Stora Enso to sell four of its five paper sites

Richard Stuart-Turner
Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Stora Enso has initiated a sales process for a possible divestment of four of its five paper mills.

Bresky: Divestment will increase the focus on Stora Enso's defined strategic growth areas
Bresky: Divestment will increase the focus on Stora Enso's defined strategic growth areas

In line with the Finnish company’s strategy, it said paper is no longer a strategic growth area for the group and that the divestment intent is aligned with its strategy to focus on long-term growth potential for its renewable products in packaging, building solutions, and biomaterials innovations.

The Stora Enso mills earmarked for divestment are: Anjala in Finland, Hylte and Nymölla in Sweden, and Maxau in Germany. The company described the facilities as “high-quality sites for paper and pulp production with strong infrastructure, and skilled and experienced staff”.

Stora Enso president and CEO Annica Bresky said: “Through divesting a majority of our paper assets, we are able to increase the focus on our defined strategic growth areas of renewable packaging, building solutions, and biomaterials innovations.

“When assessing potential divestment options, we look for new ownership that will provide a sustainable long-term future for the sites and the people that work there.”

Stora Enso said the four sites are subject to divestment in one or a series of transactions. The group has not committed to a deadline for the conclusion of the divestment process and said the initiated sales process “has no immediate effect on Stora Enso’s paper operations which continue to serve their respective customers”.

Stora Enso said it will retain its Langerbrugge mill in Belgium within the group. An analyst told Reuters that this site produces magazine paper from used cardboard cups.

A Stora Enso spokesperson told Printweek: “Langerbrugge has a geographically strategic position in terms of our customer base with close proximity to the harbour. It is also a site with strong potential for other usages, [which is] why potential conversion could be a possibility that we explore. But it is too early to make predictions around that at this moment in time.”

The group’s current five paper production sites are all supported by divisional sales, management, and administrative functions.

Investment bank BofA Securities will assist in the sales process.

In total, the group’s Paper division currently employs around 2,200 staff and the group’s financial results for 2021 showed that Paper’s net sales were €1.7bn (£1.4bn), down 14% on 2020. An 18.3% Q4 decrease in sales to €389m was attributed to the group’s Veitsiluoto and Kvarnsveden site closures and the conversion at its Oulu site.

The division’s operational EBITDA for 2021, meanwhile, showed a loss of €48m, compared to a positive EBITDA figure of €66m in 2020.

Stora Enso’s shares were up by 3.08% at €18.89 at the time of writing.

Last month the group signed a letter of intent to divest its Kvarnsveden site to sustainable battery cell supplier Northvolt.


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