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Serving: WI

Olsen's Mill to be Auctioned on April 7

At least four bids for the company have been received.

A Green Lake County Circuit Court judge has ordered that Olsen's Mill will be auctioned on April 7. Olsen's Mill, which sells fertilizer and farm supplies and markets and stores grain, has mills in 11 locations in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota.

Paul Olsen was part owner and president of Olsen's Mill until the company was forced into receivership, a court proceeding similar to bankruptcy, after a large European bank, BNP Paribas, filed a civil suit in Green Lake County Circuit Court in February.

The judge appointed a receiver on Feb. 11 to manage Olsen's Mill's assets. Olsen resigned as president and relinquished all management authority over the company. Olsen however is still president and part owner of Renew Energy LLC of Jefferson, the state's largest ethanol plant, and Renew Energy of Utica, an ethanol plant near Oshkosh. Renew Energy LLC in Jefferson filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on Jan. 30.

Renew Energy's largest unsecured creditor is Olsen's Mill. Renew Energy owes Olsen's Mill $21 million, according to the filing.

BNP Paribas claims Olsen's Mill is insolvent and cannot pay back the $58.4 million it borrowed from the bank in August 2007. The bank says Olsen's Mill misrepresented its assets, violated several terms of the credit agreement and concealed $21 million that Renew Energy owed the mill for the purchase of corn and other products.

The judge scheduled another hearing in early April to confirm the sale of the company as a whole business.
At least four letters of intent to bid on the company have come up, including an offer from Olsen's Mill Acquisition Company LLC, a group comprised of Wisconsin-based investors. The group wants to acquire the company and restore the Olsen family as managers of the business. Other potential buyers include Growmark based in Bloomington, Ill.; Bunge North America based in St. Louis, Mo., and Andersons Inc. of Ohio.

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