Verso Paper Permanently Shutting Down Three Paper Machines

MEMPHIS, TN—Oct. 11, 2011—Verso Paper Corp. will permanently reduce its annual production capacity by 193,000 tons. This will be accomplished by the permanent shutdown of the No. 2 coated groundwood paper machine at its mill in Bucksport, ME, effective Oct. 23, 2011, and two supercalendered (SC) paper machines at its mill in Sartell, MN, effective Dec. 14, 2011.

The shutdown of the No. 2 paper machine at the Bucksport mill will reduce Verso’s annual coated groundwood capacity by 90,000 tons or approximately 10 percent. With an annual capacity after the shutdown of 925,000 tons, Verso will remain the second largest producer of coated groundwood paper in North America. The Bucksport Mill’s workforce will be reduced by approximately 125 employees.

The shutdown of the No. 1 and No. 2 paper machines at the Sartell Mill will eliminate approximately 103,000 tons annually of SCA and SCB paper capacity. The Sartell Mill’s workforce will be reduced by approximately 175 employees.

“While improved from the recent lows of 2009, demand for coated groundwood papers continues to face headwinds,” said Verso President and CEO Mike Jackson. “The cost structure of the No. 2 paper machine at Bucksport, continuously rising input costs and these headwinds resulted in this decision to permanently reduce our coated groundwood capacity.

“This is consistent with our continuing commitment to match supply with customer demand,” Jackson continued. The demand for supercalendered papers remains fairly stable in the marketplace; however, despite our employees’ diligent efforts, the cost structure of the two SC machines to be shut down at the Sartell Mill remains unfavorable.

“The decision to permanently reduce production at Bucksport and Sartell was difficult and we are mindful of the impact it will have on the affected employees and their families,” he added. “I want to express my sincere gratitude to the affected employees for their years of service to Verso, and to recognize all Bucksport and Sartell employees for their hard work and continued focus on safety in the workplace.”