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Verso Paper Corp. Reports First Quarter 2012 Results

Summary Results

Results of Operations – Comparison of the First Quarter of 2012 to the First Quarter of 2011

Three Months Ended
March 31,
(Dollars in thousands)   2012   2011

Net sales

$ 375,295   $ 416,592
Costs and expenses:

Cost of products sold - (exclusive of depreciation, amortization, and depletion)

337,280 352,528
Depreciation, amortization, and depletion 31,423 31,347
Selling, general, and administrative expenses 18,818 18,634
Restructuring and other charges     85       -  
Total operating expenses     387,606       402,509  
Operating income (loss)     (12,311 )     14,083  
Interest income (2 ) (34 )
Interest expense 32,119 32,389
Other loss, net     29,570       26,327  
Loss before income taxes (73,998 ) (44,599 )
Income tax benefit     (69 )     (2 )
Net loss   $ (73,929 )   $ (44,597 )

Net Sales. Net sales for the first quarter of 2012 decreased 9.9%, to $375.3 million from $416.6 million in the first quarter of 2011, as total sales volume decreased 8.2%. The decline in total sales volume reflects the unusually high sales volume for coated papers in March of 2011 and the permanent shutdown of three paper machines in the fourth quarter of 2011. The average sales price for all of our products decreased 1.9%, reflecting a decline in the price of pulp.

Net sales for our coated papers segment decreased 13.8% in the first quarter of 2012 to $303.2 million from $351.7 million for the same period in 2011, due to a 13.8% decrease in paper sales volume while the average paper sales price per ton remained flat.

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