02 August, Toronto ON – Verso Corp. said it will invest a total of $120 million in three of its pulp and paper mills, including its Androscoggin Mill in Jay.
The company told investors on an earnings call Thursday morning that it will make the investments over the next two years using cash from operations. It did not specify how much money would go toward the Jay upgrades.
The investments reflect the company’s moves to reduce its reliance on graphic paper, which currently contributes 59 percent to revenue. It wants to place more emphasis on specialty papers, interim CEO Leslie Lederer said.
The investment in Jay will involve improvements to the No. 3 paper and pulp line, the No. 4 release liner paper machine and the EM-5 , which produces food wrappers that can hold grease. Release liner paper is used in badges and other items that pull one piece of paper away from another.
“We plan to invest a portion of this capital allocation at our Androscoggin Mill, which we believe will enable us to improve the quality and reduce the cost of our unbleached containerboard and craft paper grades on the No. 3 machine at Androscoggin and to increase the capacity of specialty products made on our paper machine No. 4,” Lederer said. “We have already begun improvements on Androscoggin’s EM-5 machine to improve the capacity of machine-glazed products.”
The other two Verso mills getting investments are Stevens Point, Wisconsin, which will add specialty paper, and Duluth, Minnesota, which will get funds to improve its recycled fiber packaging operation.
Verso restarted operations on the No. 3 line last fall, saying it was upgrading the pulp line and paper machine to expand into new markets. It had shut that line in July 2017.
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