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Updated: February 11, 2020

Verso completes sale of Androscoggin Mill in Jay

Photo of mill in Jay, Maine, showing logs and smokestacks File photo Verso Corp. said Monday it has closed the sale of its mill in Jay, and another in Wisconsin, to Pixelle Specialty Solutions Inc., of Pennsylvania.

Verso Corp. (NYSE: VRS) on Monday said it has completed the $400 million sale of its Androscoggin Mill in the Franklin County town of Jay, and another plant in Wisconsin, to Pixelle Specialty Solutions LLC, of Spring Grove, Pa.

The closing comes nearly three months after Verso announced the deal.

Miamisburg, Ohio-based Verso previously said it would return $225 million to $282 million in net cash proceeds from the sale to shareholders. 

Promising details soon on how it will do that, Verso said Monday that it will also use a portion of the proceeds to reduce its remaining unfunded pension liability.

The sales closes a chapter in an ongoing dispute with two rebel shareholders, private equity firms Atlas Holdings and Blue Wolf Capital Partners, who have made several unsuccessful attempts to acquire Verso since 2017.

After a truce reached hours before the Jan. 31 annual meeting, shareholders gave a green light to the proposed sales.

"We are pleased to have completed the sale of our Androscoggin and Stevens Point mills to Pixelle," said Verso CEO Adam St. John in Monday's announcement.

He added: "After the transaction, we will continue to be a debt-free company with significant manufacturing and financial flexibility, well-positioned to enhance our competitive market position, effectively respond to industry trends and take advantage of low-risk, high-return opportunities that should create long-term value for all of our stakeholders."

Positioning Verso as 'supplier of choice'

Mike Weinhold, Verso's vice president, said the company will now turn its attention to on the growth and enhancement of its pulp and packaging products as well as the specialty products produced at its remaining mills.

"Our experienced, knowledgeable employees combined with our flexible manufacturing capabilities and unmatched commitment to innovation, product performance and service position Verso as a supplier of choice in North America and beyond," Weinhold said.

Verso is a leading North American producer of graphic and specialty papers, packaging and pulp. The company's Duluth, Escanaba, Quinnesec and Wisconsin Rapids mills have a combined annual production capacity of 2 million tons of paper.

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