Paper Company Cuts Match

Among a series of cost-cutting measures, Verso Paper Corp. announced a suspension of the company’s 401(k) match.

Verso Paper Corp. posted a 37% decrease in net sales for the first quarter of 2009 compared to the year-ago quarter. In addition to the match suspension, other cost-cutting changes include hiring and salary freezes, according to the Memphis Business Journal.

The company’s sales decrease is directly related to historically low shipments for coated papers, which are typically used for print ads. Ad spending has been reduced greatly because of current economic conditions, according to the Business Journal, citing Robert Mundy, senior vice president and COO of Verso.

Based in Memphis, Verso Paper makes coated papers, including coated groundwood and coated freesheet, and super-calendered products. Verso’s paper products are used primarily in media and marketing applications, including magazines, catalogs, and commercial printing applications, according to the news report.

Tracking the Trends

In recent months, there have been reports not only about the impact of an employer match on savings rates (see “If You Match It, They Will Save, Study Says), but also reports of a number of plan sponsors deciding to cut or temporarily suspend their match (see “Tightening Economy Squeezes 401(k) Match Suspensions).

Meanwhile, this week saw a number of employers making announcements about moves to suspend their 401(k) match (see “Milwaukee Musicians See 401(k) Match Suspension,’Insurance Broker Willis Suspends 401(k) Match, Freezes Pension,’Hotel Chain Checks Out of 401(k) Match,’ and “Cincinnati Bell Suspends Match) —and one, Wells Fargo—that froze its defined benefit plans, but kept its 401(k) match intact (see “Wells Fargo Freezes Pension).