Stora Enso has decided to invest approximately €350 million to convert the Oulu paper mill in Finland into packaging production. The investment includes converting papermachine 7 into high quality virgin fibre based kraftliner production, and the closure of papermachine 6 and sheeting plant. Production on the converted machine is estimated to start by the end of 2020.
‘The conversion of Oulu Mill will enable Stora Enso to further improve its position in the growing packaging business and take a major step forward in its transformation. We have proven competence in running large conversion projects successfully, as we have already converted one paper machine at Varkaus Mill to produce kraftliner,’ said Stora Enso’s CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström.
The group will invest approximately €350 million in the conversion during 2019 to 2022.
The investment will include a new world class line for virgin fibre based kraftliner (both brown and white top) with an annual capacity of 450,000 tonnes, the modification of the pulp mill and drying machine for unbleached brown pulp, as well as investments to enhance the mill’s environmental performance. The project will start with ground work in the summer of 2019, and about 200 contractors will work at the Oulu Mill site during the project.
The converted Oulu Mill will directly employ approximately 180 people. Wood consumption at the mill will increase by 0.5 million m3 to 2.4 million m3 annually. Wood will be purchased mainly from private forest owners in Northern Finland.
As an outcome of the co-determination process started on 25 March 2019, 365 people will be permanently laid off. The redundancies will mainly take place by the end of year 2020, when Oulu Mill will cease to produce woodfree coated papers.
‘We will be working closely together with other Stora Enso locations, the city of Oulu and other stakeholders to support in re-employment for those employees who will not have a position in the new organisation. Our support will include outplacement services as well as individual and group trainings for re-employment. We will also offer financial support for employees starting up their own companies,’ said Kati ter Horst, executive vice president, Stora Enso’s Paper division.
Oulu Mill’s current capacity is 1,080,000 tonnes of woodfree coated papers annually including the Lumi range. Paper production is expected to continue until the end of September 2020.