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January 17, 2018

Verso looking at options that include 'potential sale or merger'

Courtesy / Verso Corp.
Courtesy / Verso Corp.
Verso Corp. announced Tuesday that a strategic alternatives committee created last fall would expand its evaluation to include a "potential sale or merger of the entire company." Verso's Androscoggin Mill, shown above and located in Jay, employs 400 workers.

Verso Corp. (NYSE: VRS), which employs 400 at its Androscoggin Mill in Jay, announced Tuesday that a "strategic alternatives committee" created last fall would expand "its evaluation of potential alternatives to include other alternatives, including but not limited to, a potential sale or merger of the entire company."

The Miamisburg, Ohio-based company has focused on restructuring since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2016 — efforts that include reducing the Jay mill's workforce from 560 to 400 workers and permanently shutting down last July the mill's No. 3 paper machine (resulting in the permanent loss of 120 jobs).

Verso, which owns seven mills in the United States, including the one in Jay, reported net sales of $621 million, net income of $4 million, and adjusted EBITDA of $47 million in the third quarter of 2017. It has market capitalization of $579 million, based on its share price of $17.19 on Wednesday. Its 52-week range is a low of $3.17 a share and a high of $18.12, according to Yahoo Finance.

It has been widely reported in investor newsletters and the Portland Press Herald that activist shareholder Mudrick Capital Management LP, which had had a 10% position in Verso, has been selling shares.

In Tuesday's announcement, Verso stated its expanded evaluation would include "potential strategic transaction alternatives to maximize value to Verso stockholders" as well as a recommendation "whether any potential transaction is in the best interests of the company and its stockholders." The company's financial adviser, Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc., is assisting in that effort.

"There is no assurance that the review of potential strategic alternatives will result in any transaction or other strategic alternative," Verso's news release concluded. "Verso does not intend to make any further disclosure concerning these matters until a definitive transaction agreement is reached or a determination is made that none will be pursued."

Read more

Grant to help business owners impacted by mill layoffs and closings in Jay and Madison

120 jobs lost as Verso shuts down No. 3 machine at Jay mill

Verso Paper restructures mill network in cost-cutting effort

Verso Paper mill in Jay to lay off 190

Jay mill owner, Verso, emerges from bankruptcy

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