Verso Corporation to be Acquired by Billerudkorsnäs
BillerudKorsnäs is aiming to convert Verso’s Escanaba Paper Mill into a world-class, sustainable, and fully integrated paperboard production site where one machine is estimated to be converted by 2025 and another by 2029. The total investment for the conversion project will be about USD 1 billion.
Verso Corporation has entered into a definitive merger agreement under which BillerudKorsnäs AB will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Verso for a purchase price of USD 27 per share in cash, or approximately USD 825 million. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022.
The acquisition of Verso is in tandem with BillerudKorsnäs’ strategy to drive profitable growth in the paperboard segment, and the ambition to expand into North America. Going forward, BillerudKorsnäs plans to build a cost-efficient and sustainable paperboard platform in North America by converting Verso’s assets into paperboard machines while maintaining Verso’s position as a quality and cost leader in specialty and coated freesheet paper.
Besides Verso’s strategic location in a region with abundant and cost-effective fiber supply for the production of premium packaging materials, the location also presents favorable export opportunities to both Asia and Europe. Now, Verso will become the platform for BillerudKorsnäs’ future expansion in North America and is expected to provide continuous growth opportunities over the next ten years and beyond.
Randy Nebel, President and CEO, Verso, said, “This transaction builds upon our considerable progress and better positions the combined company to invest in our North American manufacturing capability, provide high-quality paper products to customers and accelerate growth.”
Christoph Michalski, President, and CEO, BillerudKorsnäs, commented, “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. We will obtain cost-effective production of coated virgin fiber material in the Midwestern United States.”
BillerudKorsnäs plans to convert Verso’s largest facility – Escanaba Mill into a world-class, sustainable, and fully integrated paperboard production site. One machine is estimated to be converted by 2025, a second machine by 2029, with a total capacity of around 1,200,000 tons (1,100 ktonnes). The investment for the conversion project will be about USD 1 billion.