Verso Corporation (NYSE: VRS or the "Company") has just announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Androscoggin mill, located in Jay, Maine, and its Stevens Point mill, located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, to Pixelle Specialty Solutions LLC for $400 million, subject to post-closing adjustments.

The sale, which has been unanimously approved by the Company's Board of Directors (the "Board"), is subject to and conditioned upon the receipt of approval from the Company's stockholders at a special meeting of stockholders, as well as certain regulatory and other customary approvals. The transaction is anticipated to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

Verso LogoGene Davis, Co-Chairman of the Board, stated "We have undergone a thorough and comprehensive strategic process and firmly believe that the sale of these two mills at the agreed upon terms and conditions is in the best interests of the Company and our stockholders. We could not be more pleased by the efforts of the entire Senior Leadership Team and of Les Lederer, our Interim Chief Executive Officer since April."

Net cash proceeds of the transaction are anticipated to be approximately $336 million, after the assumption by Pixelle of approximately $35 million of pension liabilities, anticipated working capital adjustments, and the payment of transaction related expenses.  The Board intends to return a significant portion of the net proceeds to stockholders either by way of dividend or share repurchase, conducted either by way of modified Dutch tender offer, accelerated share repurchase program or open market purchases, and to determine and announce the amount and form of such return promptly following the closing of the transaction. In addition, Verso will utilize approximately $54 million of the net proceeds to reduce a portion of its unfunded pension liability. Any remaining net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes while the Board continues its ongoing review of the Company's strategic alternatives.

Verso today also announced that Adam St. John had been named as the Company's Chief Executive Officer and appointed as a member of the Board.  Mr. St. John has been Senior Vice President of Manufacturing for all Verso mills and a long-standing member of the Senior Leadership Team.  Prior to joining the Company, Mr. St. John served in a senior management capacity at Georgia Pacific.  Mr. Lederer will continue to serve as a Senior Transaction Advisor to the Company.

Alan Carr, Co-Chairman of the Board, further stated:  "With almost three decades of paper industry experience and more than a decade of experience with Verso, we are confident that Adam is the right choice to lead the Company consistent with our strategic focus.  Under Adam's guidance, we expect that our remaining mills will generate sufficient EBITDA and cash flow to permit the Company to enhance its competitive market position, so as to create future growth and other opportunities."

Houlihan Lokey acted as financial advisor and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP acted as legal counsel to the Company in connection with the transaction.

About Verso
Verso Corporation is the turn-to company for those looking to successfully navigate the complexities of paper sourcing and performance. A leading North American producer of specialty and graphic papers, packaging and pulp, Verso provides insightful solutions that help drive improved customer efficiency, productivity, brand awareness and business results. Verso's long-standing reputation for quality and reliability is directly tied to our vision to be a company with passion that is respected and trusted by all. Verso's passion is rooted in ethical business practices that demand safe workplaces for our employees and sustainable wood sourcing for our products. This passion, combined with our flexible manufacturing capabilities and an unmatched commitment to product performance, delivery and service, make Verso a preferred choice among commercial printers, paper merchants and brokers, converters, publishers and other end users. For more information, visit us online at www.versoco.com 

Participants in the Solicitation
The Company, its directors, executive officers and other persons related to the Company may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the Company's stockholders in connection with the proposed transaction. Information about the directors and executive officers of the Company and their ownership of Company common stock is set forth in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 2018, as amended on April 30, 2019. Other information regarding the participants in the proxy solicitations and a description of their direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be contained in the proxy statement and other relevant materials to be filed with the SEC when such materials become available.

Valmet announces the launch of Valmet Pressure-fed Bow Screen, a versatile new addition to its stock preparation offering. The solution reinvents the traditional bow screen with a new, user-friendly design and improved nozzle arrangement enabling higher capacity and greater runnability than before.

valmet logoWorking to maximize the effectiveness of fiber recovery and pulp thickening processes, Valmet Pressure-fed Bow Screen is ideal for tissue making applications. Other primary applications of the equipment include shower water protection filtration, police filtration, felt hair removal and deinking stock washing.

“A primary driving force behind the new design was our goal to provide a better, safer user experience for our operators at the mill level,” explains Tony Bjorkenius, Business Manager, Disc Filters, Services, Valmet. “The equipment is engineered to provide better accessibility than ever before, with the focus on service, maintenance and everyday use.”

Valmet Pressure-fed Bow Screen is the company’s first new product that specifically leverages the technology, engineering and expertise gained from the acquired company GL&V. The product launch reinforces Valmet’s services approach “Shared Journey Forward”, a set of commitments that promises customers solutions built on their unique needs, safety, trust and accessibility.

For further information, please contact:
Tony Bjorkenius, Business Manager, Disc Filters, Services, Stock Preparation, Valmet, tel. +46 8 522 444 56, tony.bjorkenius@valmet.com

Valmet is the leading global developer and supplier of process technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. We aim to become the global champion in serving our customers.

Valmet's strong technology offering includes pulp mills, tissue, board and paper production lines, as well as power plants for bioenergy production. Our advanced services and automation solutions improve the reliability and performance of our customers' processes and enhance the effective utilization of raw materials and energy.

Valmet's net sales in 2018 were approximately EUR 3.3 billion. Our more than 13,000 professionals around the world work close to our customers and are committed to moving our customers' performance forward - every day. Valmet's head office is in Espoo, Finland and its shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki.

Read more www.valmet.com

Friday, 22 November 2019 11:05

Acquisition of Eurofoil Paper Coating GmbH

AR Metallizing is delighted to announce today that it has secured a deal to acquire Eurofoil Paper Coating GmbH in Berlin (hereinafter: Eurofoil). The closing of the transaction is subject to approval of the German Cartel authorities.

Eurofoil is a leading European manufacturer of laminated and metallized inner liners. In the past 60 years they have built a comprehensive portfolio of inner liners encompassing laminated, metallized and pure slitted and coated paper products.

The Berlin plant is well-equipped and enjoys a strong asset base with highly automated equipment, including water-based lacquering and metallizing lines, which are among some of the fastest in the world. The plant enjoys all the key certifications to serve its customers efficiently.

2019 11 22 110508

Extending AR Metallizing’s global reach with a factory in Berlin will complement the company’s existing plants in Belgium, Italy, North America and Brazil. Eurofoil Paper Coating GmbH will eventually be rebranded to AR Metallizing. Staff will be fully integrated into the company, taking AR Metallizing’s global headcount to approximately 700.

‘The acquisition of Eurofoil is the ideal next step in AR Metallizing’s growth strategy, allowing the team to increase production capacity and better serve our growing customer base,’ says Dr. Bart Devos, AR Metallizing’s CEO. ‘This newest acquisition also gives us the opportunity to continue the expansion of our innovative product portfolio and increase our R&D facilities. Incorporating Eurofoil will allow us to work towards our goal of positioning AR Metallizing as a leading provider of choice for multinational firms looking to use eco-friendly, paperbased packaging and labelling materials. Through the acquisition, AR Metallizing will also be further developing and serving our customers with an increased number of products for direct food contact,’ adds Bart.

‘Nissha continues to encourage the growth of our subsidiary, AR Metallizing. The acquisition of Eurofoil marks a new chapter for AR Metallizing, and they can count on Nissha’s ongoing support as they look to extend the portfolio of products available under the AR Metallizing brand, most notably sustainable paper based materials’, says Junya Suzuki, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Nissha.

‘We’re delighted that AR Metallizing will acquire our Berlin facilities,’ says Managing Director Michael Koblitz of Eurofoil. ‘Particularly, we are looking forward to being part of a global company that’s reputed in the industry for its product quality and customer care – qualities that very much match Eurofoil’s company spirit,’ continues Michael.

Over 1000 machines all over the world connected to the Lucca Control Room for real-time line control

Fabio Perini presented at MIAC the Tissue Performance Center, a next generation technologic environment where expert engineers, supported by company data scientists, continuously register and analyze customers’ data to supply information on the machines status and suggest improvements to maximize the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) of the production lines.

Thanks to a direct connection with the customers’ machines, the Tissue Performance Center can now work proactively, not just reactively as it used to in the past. The on-line visualization of operating parameters allows a continuous evaluation of their status and helps pointing out potential anomalies.

2019 11 22 110030

“The customer connects his machine to the Tissue Performance Center - Franco Franceschi, Customer Service Performance Services Manager, explains – This way, output data, engines’ temperature and parameters’ settings are kept under constant monitoring. These values, compared also with historic production data, allow the Fabio Perini experts not only to remotely implement corrections to enhance the efficiency of the production lines, but also to detect possible causes of malfunctioning and to establish beforehand the appropriate actions to solve them.

Performance reports, background analyses to evaluate cause/effect and now also control on energy consumption are part of an articulated path – Franceschi concludes – that will lead us in the near future to a learning machine capable of autonomously interpreting data and of improving by its own the machine performances under every condition”.

Friday, 22 November 2019 10:58

A.Celli Paper at Paperex India 2019

nternational Exhibition & Conference on Pulp, Paper and Allied Industries

A.Celli Paper is pleased to announce its participation at the upcoming edition of Paperex India 2019, taking place in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, in December 2019, from Tuesday 3 to Friday 6.

paperex

A.Celli Paper will be happy to welcome you at its booth no. F-4124, to show you its system solutions for complete turn-key plants: from iDEAL® Tissue Machines and E-WIND® Tissue & Paper winders to R-WAY® Roll Handling and Packaging solutions, ending up with our integrated and digital solutions for industrial automation.

In the course of the exhibition, there will be several opportunities for exchanging information through debates, technical conferences, seminars and in-depth views on the developments and latest novelties in the field of Paper, Pulp and linked industries.

For further information and/or to fix an appointment at the A.Celli booth, please contact Simon Lorenzetti at the following email address: s.lorenzetti@acelli.it.

Södra’s pulp mills have reached an impressive 4,700 GWh of green energy – enough for an electric car to circle the Earth 50,000 times, and to heat 27,000 homes. Our deliveries of biofuels now equate to 6% of Sweden’s total consumption of biofuels. And our 1.8 million tonnes of pulp could make 4.3 billion books and 480 million sweaters.

södra logoAnd yet most consumers are unaware of the range of sustainable products that pulp mill can produce and their contribution to the bioeconomy. We’re trying to change this, by highlighting the sustainability of pulp and paper products to a much wider audience than our customers.

Episode 3 of our journey to a more sustainable future is filmed at our Mönsterås mill, deliberately located next to one of our sawmills for optimal use of resources - the pulp mill provides the sawmill with energy and in return, the sawmill produces woodchips for pulp. This closed-loop cycle leads to higher energy efficiency and reduced transportation.

Did you know:

  • · Mönsterås is free of fossil fuels for day-to-day operations. We produce more green energy than we use so the surplus is sold as green electricity, district heating and biofuels.
  • · Last year, we launched a Nutrient Recycling service which is a prime example of a sustainable ecosystem approach: Bio-ash, a residual by-product of the pulp process, is reused to promote a higher rate of forest growth and strengthen the profitability of our forest estates.
  • · Water is another area of focus. We employ a range of water conservation and treatment measures and are proud to be among the best in class when it comes to water conservation.
  • · Sustainability is not just about the process, of course, it’s about every aspect of our business. Which is why we have a zero-accident vision for all our employees.

A sustainable future requires everyday heroes – and new ways of thinking. It can be as simple as actively choosing products from sustainably managed forests, but we also need to maximize our part, which is why we’ve been examining every aspect of our process to ask the question: Could we make the world’s most sustainable pulp? We’re inviting our customers to ask the same question and join us on the journey to a more sustainable future.

Via Pulp+, customers can engage in the project, not just by tracking our journey but also their own. What would happen if we were to combine all the sustainable aspects of our value chain – would we have the world’s most sustainable pulp? The most sustainable forest products?

Watch Episode 3 of our journey here

If you missed the first two videos, set in our nurseries and forests, click here

Valmet is taking process automation further by introducing a new web-based user interface for its Valmet DNA automation system. Leveraging modern web technologies, the innovative Valmet DNA User Interface (DNA UI) extends the use of automation system beyond the traditional control room.

The introduction of the DNA UI is a part of the continuous renewal of Valmet DNA automation system, which is used in pulp, paper, energy and other process industries around the world.

Relevant information based on the needs of different user groups

valmet logo rgbIntuitive user experience and serving the needs of various user groups has been the main focus in the development of the new Valmet DNA User Interface.

The system adapts shown information based on the needs of various users and user groups. Relevant information is delivered in visual, well-structured, easy-to-understand dashboards, process and sub-process views, which allows the users of the automation system control the process better than ever before.

“It is essential for us to understand how our customers consume information, so we can help different user groups to process information faster. In the new DNA User Interface, we have structured and visualized data in new ways to make the workflow more intuitive – which in turn helps to make faster conclusions based on the data,” explains Jukka Ylijoki, Vice President, R&D, Automation business line, Valmet.

Control room no longer sets boundaries for work

Traditionally, system information and people using it have been tied in the control room. Built with latest web technologies, Valmet DNA User Interface comes with a secure web-based access that enables the mill or plant teams to access relevant information whenever they need it, regardless of their location.

“From logistics and laboratory to the boardroom, the entire site community needs specific information about the process. With Valmet DNA User Interface, users no longer need to stay in the control room to be on top of the situation,” Ylijoki continues.

Increased awareness leads to increased efficiency

With over 40 years of heritage in digital industrial automation, Valmet wants to make sure that industrial plants are safe and efficient to operate and that they meet the set quality and production targets.

“For the users, the new Valmet DNA UI will mean a complete feeling of awareness. They will always have the situation in hand and can easily manage information content to support their decisions. This leads to efficiency and helps to achieve savings throughout the process,” Ylijoki says.

Valmet DNA User Interface is the first web-based user interface on the market that can be delivered also as an upgrade to an existing Valmet DNA automation system. This means that in the future the existing customers can unlock the benefits the web-based user interface offers via upgrade rather than a full system renewal.

About Valmet’s Automation systems

Valmet has been at the forefront of developing digital solutions for its customers since the 1960s. In 1979, Valmet became the second company in the world to launch a distributed control system (DCS). Today, Valmet’s advanced automation systems operate e.g. pulp, tissue, board and paper production mills, power plants, process industry facilities as well as cruise and cargo ships around the world.

Valmet is the leading global developer and supplier of process technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. We aim to become the global champion in serving our customers.

Valmet's strong technology offering includes pulp mills, tissue, board and paper production lines, as well as power plants for bioenergy production. Our advanced services and automation solutions improve the reliability and performance of our customers' processes and enhance the effective utilization of raw materials and energy.

Valmet's net sales in 2018 were approximately EUR 3.3 billion. Our more than 13,000 professionals around the world work close to our customers and are committed to moving our customers' performance forward - every day. Valmet's head office is in Espoo, Finland and its shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki.

Read more www.valmet.com

The Board of Directors of BillerudKorsnäs AB has appointed the current Chairman of the Board, Lennart Holm, as acting CEO from November 5, 2019. Petra Einarsson leaves as CEO with immediate effect.

The work to recruit a permanent CEO will start immediately. As Lennart Holm will assume the role of acting CEO, the Board has appointed the current Board member Jan Åström as Chairman of the Board.

Lennart HolmLennart Holm“BillerudKorsnäs has a historic opportunity to actively contribute to the transition towards a more resource efficient and sustainable packaging industry. It is the view of the Board of Directors that the company has not developed at the expected pace”, says Jan Åström, new Chairman of the Board.

“We are well positioned for success. The strategy is clear and the entire organization must now focus to implement it at a high pace to further create value for our shareholders, customers and our stakeholders”, says acting CEO Lennart Holm.

Lennart Holm has been a board member of BillerudKorsnäs since 2012 and has been Chairman since 2014. He has previously been, among others, the CEO and Chairman of the Perstorp Group and active in Stora Enso. Jan Åström, who has been on the Board since 2018, has extensive experience from leading positions in the pulp and paper industry. He has, among others, been the CEO of Ahlstrom Munksjö, SCA and MoDo Paper.

“The Board thanks Petra Einarsson for her contribution to BillerudKorsnäs. During her leadership, the installation of KM 7 has been completed, Bergvik Skog Öst has been divested, the strategy has been reviewed and a program to further improve health and safety has been initiated”, says Jan Åström.

For further information, please contact:
Christopher Casselblad, EVP Communication, +46 8 553 335 08

This information constituted inside information prior to publication. This is information that BillerudKorsnäs AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact persons set out above, at 19:00 CET on 4 November 2019.

BillerudKorsnäs provides packaging materials and solutions that challenge conventional packaging for a sustainable future. We are a world-leading provider of primary fibre based packaging materials and have customers in over 100 countries. The company has 8 production sites in Sweden, Finland and the UK and about 4 500 employees in over 13 countries. BillerudKorsnäs has an annual turnover of about SEK 24 billion and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. www.billerudkorsnas.com

Willamette Falls Paper Company has made its first successful trial of non-wood paper grades using pulp from local agricultural waste – producing both coated and uncoated grades using 10% non-wood pulp fiber.
 
Additional machine and press trials are ongoing to refine the paper properties and specifications. However, preliminary outcomes from press room trials and initial customer feedback show very promising results. The mill expects to announce the commercial production of coated and uncoated grades by mid-November.

2019 09 19 105309“We want to be the first coated paper mill to offer non-wood grades made in the U.S. and sourced with local agricultural waste, in this case, straw,” says Phil Harding, Director of Technology and Sustainability at Willamette Falls Paper Company. “Our long-term focus is sustainable papermaking, and successful trials using non-wood raw materials is another step toward this goal.”
 
Working with several key suppliers, including Trinseo, Willamette Falls is confident it is one step closer to developing both uncoated and coated grades that will have similar characteristics to the mill’s standard grades.
 
“Trinseo is pleased to partner with Willamette Falls Paper Company in the development of the first domestic non-wood containing coated papers. Finding innovative ways to increase the use of sustainable materials is a critical focus for us, the industry, and modern society, so we’re thrilled to continue our support in their development and commercialization of this new product,” said Todd Crook, North America Latex Binders business director for Trinseo.
  
ABOUT WILLAMETTE FALLS PAPER COMPANY, INC. 
Willamette Falls Paper Company is a newly formed company that owns and operates a mill in West Linn, Oregon. The company is a non-integrated mill, capable of making coated and uncoated grades with an annual capacity of 260,000 tons. The Willamette Falls Paper Company looks to be an innovative leader in environmental paper production, including the use of non-wood fibers as an alternative pulp source. www.wfpaperco.com

Wednesday, 06 November 2019 08:55

Stora Enso’s website ranked best in sector

Stora Enso’s website has been rated best in sector according to the latest annual Webranking report by the Swedish digital agency, Comprend. The annual ranking of over 500 company-websites is the only global ranking based on stakeholder expectations, and is a leading benchmark for corporate websites.

This year, Stora Enso ranked first in the “Basic Resources” sector. Particular praise was given to Stora Enso’s sustainability information in matching stakeholder expectations.

stora new 2017“Sustainability is one of Stora Enso’s strongest suits, and an increasingly important ranking factor among all stakeholders, including capital markets and job-seekers,” says Helena Wennergren, Head of Research at Comprend.

“We are very happy with the results from this year’s ranking,” says Ulrika Lilja, EVP Communications at Stora Enso. “Our new website was launched just over a year ago, and we have worked systematically with user input and data to make sure we meet and exceed the expectations of our stakeholders. The fact that our sustainability information scored particularly well once again illustrates that sustainability is at the core of our business and we are committed to communicating it in a clear and transparent way.”

For further information, please contact:
Ulrika Lilja
EVP, Communications

tel. +46 72 221 9228

Part of the bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading global provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden constructions and paper. We believe that everything that is made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. Stora Enso has some 26 000 employees in over 30 countries. Our sales in 2018 were EUR 10.5 billion. Stora Enso shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki (STEAV, STERV) and Nasdaq Stockholm (STE A, STE R). In addition, the shares are traded in the USA as ADRs (SEOAY). storaenso.com 

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