BillerudKorsnäs AB, a pulp and paper manufacturer based in Solna, Sweden, is set to acquire Miamisburg, Ohio-based Verso Corp., a producer of graphic and specialty papers, packaging and pulp.
The sale is set to close in the second quarter of 2022, with BillerudKorsnäs agreeing to acquire the Ohio company for $825 million, or $27 per share.
Verso currently has two paper mills in Michigan and a roll-to-sheet converting facility in Wisconsin as well as distribution centers in Illinois and Pennsylvania, and according to the company, currently has approximately 1,700 employees in the U.S.
BillerudKorsnäs employs more than 4,400 employees and has production units in Sweden and Finland. According to the company, the acquisition is in line with its strategy to expand its paperboard presence in the U.S. as it “aims to build one of the most cost-efficient and sustainable paperboard platforms in North America” by converting several of Verso’s assets into paperboard machines.
BillerudKorsnäs plans to convert Verso’s largest mill in Escanaba, Michigan, into a sustainable, fully integrated paperboard production site, and says one machine is estimated to be converted by 2025 and a second machine in 2029, with a total capacity of approximately 1.2 million tons.
It also plans to continue operating the Quinnesec, Michigan, mill, which has a capacity to produce about 430,000 tons of graphic and specialty papers and 240,000 tons of market pulp per year.
"The combination of BillerudKorsnäs' expertise in high-quality virgin fiber packaging materials and Verso's attractive assets creates an excellent platform for long-term profitable growth,” says BillerudKorsnäs President and CEO Christoph Michalski. “We will obtain cost-effective production of coated virgin fiber material in the Midwestern United States.
He adds, “We also plan to sequentially transform part of the business into paperboard production while continuing to serve the U.S. customers. Our investments will create new U.S.-based jobs in a growing market and accelerate the transition from plastic-based packaging materials to renewable sources."
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