Citing high natural gas delivery costs in Maine Verso Paper Corp Friday reported  a net loss of $39.2 million in the second quarter of 2013.

In a release the company stated its operating loss for the quarter was $8.5 million which compared to a loss of $9.5 million for the second quarter of 2012.

“Last quarter we discussed the natural gas situation affecting our facilities in Maine,” Verso president and CEO David Peterson said in a prepared statement. “While the price of natural gas has remained stable, we continue to see upward pressure on the longer term delivery and other charges associated with obtaining natural gas at our Maine facilities. We continue to prepare for next winter in an effort to mitigate any recurrence of the record spikes in natural gas delivery charges that we experienced last year.”

Verso’s net sales for the second quarter of 2013 decreased $34.9 million, or 9.5 percent, compared to the second quarter of 2012, reflecting a 10.4 percent decline in total sales volume, which was driven by the closure of the Sartell, Minn. mill in the third quarter of 2012, according the release.

“The average sales price per ton increased slightly over the same period in the prior year driven by higher sales prices for our pulp and other segments, while coated prices remained flat,” according to the statement. “Verso’s gross margin was 11 percent  for the second quarter of 2013 compared to 11.5 percent for the second quarter of 2012.”

“During the second quarter we saw the continuation of improved pricing in our pulp and specialty papers segments,” Peterson said . “In combination with strong volumes, we continue to expect a strong year in both of these segments. In our coated paper segment, prices have been stable for the first half of the year and we are seeing price improvements as we enter the third quarter.”

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