Verso Corp. announced new investments at its Androscoggin Mill in Jay on Wednesday, saying the move is part of the company’s strategy to reposition the mill to produce only specialty paper.

Currently, the mill produces a mix of coated paper, uncoated paper and specialty paper. Coated paper is often used in marketing and catalogs, while uncoated paper is used in reading or writing applications. Specialty paper typically is used to produce labels and packaging.

The investments announced Wednesday will include upgrades to the mill’s No. 4 paper machine, which produces release liner paper, a specialty paper that includes a release agent on one side and is used with stickers or adhesive bandages.

“The Androscoggin Mill and its No. 4 paper machine have a rich history of manufacturing specialty products,” Mike Weinhold, Verso’s president of graphic papers, said in a prepared statement. “When enhanced with these technology upgrades, the No. 4 paper machine’s 6-meter (roughly 20-foot) width, technical capabilities and fully integrated pulp platform will be particularly well-suited to support the growing release liner market. Additionally, these investments advance Verso’s strategy to reposition 100 percent of the Androscoggin Mill’s production to serve specialty paper and packaging markets.”

Representatives for Verso did not respond to phone calls or emails for comment Wednesday, and the release did not say how much the new investments will cost or if jobs will be added. The mill employs about 400 people.

The first phase of the No. 4 paper machine project is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2018, with the second phase expected to be finished in 2019.

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, applauded Verso’s initiative.

“Maine has seen renewed investment in our wood products industry in just the past year alone, and I am thrilled today’s announcement at the Jay mill will continue moving our state jobs and economic growth in the right direction,” Poliquin said.

In February, the mill announced a $17 million project to upgrade its idled No. 3 paper machine and reinstate 120 jobs lost during layoffs in January 2017. The No. 3 machine had been making paper for magazines and catalogs, but officials said at the time that it would shift to packaging paper.

In recent months, the company has signaled it also might be moving away from supercalendared paper, a type of glossy coated paper often used in magazines.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce decided at the request of Verso to revoke duties on supercalendeared paper being imported into the U.S. from Canada.

The Commerce Department’s decision was part of a deal that Verso struck with two Canadian producers to receive up to $42 million in exchange for removal of the duties.

Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: rachel_ohm


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