Verso will indefinitely idle paper mills in Duluth, Minnesota, and Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, while exploring viable and sustainable alternatives for both mills, including restarting if market conditions improve, marketing for sale or closing permanently. The decision to reduce production capacity is driven by the accelerated decline in graphic paper demand resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The stay-at-home orders have significantly reduced the use of print advertising in various industries, including retail, sports, entertainment and tourism. According to Fastmarkets RISI, North American printing & writing demand fell by 38% year-over-year in April, and operating rates are expected to drop well below 70% during the second quarter. Verso expects to idle the Duluth Mill by the end of June 2020, and the Wisconsin Rapids Mill by the end of July 2020, resulting in the layoff of approximately 1,000 employees. Verso will continue to supply graphic and specialty papers in roll and sheet form, as well as packaging papers and pulp.
Verso Corporation (NYSE: VRS) announced today that the New York Stock Exchange has notified Verso that it has fallen below the NYSE’s continued listing standard requiring that the average share price of Verso’s common stock be at least $1.00 over a consecutive 30-trading-day period. As of June 24, 2015, the date of the NYSE notification, the average closing price of Verso’s common stock over the past 30 consecutive trading days was $0.96 per share.
Verso intends to regain compliance with the NYSE’s continued listing standard by bringing the share price and the average share price of Verso’s common stock back to at least $1.00 within the required period of six months after receipt of the NYSE notification, i.e., by December 24, 2015. However, if Verso cannot cure the share price deficiency by such date, Verso intends to conduct a reverse stock split to facilitate achieving the $1.00 share price and average share price. In such case, as permitted by the NYSE’s rules, Verso would solicit stockholder approval of an appropriate amendment of its certificate of incorporation at its next annual stockholders meeting to be held in May 2016 and would effect the reverse stock split promptly thereafter.