Verso to make specialty papers in Maine

Thursday, September 11, 2008

MEMPHIS, Tenn., September 10, 2008 – Verso Paper Corp. 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. With this move Verso will begin supplying value-added specialty papers to customers, which leverage Verso's core coating and lightweight paper production techniques. Once fully transitioned, this change will reduce Verso's coated groundwood production capacity by 84,000 tons per year.

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 that Verso needs to successfully supply a wide array of value-added specialty papers. This move also shifts this machine, 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 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.

Said Verso President and CEO Mike Jackson, "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. By contributing to the future success of the Bucksport Mill, this move will benefit our stockholders, customers and employees."

Verso's 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 Verso mill system. "Our customers will not see any effect from this transition," Jackson said. "They will continue to receive the same high level of quality and service that they have come to expect from Verso."