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Verso Paper Corp. Reports First Quarter 2012 Results

Net sales for our market pulp segment decreased 8.0% to $32.9 million in the first quarter of 2012 from $35.7 million for the same period in 2011. This decline reflects a 14.8% decrease in the average sales price per ton, which was partially offset by an increase of 8.0% in sales volume compared to the first quarter of 2011.

Net sales for our other segment increased 34.4% to $39.2 million in the first quarter of 2012 from $29.2 million in the first quarter of 2011. The improvement in 2012 was due to a 33.6% increase in sales volume, reflecting the continued development of new paper product offerings for our customers. The average sales price per ton was up slightly.

Cost of sales. Cost of sales, including depreciation, amortization, and depletion, was $368.7 million in the first quarter of 2012 compared to $383.9 million in 2011. Our gross margin, excluding depreciation, amortization, and depletion, was 10.1% for the first quarter of 2012 compared to 15.4% for the first quarter of 2011. Depreciation, amortization, and depletion expenses were $31.4 million in both the first quarter of 2012 and 2011.

Selling, general, and administrative. Selling, general, and administrative expenses were $18.8 million in the first quarter of 2012 compared to $18.6 million for the same period in 2011.

Interest expense. Interest expense for the first quarter of 2012 was $32.1 million compared to $32.4 million for the same period in 2011.

Other loss, net. Other loss, net for the first quarter of 2012 was $29.6 million compared to $26.3 million for the first quarter of 2011. Included in the results for the first quarter of 2012 and 2011, respectively, were losses of $30.0 million and $26.1 million related to the early retirement of debt in connection with debt refinancing.

Reconciliation of Net Income to Adjusted EBITDA

The agreements governing our debt contain financial and other restrictive covenants that limit our ability to take certain actions, such as incurring additional debt or making acquisitions. Although we do not expect to violate any of the provisions in the agreements governing our outstanding indebtedness, these covenants can result in limiting our long-term growth prospects by hindering our ability to incur future indebtedness or grow through acquisitions.

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