Update from paper bigwigs: UPM, Sappi and Stora

The paper manufacturer are realigning their mills with an aim to further increase cost competitiveness of the paper business and tweak their paper capacity.

04 Jul 2019 | By PrintWeek India

UPM has concluded the employee consultation process at its Plattling mill in Bavaria and will shut down paper machine 10 (PM10) later this month. The manufacturer outlined its intentions to close PM10 in April. The move shall reduce coated mechanical paper capacity in Europe by 1,55,000 tonnes.

Currently, Plattling makes coated and uncoated LWC and SC magazine papers on three paper machines, PM1, PM10 and PM11. Its capacity at present is 7,85,000 tpa.

UPM has confirmed that PM10 will be permanently closed “by mid-July 2019” and that 155 jobs at the 590-staff mill will go as a result. Paper production on the remaining machines at Plattling would be continued. UPM previously stated that PM10 is the lowest capacity coated mechanical machine across all of its European papermaking operations, as well as having the “highest technical age”.

Meanwhile, at Sappi’s Lanaken mill in Belgium, the paper machine 8 (PM8) has been successfully started up following a grade conversion rebuild that has added high-quality wood-free coated paper production to its capabilities.

Last month, Stora Enso announced it will exit the coated wood-free paper market in September 2020 after confirming plans to convert its Oulo Mill in Finland into packaging board production facility. The company is consulting with employees over the revised plans. The latest proposal would involve shutting one of the site’s paper machines with the potential loss of 400 jobs.

Last summer, the biomaterials group announced a feasibility study into converting its entire production of more than a million tonnes of Lumi coated wood-free paper into brown-based carton board and kraftliner on the two paper machines at the Oulu site in Finland, involving an investment of $789 million.

The revised plans involve a spend of $394 million to convert PM7 to kraftliner with a capacity of 4,50,000 tonnes per annum, modification of the pulp mill to produce unbleached brown pulp, and environmental improvements.

Paper machine 6 and a sheeting plant would be shut down, with the changes to take effect “by the end of 2020 at the latest”.