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Stora Enso Sells North American paper operations to NewPage for $520 Million

Monday, September 24, 2007

Press release from the issuing company

21 September 2007 -- Stora Enso has signed a definitive agreement to sell Stora Enso North America, Inc ("SENA"), its North American subsidiary, to NewPage Holding Corporation ("NewPage"), a leading North American coated paper producer. The combined company, to be called NewPage, will be among the North American leaders in its field. Transaction consideration consists of USD 1 500 million (EUR 1 080 million) in cash, USD 200 million (EUR 144 million) in vendor notes and 19.9% of the shares in the new company valued at approximately USD 370 million (EUR 267 million). NewPage will also assume net liabilities of about USD 450 million (EUR 324 million). The transaction is expected to be finalised during the first quarter of 2008, subject to customary regulatory approvals. The transaction will not generate a gain or loss when recognised in the third quarter of 2007, at current exchange rates and based on the book values of the assets prior to the impairment charge announced by Stora Enso on 5 September 2007. Furthermore, the divestment will reduce the estimated impairment charge of EUR 1 300 million by about EUR 800 million. The final gain or loss, if any, will be determined when the transaction is completed. The divestment is expected to have no material impact on the annual operating profit of the Stora Enso Group as the North American businesses being divested are currently about breakeven at the operating profit level. "We believe that by combining Stora Enso's North American operations with those of NewPage, owned by Cerberus Capital, a leading private investment firm, we are contributing to the formation of a highly attractive player in the North American paper industry" said Jouko Karvinen, Stora Enso Group CEO. "This is the first major step in focusing our operations to improve the long-term earnings of Stora Enso. The divestment will simplify our Group structure and strengthen our focus on Europe as well as Stora Enso's growth markets," said Karvinen. NewPage and SENA's combined pro forma annual sales and EBITDA were approximately USD 4 300 million (EUR 3 099 million) and USD 525 million (EUR 378 million), respectively, in 2006. The new company will be comprised of 12 paper mills with estimated production capacity of 4 754 000 tonnes. NewPage will be headquartered in Miamisburg, Ohio. Through its 19.9% interest, Stora Enso will participate in the benefits of the combination including value creation from significant cost synergies. As part of the transaction, Stora Enso will divest eight publication, fine paper and speciality paper mills which will reduce the Group's annual production capacity by 2 745 000 tonnes and the number of personnel by about 4 350. The divested mills include Biron, Duluth, Kimberly, Niagara, Port Hawkesbury, Stevens Point, Whiting and Wisconsin Rapids mills. Stora Enso will retain Corenso's North American operations. Corenso produces cores and coreboard for industrial use in various fields of business.

 

 

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