Capacity snapshot: Verso had plans to increase capacity at Quinnesec graphic papers mill by spending 'significant amount' this spring on pulping recovery boiler, PM; BillerudKorsnas to continue operations as graphic papers mill after proposed acquisition

Sample article from our Pulp & Paper Industry

LOS ANGELES , January 17, 2022 () –

Executives with Verso Corp. outlined ways they’re improving operations and incrementally increasing capacity at the company’s graphic papers mill in Quinnesec, Michigan.

Verso’s Quinnesec Mill has a capacity of about 430,000 tons of graphic papers and about 240,000 tons of market pulp. Verso is making targeted capital investments at Quinnesec to reduce costs, expand product offerings and maximize pulp production, CEO Randy Nebel said during Verso's Q3 2021 earnings call on Nov. 5, 2021.

Verso plans to put a “significant amount of money” this spring into both Quinnesec's pulping recovery boiler and the machine that “should give us quite a few more tons," he said, adding, "we're out talking with customers about those tons that will be available and at some level, pre-selling them."

BillerudKorsnäs AB, which is acquiring Verso, has said it plans to continue operating the Quinnesec Mill as a graphic papers mill, which makes coated freesheet and specialty papers.

Nebel said there’s also room for improvement on execution in Verso’s two paper mills – Quinnesec and Escanaba – noting yield from “the paper we make to the paper we actually sell is not as high as we would like.” With good execution, better training and higher standards, Verso could probably realize an incremental 30,000 tons a year “that can come just from those small improvements that we're going to be working on every day in both mills,” Nebel said.

Verso’s mills also aren’t as predictable as they could be, he said. As the company improves predictability and reliability, that will allow Verso to better schedule freight and service customers with less lead time.

“It's nothing magic, just a bunch of hard work,” Nebel said.

Industry Intelligence editor's note: Management discussion during Verso's Q3 earnings call on Nov. 5, 2021, occurred before the announcement that BillerudKorsnäs AB plans to acquire Verso. For more information, click here.

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