Demand fuels Smurfit Kappa mill investment

By Hannah Jordan, Wednesday 15 May 2019

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Corrugated and paper-based packaging company Smurfit Kappa has completed a major upgrade to its flagship mill in the Netherlands in response to surging demand for paper-based alternatives to plastic packaging.

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Smurfit Kappa continues investment drive for sustainable packaging production

The Roermond Paper Mill began improvements on its 5m-wide Paper Machine 1 (PM1) a couple of years ago, rebuilding the winder, the press section, the drying section and the film press since then.

The final phase of the upgrade has been completed over the last few months with the install of a state-of-the-art shoe blade gap former, the rebuild of the approach flow system and an extension of the machine hall. Following the improvements PM1 can produce 85-135gsm recycled fluting and testliner at 1,200m/min.

“The investment in the Roermond Paper Mill has significantly strengthened its capabilities as a leading provider of lightweight recycled paper grades,” said chief operating officer, Smurfit Kappa Paper Europe, Laurent Sellier.

He continued: “There has been a growing demand for paper-based packaging as a sustainable alternative to plastic and it is used widely in both the e-commerce and retail sectors.

“Through our Better Planet Packaging initiative we're looking to extend our range of innovative, sustainable solutions that have a positive impact on the environment.”

In 2018 Dublin-headquartered Smurfitt Kappa avoided a take-over bid by US pulp and paper company International Paper going on to deliver a strong set of results for the year with an EBITBA of €1,545m, up 25% on 2017, revenues up 4% and free cashflow up 61% to €494m.

Shortly after International Paper retrtacted its interest in the group in June, Smurfit Kappa announced the completion of a £470m acquisition of Netherlands-based paper and recycling firm Reparenco, one of a number of acquisitions made by the group last year, the others being Papcart in France and FHB paper mill and Avala Ada corrugated plant in Serbia.

Commenting on the acquisitions alongside Smurfit Kappa’s annual results in February, chief executive Tony Smurfit said they were “well positioned in their respective markets and offer great opportunities for future growth, adding three paper machines and four converting sites to the group’s operational footprint.”

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