Lidl owner to acquire Stora Enso Maxau paper mill

Richard Stuart-Turner
Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The German owner of supermarket chains Lidl and Kaufland has agreed to buy Stora Enso’s Maxau paper production site in Germany.

440 staff work at the Maxau paper mill. Image: Stora Enso
440 staff work at the Maxau paper mill. Image: Stora Enso

Stora Enso said today (13 September) that it plans to divest the site to Schwarz Produktion, part of Schwarz Group.

The enterprise value is approximately €210m (£182m). Closing is expected in the beginning of 2023, at the latest, subject to regulatory approvals.

This transaction is part of Stora Enso’s earlier announced plan to divest four of its five paper production sites. In line with its strategy, the company’s focus is on long-term growth potential for its renewable products in packaging, building solutions, and biomaterials innovations.

“We are very pleased with this agreement, as it fulfils our goal of providing a sustainable long-term future for the Maxau site and its employees,” said Seppo Parvi, CFO and head of the Paper division at Stora Enso.

“We will continue with the divestment process for the remaining three paper assets; Nymölla, Hylte and Anjala.”

Schwarz Produktion is expected to assume ownership for the Maxau site at the beginning of 2023. Its plan is to continue paper production at the site, and the 440 staff belonging to the mill organisation will be part of the transaction.

Stora Enso will continue to operate the Maxau site and serve its supercalendered paper (SC) customers until the closing of the transaction.

The deal will reduce Stora Enso’s annual SC paper capacity by 530,000 tonnes. Based on the 2021 figures, the divestment is expected to reduce the company’s annual sales by approximately €250m.

Subject to closing date adjustments, Stora Enso will book a one-time disposal gain of approximately €50m, in its IFRS operating profit in the first quarter of 2023, considered as an item affecting comparability.

The divestment process is also continuing for the remaining paper sites in Nymölla, Hylte, and Anjala with no committed timeline for conclusion. The process has no immediate effect on Stora Enso’s paper operations which continue to serve their respective customers, the company said.

There is a feasibility study ongoing at the Langerbrugge site for the potential conversion of one of the two paper lines into a containerboard line. Stora Enso said it will continue to serve its Langerbrugge paper customers at least until the end of 2024.

The group currently has five paper production sites. In total, the Paper division currently employs around 2,300 staff and in 2021 its net sales were €1.7bn.

Last week Stora Enso boosted its corrugated packaging offering with a €1bn-plus deal to acquire Netherlands-based De Jong Packaging Group.

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