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Verso Paper Corp. Reports Third Quarter 2012 Results

Verso reported a net loss of $104.7 million in the third quarter of 2012, or $1.98 per diluted share, which included $92.7 million of net charges from special items, or $1.75 per diluted share, primarily due to restructuring charges related to the closure of the Sartell mill in the third quarter of this year. Verso had a net loss of $0.3 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2011, which included $1.1 million of charges from special items, or $0.02 per diluted share.

“We experienced our typical seasonal pick-up in demand during the third quarter in both coated freesheet and coated groundwood shipments. Industry operating rates were strong even though we continue to see a year over year drop-off in advertising spending which is impacted by the sluggish GDP growth. As we anticipated, coated groundwood pricing moved higher during the quarter and coated freesheet pricing was stable. Adjusted EBITDA of $50.2 million was about double what we recorded in the second quarter of this year driven by the stronger volumes, higher prices and improvements in our manufacturing costs resulting from our cost improvement programs and having the second quarter scheduled maintenance outages behind us,” said David Paterson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Verso.

“During the quarter, we made the difficult decision not to restart the Sartell Mill and are well into evaluating the options relative to the decommissioning of the site and marketing the properties and assets for eventual sale.

“Looking ahead, we anticipate that coated groundwood prices will continue to move up during the fourth quarter and coated freesheet pricing to remain relatively stable. Coated volumes will move slightly lower than the seasonally stronger third quarter, but we do not anticipate a significant drop-off. We’ll finish the year at very good inventory levels with coated groundwood inventory fairly tight. Operating costs and input prices should remain flat to down slightly, although we do have a scheduled maintenance outage at our Quinnesec Mill during the quarter. Finally, we are excited about the start-up of our Bucksport Renewable Energy Project during the quarter which will complete the last of the initiatives included in the first phase of our energy strategy that you’ve heard us talk a lot about.”

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