Metsa reneges on price promise

By Pamela Mardle, Friday 01 March 2013

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Metsa Board has gone against parent company Metsa Group's pledge to buck the recent trend of raising prices by announcing an intention to increase its uncoated woodfree paper prices in the next few months.

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Only last month, Metsä Group claimed "no significant changes in the price of uncoated fine paper are visible", adding that liner board and folding boxboard was not likely to be subject to inflation in the next few months.

But PrintWeek has received a notice from the paper manufacturer’s communications team which said "Metsä Board see no alternative but to look to improve price levels in order to preserve product sustainability and customer service quality, with a return to solid pricing policies".

The increase to pricing is yet to be decided, but it is expected to come into effect in the next few months and affect all uncoated woodfree paper.

The unexpected increase is being blamed on surging raw material costs – mainly pulp, as well as energy and transport prices – as well as "unsustainably low levels" of profit margins.

Metsä Board Paper and Pulp vice president of sales and marketing Mattias Kronberg said: "Everyone wants high quality, environmentally sustainable, aesthetically attractive and innovative products, but there is a price tag for that. Right now that price is not being met.

"We need to get back to a situation where a viable margin balance is restored with a return to solid pricing policies."

The announcement follows shortly after fellow paper manufacturers Arjowiggins and Sappi proposed price increases across their coated papers due to similar issues with rising energy, transport and pulp costs.


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