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Closing of the sale of Klausner II sawmill to Binderholz is expected Friday, Halifax County Attorney Glynn Rollins told commissioners Monday.

In preparation for the transaction which is being conducted under watch of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, a resolution was passed which authorizes the county manager to execute all county documents related to the sale of the currently defunct sawmill on the outskirts of Enfield.

Commissioner Patrick Qualls made the motion to approve the resolution and Commissioner Carolyn Johnson cast the second. With commissioners Vernon Bryant and Rives Manning absent, it passed by the four commissioners present via Zoom.

The attorneys involved in the matter have seen the resolution, Rollins said. “They understand what our situation is. They are OK if you authorize it with the county manager signing the deed of conveyance and the other closing documents on behalf of the county. It’ll help us get things done smoothly.”

Rollins said attorneys in the case were signing documents related to the matter Monday and they will be collected by a closing agent. “They have our wiring instructions which is the best news,” he said, referring to the $4.6 million the seller will deliver to the county.

That amount came out of negotiations between the county and Klausner and was part of a court-approved settlement.

Halifax County Economic Development Director Cathy Scott told the board Binderholz plans to have the sawmill operational by the end of the year.

United States Bankruptcy Court Judge Karen B. Owens approved the sale of Klausner II to Binderholz last month.

Binderholz  submitted a bid of $83.4 million. Mayr-Melnhof Holz Holding AG is considered the backup bidder with a bid at auction of $82.9 million.

Binderholz is a family-owned company with headquarters in Fugen, a municipality in Austria, which has 13 other sites and around 3,000 employees.

It has five sites in Austria, five sites in Germany, two sites in Finland and two in the United States, which include Live Oak, Florida, and the location in Enfield.

Previous court documents have spelled out Halifax County government’s obligation at the time of closing, which include stipulations that the county deliver consent to the assignment of a railroad lease, consent to the assignment of a private sidetrack agreement and consent to the assignment of a pump station agreement.

Klausner was announced by former Governor Beverly Perdue in 2012 as an economic development project which would bring 350 jobs to Halifax County and represented what was to be a $130 million investment.

Construction of the sawmill began in 2014. 

Several setbacks and delays occurred during construction over the next several years, and the debtor’s sawmill never became fully operational, which caused a drain on liquidity, previous documents reviewed in the case show.