Verso Corp closing Wisconsin Rapids Mill

WAOW from Wausau is reporting that Verso Corporation announced Monday that it will be closing it’s Wisconsin Rapids paper mill indefinitely.

According to Verso’s press release the closure is resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic that decline in demand for graphic paper and reduced use of print advertising in various industries.

“It is critical that we maintain a healthy balance sheet and focus on cash flow, while balancing our supply of products and our customers’ demand,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Adam St. John, in a news release. “After a comprehensive review of post-pandemic demand forecasts and capacity, we made the difficult decision to idle the Duluth and Wisconsin Rapids mills. We expect the idling of these facilities to improve our free cash flow. The sell through of inventory is expected to offset the cash costs of idling the mills.”

Verso expects to idle the Wisconsin Rapids Mill by the end of July 2020, and the Duluth mill by June, 2020. The two closures will result in the layoff of approximately 1,000 employees.

The Wisconsin Rapids Mill employs around 900, and according to Verso, “a majority of the employees will be laid off.” An unknown number of employees will be kept on after July 31 for an unknown amount of time to continue limited operations and maintenance of the mill.

According to the press release, Verso is going to explore “viable and sustainable alternatives” for the paper mill, including restarting if market conditions improve, selling, or closing permanently.