Verso Corporation, a leading producer of graphic, specialty, and packaging paper and market pulp, announced on Tuesday (3-29-22) that it has received all of the necessary approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to complete its previously announced merger with BillerudKorsnäs AB, a Swedish pulp and paper company.
The merger agreement calls for BillerudKorsnäs to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Verso for $27 per share, or approximately $ 825 million (USD).
One of the assets BillerudKorsnäs is acquiring is Verso’s Wisconsin Rapids mills site. On a phone conference and analyst call in December, after the initial merger announcement was made, Christoph Michalski, president and CEO of BillerudKorsnäs, called the Wisconsin Rapids mill the largest “minor asset” in the acquisition and explained the facility is currently in use as a converting facility, but productions of paper and pulp are idle.
Michalski went onto say that the company did not intend to fire up the Wisconsin Rapids mill, but would consider the future for that site, as well as the hydroelectric power company that will come with the acquisition. The company will determine what the best solution is for the Wisconsin Rapids site, including whether it will keep or sell it.
One group—the Consolidated Cooperative—is interested in either working with BillerudKorsnäs or purchasing the Wisconsin Rapids mill and running it independently. The Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association created the group with plans to enlist members of the Timber Professionals Cooperative, community members and millworkers to own and run the mill. The effort aims to boost industries like trucking and logging that were affected by the mill’s shutdown.
Dennis Schoeneck, with the Consolidated Cooperative, said the group reached out to BillerudKorsnäs when the merger was originally announced in December, but the company told the cooperative it would not discuss any plans for the Wisconsin Rapids mill.
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