Appleton Coated plans to enter receivership

COMBINED LOCKS, Wis. (WBAY) - Appleton Coated is asking an Outagamie County judge to appoint a receiver to sell the company.

The paper maker based in Combined Locks says it's voluntarily petitioning for Chapter 128 so it can renegotiate terms with its lenders to "relieve the company's burdensome debt" while keeping the company running.

Appleton Coated blames declining sales -- because of paperless, digital communications and competition from imports due to the lower value of other currencies -- and rising costs for raw materials, especially pulp.

Appleton Coated had almost 600 employees in 2015 when company managers formed Virtus Holdings LLC to buy Appleton Coated from its owner, Sequana SA of France, which wanted out of the paper making business.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation gave Virtus Holdings a $4 million loan to buy new equipment and help it keep at least 570 people employed.

In June, Appleton Coated announced plans to buy a maker of transfer paper, Spectra Jet in Illniois. Appleton Coated produces paper for Spectra Jet.

In a statement on Thursday announcing the Chapter 128 petition, Appleton Coated says it has money to keep its people employed and paid. President/CEO Doug Osterberg said the goal is to find a buyer who will "immediately rehire substantially all employees" and keep the company running.