Company plans to move corporate HQ to Miami Twp. with state help

A Memphis-based company plans to move its headquarters to Miami Twp., a decision officials say will stabilize more than 200 jobs.

Verso Corp., which said the move depends on state incentives, made the announcement Monday as it moves to improve operations after a bankruptcy.

The public company, which acquired Miami Twp.-based NewPage Holdings in 2014 for $1.4 billion, emerged from bankruptcy in July. Verso's restructuring reduced the company's debt by $2.4 billion and included $595 million in exit financing to support ongoing operations and capital investment.

The plan calls for Verso, which employs 60 in Memphis, to move into what is the former headquarters for NewPage on Gander Creek Drive.

The move is “contingent on the company securing state incentives,” according to the Dayton Development Coalition. A JobsOhio spokesman confirmed that, but declined to elaborate.

Should the incentives be approved, the deal would bring “stability for the 200-plus employees and their families that currently work in the Miami Township office,” according to a statement from Chris Snyder, township community development director.

“We understand that any company move involves disruption to the lives of the affected employees and we will work with Verso as they endeavor to make the move for the Memphis employees as easy as it can be,” Snyder added.

He noted that “the move does not currently involve any direct incentives” from the township, whose leaders “believe that this move is one demonstration of how competitive our region can be when it comes to cost of living, schools, access to regional amenities and a high quality of life.”

The move to Miami Twp. is among three strategic initiatives “designed to drive increased efficiency in the allocation of its resources, reduce the company’s cost of doing business, and improve Verso’s operating and financial performance,” according to a company statement.

Planning for each of Verso’s initiatives is underway, with implementation set to begin in January, according to the company.

“We expect that the strategic initiatives announced (Monday) will enable Verso to be more agile in adapting to an evolving marketplace, more responsive to our customers, more efficient and cost-effective in our operations, and ultimately more financially successful,” Robert M. Amen, Verso’s chairman of the board, said in the company statement.

Verso plans to organize its business into two strategic business units — graphic paper and specialty paper. It plans to consolidate its corporate offices in Memphis and Miami Twp.; and “improve the delivery of its support services with the objective of reducing overhead expenses by at least 10 percent on an annual basis,” according to the company.

“The strategic business unit organization will further strengthen Verso’s relationships with our graphic paper and specialty paper customers by allowing us to focus more closely on their distinctive business needs,” said Michael A. Weinhold, who will lead Verso’s graphic paper business unit.

The exit financing consists of an asset-based lending facility with borrowing capacity of up to $375 million led by Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, and a $220 million term loan facility with available loan proceeds of $198 million led by Barclays Bank PLC.

The planned consolidation of the Memphis office into the Miami Twp. offices is part of a shift to eliminate “redundancy and inefficiency,” according to a company statement.

“Verso is committed to treating all our Memphis office employees with fairness, dignity and respect and to quickly communicating openly and honestly with each person about how this decision will affect him or her,” said Kenneth Sawyer, Verso’s senior vice president of human resources and communications.

Verso bankruptcy

$2.4 billion: Amount of debt reduced by Verso's filing of bankruptcy and restructuring

$595 million: Amount in exit financing to support ongoing operations and capital investment

$88 million: What the company lost in the first quarter of 2016, down from the $122M lost in the first quarter of 2016

Source: Verso Corp.

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