Talks continue for Linden Lumber

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 5, 2007

LINDEN &8212; Ongoing negotiations to save Linden Lumber Company without the county having to step in and grant a $7 million are continuing at a slow pace.

Representatives from Federal Land Bank of South Alabama, Wachovia Bank, Linden Lumber Company and the Marengo County Commissioners met Thursday to discuss financial negotiations for the company.

County Commissioner Dr. Ken Tucker said the meeting was productive, however, no decisions have been made regarding the financial future of Linden Lumber.

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Tucker said the request for the postponement of the foreclosure sale of Linden Lumber, which is set for Friday, was made and a response was given, followed by another counter offer, yet no agreement has been made, thus far.

Tucker said representatives for Linden Lumber and both banks were present for the meeting, along with all of the county commissioners and Rep. Artur Davis.

Tucker credited Davis for assisting with recruiting all the parties in attendance during the meeting, which he said was productive.

The Marengo County Commission unanimously approved a loan of up to $7 million to Linden Lumber Company, following a request for assistance by the company.

The proposal was accepted with four stipulations:

An independent audit of Linden Lumber.

County approval of the restructuring of the loan with Wachovia Bank for the operating line.

County approval of restructuring of the loan with Federal Land Bank.

An independent audit of the assets the county would be taking mortgage on.

The commission has the authority to annul the loan agreement if they are not satisfied with the findings of any of the audits or restructuring agreements.

Under the agreement, the county will use a bond issue to borrow up to $7 million. They will in turn loan the money to Linden Lumber with an annual interest rate of 5 percent, not to exceed 6.5 percent. The terms of the loan extend for 20 years.

Linden Lumber Company reports the county expects the loan to enable the company to retain 425 jobs and the county to retain $13 million of annual payroll having an estimated economic impact on the county of $50 million per year.

Federal Land Bank South of Alabama announced the foreclosure of the company last month including its properties in Linden and Thomasville. The foreclosure sale date is set for Friday in front of the Marengo County Courthouse. The sale notice includes all the buildings, fixtures and other tangible and intangible property. The property is to be sold as is. The notice of the sale names Donald H. Overmyer Jr., Hugh Overmyer and Kathryn Overmyer Earthman as proprietors of the company. Rushton, Stakely, Johnston&Garrett, P.A. of Montgomery is representing Federal Land Bank in the sale.