MADISON — The town’s wait is over. Madison Paper Industries, the town’s largest tax contributor, has sold.

The world’s largest producer of magazine-quality paper announced late Monday afternoon it completed the $1.278 billion acquisition of the Madison mill’s parent company.

Though the sale of Madison Paper’s Finnish parent Myllykoski Corp. to acquiring Finnish company UPM-Kymmene Corp. is complete, it is still unclear how the sale will affect the mill’s 215 employees.

Madison Paper Industries President Russ Drechsel said UPM had not informed him of any specific plans for the mill and referred questions to a UPM spokesman in Finland. A phone call to that man, Jyrki Ovaska, president of the paper business group, was not returned.

UPM will decide soon whether it will alter Myllykoski’s operations, Ovaska said in an issued statement. Any announcement will come by mid-September at the latest.

“As the transaction is now completed, we have access to detailed information on Myllykoski operations and business units, and we can verify the various options,” he said.

UPM purchased Myllykoski’s seven publication paper mills in Germany, Finland and the U.S. It has been working to acquire them since a formal announcement Dec. 21.

It crossed a large hurdle in the sale process on July 13 when the European Commission gave its approval and stated the sale would not give UPM too much influence over the European paper market.

To finance the acquisition, UPM is will issue 5 million new UPM shares to the direct and indirect owners of Myllykoski and its companion company, Rhein Papier GmbH, UPM said in a statement. It has drawn about $1.14 billion in long-term debt.

Dana Berry, Madison’s town manager, said he was glad to hear of the completed sale. “That’s great news because we maintain what has been a very stable employer in the town,” he said.

UPM President and Chief Executive Officer Jussi Pesonen said the acquisition will be beneficial for the paper industry as a whole.

“Consolidation and restructuring are the best way to make fundamental improvements in terms of cost efficiency and to create value in the paper business,” he said.

It will also be beneficial for UPM and its customers, Ovaska said.

“After the transaction, we will be better able to meet customers’ needs with an extended product portfolio and strong local presence, including also in North America … Our target is to achieve undisputed cost leadership in Europe. We also want to grow in China and other emerging markets,” Ovaska said.

UPM employs around 24,500 people in production plants in 16 countries. In 2010, UPM and Myllykoski’s combined sales amounted to $14.77 billion.

Myllykoski struggled for the last several years, based on its financial review available on its website. Net sales in 2009 were down 17.6 percent from 2008. Myllykoski owned the Madison mill for about 32 years.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

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