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Stora Enso Invests in Competence Center, Diversifying Fossil-Free Base for Biocomposites

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So as to meet increasing customer demand, Stora Enso (Helsinki, Finland) announced on Wednesday (Aug. 15, 2018) the company will broaden its biocomposites raw material base at the Hylte Mill, Sweden to provide more choice in technical properties and selection of fibers. The investment covers a new Biocomposites Competence Center and the installation of new machinery for the milling of large fibers for the DuraSense™ by Stora Enso biocomposite material.

"As we see an increasing demand for the innovative DuraSense™ biocomposite, the diversification of the raw material base and the new Biocomposites Competence Center will provide Stora Enso with faster access to the market for replacing fossil-based plastics with renewable ones," said Jari Suominen, EVP, Stora Enso’s Wood Products Division. "With our fully integrated process and excellent fiber knowledge we can enhance our growth in this market."

"With the new equipment in place, Stora Enso will be able to provide more choice to DuraSense™ users in the technical properties and selection of fibers for the biocomposites, and also offer an attractive price position compared to traditional plastics. This will make it easier for customers to switch from existing material solutions to those based on biocomposites," said Patricia Oddshammar, head of biocomposites at Stora Enso.

Production of large fibers is scheduled to start by the end of 2019.
The Biocomposites Competence Center will be built in one of the existing buildings at Hylte Mill. The competence center will house a laboratory and piloting facilities, performance testing capabilities and a show room. The building project for the competence center is estimated to start in the 2018 and be completed during 2019.

"At the new Biocomposites Competence Centre we will be able to share our knowledge with our customers as well as assist them with test runs and product testing, step by step," Oddshammar said.

The investment of EUR 7 million will further strengthen Stora Enso’s position as a renewable materials company. The biocomposite mill in Hylte started up earlier this year. Its production capacity is 15,000 metric tpy, making it the largest wood fiber-based biocomposite plant in Europe. Although the new investment will not have significant impact on the production capacity, it will diversify the raw material base.

Once fully ramped up, the biocomposite business will increase Stora Enso wood products sales by approximately EUR 25 million and will exceed the division’s profitability target, operational return on operating capital (ROOC) of 20%.

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