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October 11, 2011

Verso to lay off 125 in Bucksport

Citing lagging demand for its products, Verso Paper Corp. is shutting down one of its paper machines in Bucksport and laying off about 125 workers.

In a press release this morning, the Memphis, Tenn.-based company announced it will permanently reduce its annual production capacity by 193,000 tons by shuttering the Bucksport machine and two in Minnesota. Verso President and CEO Mike Jackson cited shrinking demand for the coated paper the No. 2 machine produces, as well as rising costs to produce it, and said shuttering the machine "is consistent with our continuing commitment to match supply with customer demand." The layoffs are effective Oct. 23. The shutdown of the No. 2 paper coated paper machine in Bucksport will reduce Verso's annual capacity of that type of paper by 90,000 tons, or about 10%. Verso's mill in Bucksport will still be the second largest producer of coated groundwood paper in North America.

Verso reported a $2.3 million, or 0.6%, drop in sales in the second quarter of the year. The company is cutting about 175 jobs in Minnesota.

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