July 20, 2018

Verso to upgrade Jay mill for specialty papermaking

File Photo / Amber Waterman
File Photo / Amber Waterman
Verso Corp. is planning to make investments at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay to boost its capacity for making release liner paper. The upgrades will be done in two phases over the next 18 months.

Verso Corp. (NYSE: VRS), which stands to receive up to $42 million in a trade dispute settlement with Canadian paper companies approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce earlier this month, is planning to ramp up the capacity of its mill in Jay to produce specialized paper.

The Miamisburg, Ohio-based paper company said in a news release that it will make technology upgrades to the mill's No. 4 machine so that it can turn out more release liner paper. The upgrades will be done in two phases over the next 18 months.

The company did not disclose how much it intends to invest at its Androscoggin Mill in Jay.

The Androscoggin Mill, which employs 400 people, currently manufactures coated, uncoated and specialty types of paper. Release liner paper is used as a backing for labels and bandages to prevent premature adhesion.

Plans call for the mill to produce such specialty products exclusively, according to Verso President of Graphic Papers Mike Weinhold.

"The Androscoggin Mill and its No. 4 paper machine have a rich history of manufacturing specialty products," he said. "When enhanced with these technology upgrades, the No. 4 paper machine's six-meter width, technical capabilities and fully integrated pulp platform will be particularly well suited to support the growing release liner market. Additionally, these investments advance Verso's strategy to reposition 100% of the Androscoggin Mill's production to serve specialty paper and packaging markets."

On July 5, at Verso's request, the U.S. Department of Commerce agreed to refund duties paid on supercalendered papers made in Canada and imported into the United States. The request was part of a deal struck in March by the company with Port Hawkesbury Paper Limited Partnership and Irving Paper Limited. Under the agreement, Verso is slated to receive a percentage of the refunded duties up to a $42 million cap.

In March, the company announced plans to restart its No. 3 paper machine sometime during the year's third quarter. The machine has been shut down since July 2017.

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