Stora Enso plans to convert idle paper machine at its Oulu site for consumer board

Stora Enso is starting a feasibility study for the possible conversion of an idle paper machine at its Oulu site in Finland for a high-volume consumer board line. On a successful completion of the feasibility study, an investment decision could be made by the end of 2022 with start-up in 2025.

Stora Enso’s strategy is to invest in growth to support the strong, continuous demand for sustainable packaging. This is one of the key strategic focus areas in which the Group is building its market share with both existing and new customers. Stora Enso already holds a leading global market position in this segment. The potential investment in Oulu would target high-quality and low carbon-footprint packaging segments for frozen and chilled food and beverages, as well as for non-food applications such as pharma and cosmetics. The feasibility study will also assess how the conversion could contribute to Stora Enso’s science-based targets regarding operational CO2 emissions.

“This investment would respond to the strong customer demand to replace plastic in packaging. During the study, we will evaluate the profitability of the possible conversion and how to optimise current production synergies to create a modern mega-site at Oulu. In addition to strong demand, we can rely on an experienced team and what we learnt from the first successful conversion in Oulu, which is already ahead of schedule on profitability,” says Hannu Kasurinen, Executive Vice President, Packaging Materials division.

Based on full ramp-up, the potential top line sales impact of the conversion would gradually reach an annual level of EUR 800 million. Capital expenditure is estimated to be EUR 900–1,000 million during 2023–2026. The investment would include the conversion of the former paper machine and the sheeting facility. It would also include investments in wood handling, the bleached chemi-thermomechanical pulp (BCTMP) plant, the biomass boiler and the effluent treatment plant.

The increase in pulp wood consumption in Oulu would be approximately one million cubic metres, utilising the volumes freed up after closure of the Veitsiluoto site. With the investment, an estimated 150−200 new employees would be needed, including logistics and maintenance. The investment would also utilise captive chemical pulp, creating a net reduction of approximately 300,000 tonnes in Stora Enso’s total market pulp exposure.

The planned annual capacity of the converted machine would be 750,000 tonnes of folding box board (FBB), coated unbleached kraft (CUK) and liner grades.

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