Manitoba government offers pension deferral to prospective pulp mill buyer

WINNIPEG – The Manitoba government has approved a deferral of pension payments to help the sale of the troubled Tolko Industries pulp and paper mill in The Pas.

The province is allowing the mill’s prospective buyers to defer, for three years, pension contributions that would normally be required to keep the mill’s pension plan fully funded.

Premier Brian Pallister says the payments total roughly $20 million, and he cautions the potential sale to American Industrial Acquisition Corporation is not a done deal.

Tolko announced plans last month plans to close the mill Dec. 2 because it is no longer financially viable — a move that would throw 300 people out of work.

American Industrial sent Tolko a letter of intent to purchase the mill, subject to a number of conditions.

The pension exemption is subject to the agreement of Tolko’s current employees and pension plan.