The sale and reopening of Coastal Maine Resources’ recycling and waste-to-energy plant in Hampden have been delayed while the prospective buyer works to finalize financing.

The board of directors for the Municipal Review Committee, which represents the solid waste interests of 115 Maine municipalities, provided an update Thursday on the status of the sale of the Fiberight facility.

“It’s a balancing act,” board President Karen Fussell said during the virtual meeting. “As always, we continue to look out and work for our members’ best interest.”

Michael Carroll, the committee’s executive director, said the closing with Delta Thermo Energy Inc. was supposed to happen in May and then June, but Delta had not finalized financing.

Delta, he said, has discussed in detail the financing hurdles with the committee and the bondholder trustee, which would be selling the plant.

“Delta does believe they can overcome those hurdles and financing can be secured,” Carroll said. “They just need time.”

The committee does not own the Coastal facility, but is the main or primary customer of the plant, and is its landlord because it owns the property on which the plant is located, according to Jon Pottle, the committee’s legal counsel.

Like Carroll, Pottle said the committee is waiting to see if Delta will be successful in securing financing, but he noted the committee has also been looking at “alternative contingencies” in case the closing does not occur. He was referring to other possible buyers for the plant.

“It’s just part of prudent, proper planning,” Pottle said.

George Aronson, the committee’s technical adviser, reiterated that stance, saying the committee feels obligated to all its members to discuss possible sales with third parties.

Aronson said there is reason for optimism, because the U.S. economy has picked up steam in recent months, a lot of progress has been made and the economy is responding. There is a new level of interest in environmental and investment waste processing such as that at the Hampden facility, according to Aronson.

“We are seeing improvement in the environment in which we are looking to reopen the facility, and that’s helpful,” he said.

Fussell, who is finance director for the city of Brewer, said the committee anticipates holding another virtual meeting in the next four to six weeks, hopefully with positive news on financing progress.

Thursday’s agenda noted that because the committee had not received appropriate confirmation from Delta, a Pennsylvania-based company, it will be able to proceed with the acquisition according to the current asset purchase agreement terms, Delta’s founder and chief executive officer, Robert Van Naarden, would not address members, as had been announced previously.

Van Naarden told the committee and members of the public at a meeting April 28 he is Delta’s major shareholder and has funded the company for more than 11 years. Delta, he said, owns and operates a facility outside Atlantic City in southern New Jersey and another in Williamsport in north-central Pennsylvania.

He said the New Jersey operation had been temporarily moved to Pennsylvania because its New Jersey building had to be torn down. It was being rebuilt and the plant would be moving back to New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the committee had voted April 21 to further the sale of Coastal by authorizing committee officers to adopt and execute all agreements necessary to move the sale forward. The unanimous vote followed a virtual, 2 1/2-hour executive session to discuss contractual documents and rights related to the proposed sale to Delta.

The committee holds all the municipal waste contracts and is the permittee for the state Department of Environmental Protection. Coastal, which closed its facility May 28, 2020, for financial reasons, was formed by Fiberight to finance, own and operate the facility. The facility is pledged as collateral for repayment of Coastal’s loans to the bondholders’ trustee.

The committee voted unanimously March 25 to extend a sale date with Delta. During a virtual town hall meeting Jan. 19, Van Naarden said his company focuses on clean municipal solid waste processing. Delta has developed facilities overseas in Dresden, Germany; Shari, Hokkaido, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Romania; Russia; South Africa; and Singapore, according to the committee’s website.

Most municipal solid waste from committee member municipalities is now going to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington, and the rest to Waste Management’s Crossroads facility in Norridgewock.

Central Maine communities that are members of the Municipal Review Committee include Albion, China, Freedom, Oakland, Palmyra, St. Albans, Thorndike, Troy, Unity and Vassalboro.

The committee’s July newsletter reported Carroll attended several town council, select board and city council meetings over the past few months — in person or virtually, describing the status and the path forward to reopening the plant with Delta.

The committee, it says, hoped the closing would be in 30-60 days if the bondholder trustee is satisfied with the financing arrangements made by Delta.

“Even if we received all the papers tomorrow, the bondholders’ legal team, as well as our own, still must review them,” the newsletter says. “This is a multifaceted, complicated process with a lot at stake for all of us.”

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