Team Ten LLC completes purchase of Tyrone paper mill

Late yesterday afternoon, Team Ten LLC., and MeadWestvaco agreed to and signed the final documents to complete the purchase of the Tyrone mill that was formerly operated by MeadWestvaco.
When the mill closed on October 31, 1991, 265 people lost their jobs when MeadWestvaco consolidated operations shortly after the merger of the two paper giants. After nearly two years, the Tyrone mill has been sold to a group of local investors.
“We are very happy that we got it done,” said Team Ten president John Ferner. “This is what we have been working for. As a group we are very glad that it is behind us.”
Ironically, the closing on the sale was one year to the day that Team Ten LLC was formed.
There were some roadblocks between the announcement that MeadWestvaco was closing the mill and the day the documents were signed transferring control.
Before the deal was announced in July, there were obstacles in acquiring the funding to purchase the mill. The final piece in the investment puzzle came in a $3 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program.
In August, it looked like the deal might have been dead in the water because of a decision by Tyrone Borough Council. Team Ten officials asked for the same sewage capacity that was awarded to the former Westvaco facility. At the August 4 meeting of council, the vote was to only give 2 million gallons of capacity to Team Ten, not the 3 million requested by Team Ten. One week later, after nearly two hours in an executive session between council and Team Ten officials with Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation (ABCD) President Marty Marasco serving as the mediator, a compromise was reached in which Tyrone Borough allotted 2.5 million of sewage capacity to the new operators of the mill.
It was expected that the closing on the mill would take place in the next few days after the agreement between council and Team Ten, but there was another roadblock.
Team Ten President John Ferner said at the time, it was contract legalities that needed ironed out between Team Ten and MeadWestvaco. The ‘i’s’ were all dotted and the ‘t’s’ were all crossed and on Thursday, September 4, 2003 at 6 p.m., Team Ten LLC became the owners of the paper mill property.
“This group stuck together as a tight knit group,” said Ferner. “We ran into our fair share of road blocks that were difficult, but we overcame them.”
The new American Eagle Paper Mill hopes to get operating by late October or early November. Following the July announcement that the plant would be reopening, nearly 2,000 people applied for the 170 positions that will be available.
“The interview process will start immediately,” said Ferner. “We will start interviewing in a larger degree to get through the narrowing process. We hope to have a solid workforce ready soon.”
The overall cost of the purchase and start up of the operation is at nearly $12.5 million with $7.5 million coming from grants, and loans available through state and federal agencies. Ferner would not comment on a price paid to MeadWestvaco.
The 170 workers will be producing uncoated paper. The uncoated product line includes American Eagle Envelopes, Silver Spring Envelope, High D Reply Stock, Virgin Envelope and American Eagle offset.
The new American Eagle Paper Mill will also receive tax breaks if the Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone gets signed by the governor’s office.
Contracts for work on the boiler and roofing work that needs done are being awarded and Ferner hopes to have repair work started next week.
The goal is to have the plant operational by late October or early November.
“We would like to have paper running as soon as possible,” said Ferner. “Realistically, we are looking at being operational in six to eight weeks.”