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Verso Paper Corp. Reports Fourth Quarter And Year-End 2012 Results

Net sales for our market pulp segment decreased 6.2% to $140.8 million in 2012, from $150.1 million in 2011. This decrease was due to a 10.7% decline in the average sales price per ton while sales volume increased 5.0% compared to 2011.

Net sales for our other segment increased 2.1% to $156.7 million in 2012, from $153.6 million in 2011. The improvement in 2012 is due to a 4.2% increase in sales volume, reflecting the continued development of new paper product offerings for our customers. The average sales price per ton decreased 2.0% compared to 2011.

Cost of sales. Cost of sales, including depreciation, amortization, and depletion, was $1,390.8 million in 2012, compared to $1,585.6 million in 2011, reflecting realized cost reductions from the shutdown of three paper machines late last year and the closure of the Sartell mill in the third quarter of this year. Our gross margin, excluding depreciation, amortization, and depletion, was 13.7% for 2012, compared to 15.2% for 2011, reflecting lower average sales prices during 2012. Depreciation, amortization, and depletion expenses were $118.2 million for 2012, compared to $125.3 million for 2011.

Selling, general, and administrative. Selling, general, and administrative expenses were $74.4 in 2012, compared to $78.0 million in 2011.

Restructuring charges. Restructuring charges for 2012 were $102.4 million, and consisted primarily of fixed asset and other impairment charges of $77.1 million and severance and benefit costs of $19.4 million related to the closure of the Sartell mill. Restructuring and other charges of $24.5 million in 2011 reflected the permanent shut down of the No. 2 coated groundwood paper machine at our mill in Bucksport, Maine, and two supercalendered paper machines at our mill in Sartell, Minnesota.

Other operating income. Other operating income in 2012 reflected insurance proceeds in excess of costs and property damages incurred of $60.6 million, as we reached a final settlement agreement with our insurance provider for property and business losses resulting from the fire and explosion at our Sartell mill.

Interest expense. Interest expense was $135.4 million for 2012, compared to $126.6 million for 2011.

Other loss, net. In 2012, Other loss, net was $7.4 million compared to a net loss of $26.1 million in 2011. Included in the results for 2012 and 2011 were losses of $8.2 million and $26.1 million, respectively, related to the early retirement of debt in connection with debt refinancing.

Income tax (benefit) expense. Income tax benefit for 2012 of $1.4 million resulted primarily from a reduction in the deferred tax liability related to the non-cash trademark impairment charge that was taken as a result of a reduction in production capacity from the closure of the Sartell mill.

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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