deal, resulting in continued deterioration in the assets. Kennedy also mentioned that, if Oregon Potato was the successful bidder, there would be lease transactions for the Brooks and Salem facilities. The judge asked a representative of Simplot if the company was willing to make a similar proposal. Simplot said they would consider it but that, as of Tuesday, they were not prepared to make that offer.

At the end of Tuesday’s hearing, NORPAC conducted an auction for the Quincy assets during which the price was bid up “significantly,” Albert said. NORPAC planned to conclude the bidding Tuesday night, and return to court Wednesday afternoon to report the outcome.

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