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Verso Paper to Shift Grades on No 1 PM in Maine

Sept. 10, 2008 - Verso Paper today announced that it will begin transitioning the No. 1 paper machine at its Bucksport Mill, in Maine, to manufacture specialty papers starting on September 22.

The machine's grade conversion will allow the company to begin supplying value-added specialty papers to customers, leveraging its core coating and lightweight paper production techniques, Verso said.

When fully transitioned, the change will reduce Verso’s coated groundwood production capacity by 84,000 tons per year.

According to Verso, the scale and configuration of the Bucksport Mill’s No. 1 paper machine, including the gate roll pre-coater and off-machine coater, along with the availability of both groundwood and kraft fiber, provide the flexibility the company needs to successfully supply a wide array of value-added specialty papers. This move also shifts No. 1 PM, which operates currently as a higher cost coated groundwood machine, to a highly competitive machine in the various specialty products that it will now produce.

Verso said it has been developing and producing numerous specialty paper products on the Bucksport Mill’s No. 1 paper machine over several months and has completed successful field qualifications.

“Transitioning the No. 1 paper machine at our Bucksport Mill to specialty papers will provide a strategic opportunity for Verso to reposition this valuable asset to achieve its optimal profit potential and strategically falls within our core competencies of producing lightweight and ultra-lightweight products, along with flexible coating capability," said Mike Jackson, Verso's president and CEO.

Coated groundwood customers whose paper is currently produced on the No. 1 paper machine at the Bucksport Mill will experience a seamless transition as the manufacture of their product is moved to other paper machines in the company's mill system, Verso said.

SOURCE: Verso Paper Corp.




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