Verso Paper announces June 1 US$20/tonne maple-grade hardwood pulp price increase for North America

LOS ANGELES , May 30, 2013 () – Verso Paper Corp. has announced a June 1 US$20 per tonne list price increase for North America for maple-grade northern bleached hardwood kraft (NBHK) pulp, according to buyers.

The company, which made its announcement May 29, did not state its new price.

One of the buyers said he was told the new price would be $870/tonne. (Maple-grade NBHK is sometimes priced $10/tonne higher than that of aspen or mixed NBHK grades.)

This was the first or one of the first NBHK price announcements for North America for June. (Sources in recent weeks have said that NewPage Corp. announced for June, to $860/tonne, or that NewPage also got $860/tonne in some quarters in May.)

Only two North American hardwood pulp producers were known to have announced a domestic NBHK price for May, and it was to $860/tonne, up $20/tonne, for aspen-grade. The two producers, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. (Al-Pac) and Resolute Forest Products Inc., are both major suppliers. Resolute announced the same plan for its southern bleached hardwood kraft (SBHK) pulp.

Meanwhile, in these waning days of the month, RISI Inc. has shown a May price for North America of $850/tonne, up $15/tonne from its April price, for both NBHK and SBHK.

The Memphis, Tennessee-based Verso produces maple-grade NBHK at its mill in Quinnesec, Michigan, using much of it internally at the facility’s coated freesheet (CFS) paper operation.

Verso produces CFS, coated groundwood and specialty papers. In early May, it announced a July $30-$40/ton price increases for some of its CFS and CGW grades. 

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