The Planned Closing of Pyramid, Announced in
November did not happen. Pyramid was reorganized with new financing
arranged for by Missoula County and others.
For the Happy Ending, jump ahead
to this story in May, 2001.
December 28, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
Chips . . . bits & pieces
Pyramid rescue plan under consideration...
A plan is underway to keep Pyramid operating despite the announcement by the owners in November that the mill would close permanently sometime after the first of the new year.
The rescue effort is being spearheaded by the Missoula County
Economic Development Corporation with the full backing of the
Missoula County Commissioners.
An outline of what has transpired and the upcoming steps is discussed in a press release from Pyramid that is reprinted in full below.
As the release indicates, there are several parties whose participation in the plan is required before it could work, and the more parties that are involved, the more chances there are for disagreement. However, this is an effort that should, at the very least, restore hopes where there might have been none, and we can cautiously await the process, which will be fairly quick, and the outcome, which will profoundly affect this community.
It may be too soon to get hopes very high, but we can at least send along wishes for a Happy New Year that has a better chance for being just that!
News Release from
Pyramid Mountain Lumber, Inc.
The owners of Pyramid Mountain Lumber have been approached by the Missoula Area Economic Development Corporation (MAEDC) with a proposal designed to keep the operation running.
Mill management met with representatives of MAEDC in Missoula and discussed the mill's situation. Three weeks later, Dick King, MAEDC's executive director, and Eric Hanson, with the Montana Department of Commerce, came to Seeley Lake to present the plan.
The proposal is a combination of debt re-capitalization and re-structuring, additional debt for mill improvements and a process for retiring stockholders. There would be at least six sets of approval required for the plan to be put in motion. At the local level, the MAEDC board and the Missoula County Commissioners both need to approve the proposal. Then the Montana Department of Commerce, the State Board of Investments and the United States Department of Agriculture would make a decision on the plan. During this process, a participating bank would also need to bless the project. Pyramid's existing bank, Washington Trust Bank in Spokane, would also have to go along with the idea. Everyone involved understands the need to move quickly and approvals or denials should be timely.
The crux of the proposal is paying off $1,500,000 of existing equipment loans with a lower interest, longer term loan. In addition, $500,000 of operating line debt at Washington Trust Bank would be replaced with a low interest, long term loan. Those two loans constitute the first phase of the proposal. Monies would come from a bank, Economic Development Corp., Community Development Block Grant program, the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the State Board of Investments.
The next phase would be a loan from a bank and the U. S. Department of Agriculture for two mill improvements. Those projects, an optimized board edger and a curve sawing gang edger, would increase the amount of lumber Pyramid would get out of each log. Without those pieces of equipment, the mill is hard pressed to compete with other mills for timber sales.
Given the current lumber market, even this proposal may not be enough help to keep an operation running. It will take about a month to get the necessary approvals and negotiate interest rates. During that month, projections will be developed based on the new debt and equipment. Then the owners will look at those projections, as well as log and lumber markets, and decide whether or not to implement the plan.
The residents of Seeley Lake can be involved in the process. The County Commissioners will hold two public hearings in the community. The dates, places and times have not been determined. Watch for the legal notice of the meeting in the Pathfinder.