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Skeena deal finally reached

VICTORIA, B.C. -- A deal has finally been reached in the Skeena Cellulose saga, and the company's former owners wil...

VICTORIA, B.C. — A deal has finally been reached in the Skeena Cellulose saga, and the company’s former owners will be back at the helm.

Northwestern B.C. Timber and Pulp (NWBC) have purchased Skeena for $6 million. Oddly, the government will receive less money through the deal than it would have if the company declared bankruptcy.

George Petty, chairman of NWBC, was elated about the deal.

"It’s nice to be back," Petty tells local media. "Hopefully, our timing is good."

Petty was a major player in Skeena’s history, jumping ship in 1996 prompting the first in a long series of crisis for the company.

The deal that was signed on Wednesday was for about $9 million less than originally offered, but NWBC at first thought it would be in line for $600 million in tax losses as opposed to the $280 million granted.

Enterprise Minister, Rick Thorpe, says the government has accomplished its goal of returning Skeena to the private sector and restoring economic hope to northwestern B.C.

"I have not been driven by dollars in this issue," Thorpe tells local media.

Many northwestern B.C. truckers made their livings hauling goods for Skeena, and some went unpaid when the company began experiencing financial woes. Petty says there is no firm start date in place to begin operations at the Skeena mill. However, he did say the company will be operated as an integrated company in the pulp, sawmilling and logging business.

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