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Stora Enso invests EUR 97m to debottle and expand board capacity in Skoghall

Global forest industry major Finland-headed Stora Enso Oyj has announced that it is investing EUR 97 million to expand the board production at the Skoghall site in Sweden. At the same time, the company is initiating a pre-feasibility study to convert the second, currently idle, line at its Oulu site in Finland, to a packaging board line.

Stora Enso Oyj is investing EUR 97 million to expand the board production at its Skoghall site in Sweden. At the same time, the company is initiating a pre-feasibility study to convert the second, currently idle, line at its Oulu site in Finland, to a packaging board line (photo courtesy Stora Enso).

According to the company, market demand for sustainable packaging is increasing, and Stora Enso is a global leader in consumer packaging with strong market positions in “attractive end-uses.”

Stora Enso’s Skoghall site in western Sweden is a modern, world-class producer of consumer packaging board, for liquid packaging and dry food packaging. Total annual production currently exceeds 800 000 tonnes of board.

The investment in Skoghall will further drive profitable growth in attractive end-use segments, such as liquid packaging board and coated unbleached kraft, and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.

Following the investment, the annual packaging board production at Skoghall can be increased by approximately 100 000 tonnes, to a total capacity exceeding 900 000 tonnes, subject to environmental permits.

Skoghall is one of our key integrated production sites for eco-friendly packaging materials. The investment strengthens Stora Enso’s capability to produce high-quality and cost-competitive consumer board grades within the growing core segments of liquid and food packaging, said Hannu Kasurinen, EVP Stora Enso’s Packaging Materials division.

Pulp capacity expansion plans dropped

The investment decision follows the completion of the feasibility study announced in November 2020. Based on the study, Stora Enso has decided not to go ahead with the originally planned pulp capacity expansion.

The original feasibility study had an estimated capital expenditure of approximately EUR 800–850 million for both pulp and board capacity expansion.

Instead, the board expansion in Skoghall will be implemented through debottlenecking of one of the existing production lines, and executed in two steps, utilizing the scheduled maintenance stops.

Investigate possible second line in Oulu

Growth in sustainable packaging is a long-term strategic objective for Stora Enso and its Oulu site is a premium kraftliner producer in northern Finland.

In early 2021, one of two former paper machines was converted to kraftliner for consumer packaging applications. The pulp mill and drying machine were modified to produce unbleached brown pulp. The second former paper production line has been kept idle in the meantime.

Following the successful conversion in Oulu from paper to kraftliner production for food applications, Stora Enso has decided to initiate a pre-feasibility study to convert the second, idle paper line into a packaging board line.

The first conversion ramp-up in Oulu has proceeded ahead of schedule since production started at the beginning of this year. When fully ramped up, the annual capacity of the first line is 450 000 tonnes of kraftliner and 550 000 tonnes of pulp.

A second conversion would further improve the Oulu site’s flexibility and competitiveness, through integrated pulp availability, additional fixed and variable cost savings, and the ability to utilize the adjacent deep-sea harbour.

The pre-feasibility study will be completed in early 2022.

In Oulu, the ramp-up of the first converted production line has been successfully executed, reaching towards full capacity, quality requirements as well as profitability ahead of plan. Through both these growth initiatives, we are demonstrating speedy time-to-market and ability to respond to the increasing demand for more sustainable packaging, ended Hannu Kasurinen.

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