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Verso Officials Say Bankruptcy Won’t Affect Wisconsin Paper Mills

Company Employs 1,200 People In Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point


Verso Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in an effort to eliminate $2.4 billion in debt but company officials say the action won’t affect its two central Wisconsin paper mills.

Verso acquired its mills in Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point about a year ago from NewPage. They employ about 1,200 people in the state, nearly 1,000 of whom work at the Wisconsin Rapids facility.

In a news release, CEO David Paterson said that since the acquisition, Verso has been hit by “an unprecedented decline in demand for our products (and) a significant increase in foreign imports.”

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Despite the problems, Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza said he doesn’t expect operations at the local mill to be affected.

“I understand the speculation that can go on when an announcement like this comes on, but I’ve been assured that there’s not going to be a disruption in the Stevens Point mill,” Wiza said. “The city stands ready to help in any way we can while they go through this reorganization.”

Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink said he was similarly assured by company officials “that it will have no impact on our local operations in the city, and they hope that the process will be very quick.”

He added that he thinks the U.S. government should take action to help bolster the domestic paper industry:

“Paper coming into this country from places like China and Brazil, where the paper there is obviously made much cheaper, so your competition is so unfair for domestic production,” he said.