Memphis, Tennessee, USA, 10 September 2008 – Verso Paper Corp. (NYSE: VRS) today announced that it will begin transitioning the No. 1 paper machine at its Bucksport mill, in Maine, to manufacture specialty papers starting on 22 September. With this move Verso will begin supplying value-added specialty papers to customers, which leverage Verso’s core coating and lightweight paper production techniques. Once fully transitioned, this change will reduce Verso’s coated groundwood production capacity by 84,000 tons per year.
The scale and configuration of the Bucksport mill’s No. 1 paper machine, including the gate roll pre-coater and off-machine coater, along with the availability of groundwood and kraft fiber, provide the flexibility that Verso needs to successfully supply a wide array of value-added specialty papers. This move also shifts this machine, which operates currently as a higher cost coated groundwood machine, to a highly competitive machine in the various specialty products that it will now produce. Verso has been developing and producing numerous specialty paper products on the Bucksport mill’s No. 1 paper machine over several months and has completed successful field qualifications.
Verso’s coated groundwood customers whose paper is currently produced on the No. 1 paper machine at the Bucksport mill will experience a seamless transition as the manufacture of their product is moved to other paper machines in the Verso mill system. “Our customers will not see any effect from this transition,” said Mike Jackson, Verso President and CEO. “They will continue to receive the same high level of quality and service that they have come to expect from Verso.”
Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Verso Paper Corp. is a leading North American producer of coated papers, including coated groundwood and coated freesheet, and supercalendered and specialty products. Verso’s paper products are used primarily in media and marketing applications, including magazines, catalogs, and commercial printing applications such as high-end advertising brochures, annual reports, and direct-mail advertising. Additional information about Verso is available at www.versopaper.com.