Verso set to buy NewPage

ESCANABA – Two competing paper companies will be combining into one when Verso Paper Corp. purchases NewPage Holdings Inc. in a deal announced by officials Monday.

Verso is buying NewPage for $1.4 billion in a transaction expected to be completed later this year, pending regulatory approvals.

Verso is a leading producer of coated paper in North America, according to its website. Company net sales in 2012 amounted to $1.5 billion.

The company is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., and owns three paper mills in Maine and Michigan including a plant in Quinnesec.

The company’s total production capacity of 1.5 million tons of paper and 930,000 tons of pulp are used primarily for media and marketing including magazines, catalogs and commercial advertising and reports.

NewPage currently owns eight paper mills with a total annual capacity of 3.5 million tons of paper, making the company the leading producer of printing and specialty papers in North America, according to its website.

NewPage is headquartered in Miamisburg, Ohio. The company netted $3.1 billion in sales in 2012 after declaring bankruptcy in 2011.

The local mill is the largest wood-using mill in Michigan, purchasing more than two million tons of pulpwood and sawmill chips annually from more than 150 independent logging contractors.

The Escanaba plant employs 996 people and produces an annual capacity of 785,000 tons of coated, uncoated and specialty paper products for magazines, catalogs, textbooks, reports and brochures, according to its website.

The Escanaba plant produces the largest annual capacity of NewPage’s eight plants, according to the company’s 2012 statistics.

NewPage’s other mills are located in Rumford, Maine (851 employees with a 565,000 ton annual capacity), Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., (1,020 workers with a 560,000 ton capacity), Luke, Md. (849 employees and a 480,000 ton capacity), Biron, Wis. (421 employees and a 370,000 ton capacity), Wickliffe, Ky. (449 employees with a 285,000 ton capacity), Duluth, Minn. (298 employees and a 270,000 ton capacity) and Stevens Point, Wis. (252 employees with a 185,000 capacity).

The Escanaba paper mill was established in 1911 as the Escanaba Pulp and Paper Company. Prior to being called NewPage, the paper mill was owned by Mead then MeadWestvaco.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,