FINLAND – Finnish forestry group Stora Enso has announced a US$983.58 million (€1 billion) investment to convert the remaining idle paper machine at its Oulu site in Finland into a high-volume consumer board production line.

According to the firm, the investment is intended to accelerate the growth in renewable packaging by offering new volumes for growing packaging segments.

Stora Enso said that the first machine conversion started at the Oulu site in 2021 from paper to kraft liner.

The last idle paper line will be transformed into an advanced, extremely flexible consumer board line for folding box board (FBB) and coated unbleached kraft (CUK).

The converted machine is expected to be operational in early 2025 and will produce a total of 750,000 tonnes of consumer board annually.

Food and beverage packaging, particularly frozen and chilled, as well as dry and fast food, are the targeted end-use markets, with a focus on Europe and North America, the paper firm said.

Stora Enso President and CEO Annica Bresky said: “Renewable packaging continues to be our largest strategic growth area. It’s also a market that is now, for the first time, growing faster than plastics-based alternatives.

“Through this conversion, we can build on existing assets for quick and cost-effective time-to-market compared to other investment alternatives. This puts us in a strong position to drive revenue growth and build market share.”

The investment is in line with Stora Enso’s commitments to sustainability. The expanded recycling capabilities of the product line of the Packaging Materials business will also enhance circularity, the firm noted.

As a result of the initial conversion in 2021, the overall scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions at the Oulu site are reduced by 80%.

The investment will create 1,500 more indirect employment opportunities in addition to 300 new jobs at the Oulu facility and support roles.

Financial report for the Q3 of 20222

Meanwhile, the Finnish company has also released its results for Q3, and for the year to date. The company’s sales increased by 15% to US$2.91 billion (€2.96bn) in Q3, while its operational EBIT was up by 29% to US$518.35 million (€527m).

For the first nine months of the year, its sales were US$8.68 billion (€8.82bn) while its operational EBIT was US$1.51 billion (€1.54bn).

On its outlook, the company said it remains vigilant against the persisting market disruptions and uncertainties such as increased geopolitical risk, the rapidly changing macroeconomic environment, inflationary pressures, logistical constraints, and material shortages.

“To manage volatility, measures such as pricing, flexibility in sourcing and logistics, as well as hedging are in place,” said the company in a statement.

“Stora Enso also benefits from its high self-sufficiency in the wood of 30% and in the energy of 69% for the group.”

For all the latest packaging and printing industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.