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NewPage reports $2M loss in 2013

Amid uncertainty about its proposed acquisition by another company, local paper producer NewPage reported that it lost about $2 million last year.

That loss compares to net income of nearly $1.26 billion in 2012, the company said in an earnings report.

NewPage attributed the drop to costs associated with its stay in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and subsequent reorganization. NewPage, which has about 350 local employees, left bankruptcy in late 2012.

Net sales dropped from $3,054 million for the full-year 2013 compared to $3,131 million for 2012, a decrease of $77 million or 2 percent.

In January, NewPage and Tennessee-based Verso Paper Corp. announced a proposed $1.4 billion merger. Since then, however, leaders of the companies have made skeptical noises about the plan.

In a letter filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week, NewPage Chairman Mark Angleson wrote that if Verso is unable to abide by originally agreed-upon debt restructuring as part of the merger, “we will re-evaluate the merger and consider all our options.”

NewPage is standing fast on the part of the merger that would let the company restructure a big part of its debt.

On Jan. 28, Verso told NewPage in an earlier SEC-filed letter that it was having trouble convincing investors to finance the deal, saying investor participation to that point was “substantially fewer” than “minimum participation thresholds.”

Verso proposed eliminating or changing the “debt exchange” part of the deal, which would allow both companies to restructure existing debts.

It was in response to that suggestion that Angleson wrote, warning Verso not to expect “any flexibility whatsoever.”

A NewPage spokeswoman did not respond to a message seeking comment.

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