Local paper producer completes sale of mills for $400 million

Verso Corp.’s headquarters on Gander Creek Drive. CONTRIBUTED
Verso Corp.’s headquarters on Gander Creek Drive. CONTRIBUTED

A Miami Twp. paper producer has sold two of its mills in a $400 million transaction, positioning the overall company for the future, leaders say.

Verso Corp., based in offices on Gander Creek Drive, has completed the sale of its Androscoggin Mill, in Jay, Maine, and its Stevens Point Mill, in Stevens Point, Wisc., to Pixelle Specialty Solutions LLC.

The agreement to first execute the sale was announced in November.

“We are pleased to have completed the sale of our Androscoggin and Stevens Point mills to Pixelle,” Verso Chief Executive Adam St. John said in a statement this week. “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.”

RELATEDArea paper producer gears up for shareholder battle in 'proxy' contest

“With the sale of the Stevens Point and Androscoggin mills, we will now focus on the growth and enhancement of our pulp and packaging products as well as the specialty products produced at our remaining mills,” added Verso President Mike Weinhold.

The company said it will return the proceeds to shareholders, saying it will “promptly announce how it plans to utilize no less than $225 million and up to $282 million of the net cash proceeds from the transaction for the benefit of stockholders.”

Part of the proceeds will be used to reduce unfunded pension liability this year, Verso also said.

Verso is a 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.

Houlihan Lokey acted as financial advisor to the company and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP acted as legal counsel to in connection with the transaction.

The company has 200 Dayton-area workers and more than 4,000 nationwide. After navigating Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016, Verso restructured its debt and moved its headquarters from Memphis, Tenn. to Miami Twp.