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Bidders have until Friday to qualify for beef plant auction

By Dirk Lammers

Potential buyers of an idled, bankrupt South Dakota beef plant have until Friday to apply to become qualified bidders for the upcoming auction.

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A minimum bid of $12.75 million was set for Northern Beef Packers — a fraction of the roughly $115 million invested on the plant and equipment. The sale includes the Aberdeen plant’s property, fixtures, improvements, machinery, equipment and supplies.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court will determine which applicants can participate in the Dec. 5 auction at the federal courthouse in Sioux Falls.

An investment banking firm working with Northern Beef, White Oak Global Advisors, is automatically deemed a qualified bidder.

Judge Charles Nail finalized the sale procedures this week. Nail said in his ruling that shortly after the auction, the court will identify the successful bidder, the amount of the highest and best bid and any other terms to allow the sale to close within three days.

Meanwhile, two of the foreign investor partnerships that loaned Northern Beef about $60 million through the federal EB-5 investment-for-green-cards immigration program have filed suit against the plant to get better placement among the long list of creditors.

South Dakota Investment Fund Limited Partnership No. 6 and South Dakota Investment Fund Limited Partnership No. 9 are asking the bankruptcy judge to declare their claims as “prior and superior to the liens and claims of all other parties” except for White Oak’s claim of $45 million and any amount owed to an Aberdeen digging company.