Billerud Korsnäs to acquire Verso Corporation


Billerud Korsnäs plans to convert several of Verso's paper machines into paperboard machines in order to create one of the largest providers of virgin fibre paper and packaging.

Billerud Korsnäs announced a merger agreement with the US woodfree coated and specialty paper company Verso Corporation (Verso). According to Billerud Korsnäs, the company has agreed to acquire Verso for a purchase price of approximately $825m in cash, corresponding to $27 per share.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022, subject to the approval of Verso's shareholders as well as the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. Verso's Board of Directors reportedly already approved and resolved to recommend the transaction to Verso's shareholders.

Billerud Korsnäs said it would "build one of the most cost-efficient and sustainable paperboard platforms in North America by converting some of Verso's assets into paperboard machines with an estimated capex of up to SEK9bn." The acquisition and transformation would be financed through a combination of a rights issue of up to SEK3.5bn, additional debt and operating cash flow. 

Verso said Billerud Korsnäs planned to convert Verso's Escanaba mill into a fully integrated paperboard production site. "One machine is estimated to be converted by 2025, a second machine by 2029," in order to reach total capacity of around 1,100 tpy, the company announced.

The Escanaba mill runs three paper machines and can produce approximately 660,000 tpy of graphic paper for commercial printing,media and marketing applications, and specialty paper used in label and packaging applications. The mill also runs a kraft pulp mill, a refiner mechanical pulp mill, and a pulp dryer.

According to Verso, Billerud Korsnäs also plans to continue operating the Quinnesec mill, which has the capacity to produce about 400,000 tpy of graphic and specialty papers and 200,000 tpy of market pulp.

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