CHINA – Finnish pulp and paper maker Stora Enso has announced plans to divest its consumer board production site and forestry operations in China.
The divestment would also include the Group’s forestry operations in the surrounding region, which supply raw materials to the Beihai site.
According to the company, the sales process supports Stora its strategy to focus on long-term profitable growth within the areas of renewable packaging, building solutions and biomaterials innovations.
Stora Enso’s strategic ambition is to build on its leading position in the fiber-based packaging market.
The divestment of the Beihai operations would allow Stora Enso to accelerate its strategy by focusing on cost-efficient sites serving the growing global packaging market, such as the recently announced investment in Oulu, Finland and the pending acquisition of De Jong Packaging Group.
The aim is to find a sustainable alternative for the future of the operations in Beihai and the people working there.
The divestment of the board mill and forestry operations would be conducted separately or as a combined unit.
Stora Enso has not committed to a timeline for the conclusion of the process. The divestment plan has no immediate effect on Stora Enso’s financials or on the Beihai site’s production. The site continues to serve its customers.
Operating since 2016, the Beihai factory employs 1,000 people and has an annual capacity of 250,000 tonnes of mechanical pulp and 550,000 tonnes of consumer board.
It has a modern mechanical pulp mill and a premium consumer board line serving the Chinese market.
Stora Enso also operates 70,000 hectares of land in the Guangxi region for eucalyptus plantations, established in 2003, for fiber supply.
Stora Enso owns approximately 80% of the production site and forest operations, and its local partners and International Finance Corporation (IFC) own the remaining share.
Earlier this month, the company made multiple investments in Europe to bolster its focus on specialized pulp grades.
Stora Enso invested US$40.4 million (€38m) in unbleached kraft pulp (UKP) production at its Enocell site in Finland, as well as US$44.7 million (€42m) to improve fluff pulp production at its facility in Skutskär, Sweden.
The investment in Stora Enso’s Enocell site will allow it to produce UKP and Nordic Bleached Softwood Kraft pulp flexibly.
Meanwhile, the investment in its Skutskär site will strengthen the firm’s position as one of Europe’s leading producers of fluff pulp.
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