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Metsä Board Elaborates on New Paperboard Strategy

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Mikko Helander, CEO of Metsä Board (formerly M-real), Finland, a producer of cartonboards and coated white-top kraftliners, as well as various paper grades, explained his company's strategy to refocus on paperboard to attendees at Drupa last week. "Metsä Board has undergone significant structural changes, transforming from a paper company to a profitable paperboard company. We look forward to a future based on sustainable products, modernized mills, and improved services," Helander said.

"Packaging is one of the biggest businesses in the world, and there is major growth potential for our paperboards in many markets," Helander added. "Following the successful rebuild at our Ӓänekoski mill, Metsä Board's cartonboard investment program 2011 - 2012 has met one of its key aims—increased capacity. We are now working toward ‘Super Productivity' in a systematic program to make our productivity the best in the industry."

Metsä Board has increased its cartonboard capacity by 150,000 metric tpy, to 935,000 metric tpy, by investing in three cartonboard mills in Finland. The Metsä Board Simpele rebuild was completed June 2011, Kyro in November 2011, and Ӓänekoski in May 2012. Refocusing of the Kemi linerboard mill's production to coated grades after an investment in 2011 has been a success. Metsä Board's state-of-the-art paperboard capacity, including the Kemi mill, today totals 1.31 million metric tpy.

Helander emphasised that Metsä Board is committed to the development of its remaining paper business. "Our paper production is now focused on Husum, in Sweden, Europe's largest fine paper and pulp operation with a capacity of more than 1.5 million metric tpy. We are European market leaders in wallpaper base paper, made at the Kyro mill in Finland, and Chromolux cast coated papers and boards, produced at Gohrsmühle in Germany."

Pasi Piiparinen, newly-appointed SVP, head of Paperboard, Metsä Board, talked about future developments. "It is not only increased capacity that counts. We continue to invest in energy efficiency, decreasing our carbon dioxide emissions and reducing the use of energy derived from fossil fuels. We are investing in a new bio power plant at our Kyro mill site in Hämeenkyrӧ, Finland, which will use discarded wood as fuel."

Metsä Board continues work on product and service development. For example, sheeting operations at the Äänekoski board mill and Gohrsmühle site will further improve its service portfolio and the availability of sheeted cartonboard. The company's new R&D Center will research ways of supporting customers in the packaging industry as well as applications for new raw materials from forest fibers, and study how its products can match rapidly-evolving printing and converting technologies.

"We maintain a dialogue with customers as to how best we can develop our products to meet their needs and address specific concerns," adds Piiparinen. "We are confident this will help uphold Metsä Board's leadership in paperboard development into the future. Sustainability is at the heart of our business and increasingly consumers appreciate the benefits of our fresh forest fiber paperboards, knowing they are made from a renewable resource that comes from responsibly managed forests, and that they are recyclable. All of our raw materials can be traced back to their source. Fresh forest fibers enable the production of light but stiff boards, in which we have invested significantly over many years, and are strong, clean, and pure, making them ideal for use in contact with food or other sensitive products," Piiparinen concluded.


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