The chief executive of failed German paper mill Scheufelen has started a new paper company employing 26 of his previous firm’s 95 staff.
Stefan Radlmayr is heading up Silphie Paper, which was registered on Germany’s Company House on 27 June and, according to EUWID Pulp and Paper has been set up as “a research and development firm with a focus on alternative raw materials and paper grades”.
The company is planning to use Silphium perfoliatum (Silphie) and other perennial plants as a replacement for wood pulp as raw material in paper production.
Scheufelen, which filed for insolvency in February seven months after it was resurrected as Scheufelen GmbH, is meanwhile in the process of being wound up. The company’s predecessor Papierfabrik Scheufelen had filed for insolvency at the end of January 2018.
With operations at Silphie Paper set to begin in the first half of 2020, the company plans to resume production on paper machine 2, the smallest and oldest of the three paper machines used by Scheufelen at its mill in Lenningen.
According to German newspaper Der Teckbote, the company will be able to produce 30 to 50 tons of paper daily on the machine and will incorporate the know-how acquired through Scheufelen’s development of its grasspaper product, which it made from grass fibre and pulp.
While sales of grasspaper were slower than expected for Scheufelen, which contributed to its troubles, Radlmayr and his advisors said Silphie will provide a more homogeneous and firmer paper.
Radlmayr told Der Teckbote that his new business wants to preserve the Lenningen base as “a nucleus for paper production” but that as the venture will only take up about one third of the area, he welcomes local efforts to develop ideas for the huge company premises.
“We have found partners who want to join in our project,” he told the publication, but added “we do not start with a sense of triumph”, reflecting on the job loss from Scheufelen.