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Stora Enso to Convert Varkaus Mill From Fine Paper to Containerboard

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Stora Enso, Helsinki, Finland, reports that it will begin a feasibility study with the goal of converting the Varkaus Mill fine paper machine in Finland to produce virgin-fiber-based containerboard. The findings of a recently completed pre-feasibility study supported continuation of the process, the company notes. The feasibility study, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014, will evaluate the profitability of the project to manufacture containerboard at Varkaus Mill.

"This is an opportunity to take advantage of two market forces, where one can see a decreasing global market for paper but an increasing global market for board. It is an opportunity to grow in the containerboard market at competitive investment cost," says Hannu Alalauri, SVP Packaging Solutions at Stora Enso Renewable Packaging.

If the investment is approved following the feasibility study, the capital expenditure for the conversion is estimated to be in the range of EUR 80–100 million and in line with Stora Enso's investment criteria. Utilizing existing capabilities within Stora Enso by modifying them to a new product line is part of Stora Enso's transformation to a value-creating renewable materials company focusing on growth markets.

"Containerboard is a key growth market for Stora Enso. We have already invested EUR 280 million in our recovered-paper-based containerboard mill site at Ostrołęka, Poland, and now we are actively evaluating a next step in virgin-fiber-based packaging grades," says Hannu Alalauri.

Varkaus Mill, which employs 260 people, has one paper machine with an annual capacity of 285,000 metric tons of uncoated fine paper. The potential capacity of the board machine would be about 350,000 metric tpy.


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