Cold storage company purchases NORPAC plants

January 15, 2020 GMT

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The $49 million sale of NORPAC Foods’ Salem, Brooks and Stayton processing facilities to cold storage giant Lineage Logistics was approved Tuesday by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Peter McKittrick, contingent on agreements being reached concerning previous union contracts.

The Statesman Journal reports the sale marks the end of the nearly 100-year-old Willamette Valley agricultural processor.

Most of the intangible assets of NORPAC, including its intellectual property, trade names, inventory, contracts and trademarks, were sold as part of a $107 million sale of NORPAC’s Quincy, Washington, processing plant to Oregon Potato Company in December.

Tuesday’s agreement brings the sale of NORPAC’s assets to $156 million.

According to court filings, CoBank, which financed the bankruptcy, has $382 million in liens against the three Oregon facilities. That means some owed money by NORPAC will not be paid.

Lineage has leased the Salem, Brooks and Stayton processing plants since it filed for to purchase the properties and is leasing the Salem location to Oregon Potato Company.

“It is possible if this sale is concluded, and apparently there is a reasonable chance, there is a chance Brooks is reopened,” NORPAC attorney Al Kennedy said.

In the short term, however, the Stayton facility, the companies’ original site when it started as Stayton Canning Company in 1924, will remain closed.

Michigan-based Lineage Logistics is one of the largest cold storage companies in the world with over 150 locations in the United States.

Oregon Potato Company, an Idaho-based agricultural company, has started a new company, Vegco, to operate the former NORPAC business in Washington and Oregon. Vegco intends to purchase the Brooks processing facility from Lineage after the bankruptcy sale goes through.

Since 2014, nearly a third of co-ops in the United States have dissolved or gone bankrupt, according to a report by CoBank.