U.S. papermaker NewPage considers selling hydro assets

Paper manufacturer NewPage Corp. announced it is considering selling a number of its hydroelectric projects as a way to help offset the company’s financial losses.

Ohio-based NewPage reported a loss of $42 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to a net loss of $4 million for the same quarter of 2007, and a $117 million loss in net income for all of 2008, compared to a net loss of $8 million in 2007. The company’s financial statements, released Feb. 26, reflect the acquisition of Stora Enso North America Inc. from Stora Enso Oyi of Finland in December 2007.

�We have several initiatives under way to accelerate cost reductions, monetize selected assets, and gain incremental sales,� NewPage said in its quarterly report. �These initiatives include potential sales of some hydroelectric facilities, monetizing bio-fuel assets, applying for bio-fuel tax incentives, and continuing to explore export and niche uncoated markets in order to keep the mills operating.�

NewPage owns Consolidated Water Power Co., a former Stora Enso asset that owns and operates five hydroelectric projects, totaling 33 MW, along 33 miles of the Wisconsin River in central Wisconsin. The projects are 6.232-MW Biron (No. 2192); 7.2-MW DuBay (No. 1953); 3.84-MW Stevens Point (No. 2110); 6.4-MW Whiting (No. 2590); and 9.23-MW Wisconsin Rapids (No. 2256).

NewPage also owns and operates the 2.013-MW Kimberly hydroelectric project (No. 10674), on the Fox River in Kimberly, Wis., and the 9.1-MW Little Quinnesec Falls hydroelectric project (No. 2536), on the Menominee River in Niagara, Wis. NewPage already has agreed to sell the Little Quinnesec project to Northbrook Wisconsin LLC. An application to transfer that project’s operating license is pending with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

NewPage owns paper mills in Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in the U.S., and Nova Scotia in Canada.

For information, contact Tom Scharff, Director of Power and Energy, NewPage Corp., 610 High Street, Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54495; (1) 715-422-3073; E-mail: thomas.scharff@newpagecorp.com.

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