Sweden’s packaging paper and board company Billerud Korsnäs has finalised the acquisition of US pulp, graphic and specialty paper company Verso Corporation for a purchase price of 825 million $ in cash. Verso was consolidated into the accounts of Billerud Korsnäs as of 31 March 2022 and included into the business division Paper. All conditions for the acquisition, including regulatory approval, were fully met.
Combined net sales for Billerud Korsnäs and Verso in 2021 reportedly amounted to approximately 37 billion SEK.
Billerud Korsnäs announced it was committed to continuing to serve Verso’s customers across all segments and realising its previously announced plans to convert several of Verso’s assets into paperboard machines, while maintaining Verso’s position as a quality and cost leader in speciality and coated paper.
Effective 1 April 2022, Verso’s SVP of Operations Rob Kreizenbeck assumes the position of President, North America in BillerudKorsnäs’ Executive Management Team. Going forward, BillerudKorsnäs intends to simplify its company name and brand to «Billerud», which it will operate under in all markets, including the U.S. The Board of Directors will propose at the 2022 Annual General Meeting to amend the company’s name to Billerud AB, and the change will be successively implemented thereafter.
«I am very glad to welcome the entire Verso team to BillerudKorsnäs,» states Christoph Michalski, President and CEO of BillerudKorsnäs. «Our combined assets and expertise in high-quality virgin fibre paper and board packaging materials create an excellent platform for sustainable and profitable growth. Integration work starts immediately, and we look forward to working together, sharing knowledge, initiating preparations for the conversion project and realizing a successful development».
«We are excited to join forces with BillerudKorsnäs and become a larger, stronger organization. Together, we are building a company that is passionately committed to a strong safety culture, sustainability, superior quality and delivering value to our customers,» says Rob Kreizenbeck.
The negative cash flow effect of the acquisition for BillerudKorsnäs amounts to approximately 6.0 billion SEK. The transaction was financed by bank loans, which BillerudKorsnäs plans to refinance through the issuance of debt instruments and an equity rights issue during 2022. BillerudKorsnäs expects the acquisition to increase earnings per share immediately and to create significant shareholder value over time with a more profitable product mix.
As a result of the transaction, Verso common stock ceased trading on the New York Stock Exchange prior to the opening of trading today.