Verso, a producer of specialty and graphic papers, packaging and pulp, has announced that it will permanently shut down its paper mill in Luke, Maryland, US.
The closure of Luke mill will result in the loss of around 675 jobs.
The company has decided to close the Luke paper mill, as a result of continuing decline in customer demand for the grades of coated freesheet paper and increasing input costs.
Significant influx of imports, rising compliance costs and infrastructure challenges associated with recent environmental regulation changes are also the reasons to close the mill, said the company.
Verso interim CEO Leslie Lederer said: “It is unfortunate that we had to make the decision to close the Luke Mill, but the continuing decline in demand for the grades of paper manufactured there left us no choice but to close this facility that has struggled with profitability for a number of years.
“The company explored the possibility of producing alternate grades of paper products but the conclusion remained the same – we could not achieve profitability at the mill in today’s market environment.”
Verso plans to complete the closure of the facility by 30 June. The closure will decrease the firm’s coated freesheet production capacity by around 450,000 tons, while total annual paper production capacity will be reduced by around 2.7 million.
Verso said that most of Luke Mill’s paper grades are already qualified to be produced on the firm’s other machines, and is working to meet all customer requirements.
Verso graphic and specialty papers president Michael Weinhold said: “Because Verso is continually evaluating the best use of our highly flexible manufacturing system to assure we deliver the quality, reliability and value our customers depend on, our Luke Mill customers can remain confident in Verso’s ability to meet their needs now and in the future.”
Verso is a major North American producer of specialty and graphic papers, packaging and pulp. The company supplies its products to commercial printers, paper merchants and brokers, converters, publishers and other end users.