Heinzel Group announced earlier this week the conversion of an idled paper machine at the Steyrermühl mill in Austria for the production of sustainable kraft papers for flexible packaging. Heinzel will take over the Steyrermühl site from UPM on January 1st, 2024, according to an agreement signed in 2022, and will enter the market with a new range of unbleached and bleached kraft papers shortly thereafter.
“This is the first step in our plan to develop the Laakirchen community with the Steyrermühl mill and our neighboring Laakirchen mill into a European hub for sustainable packaging papers and renewable energy”, says Heinzel Group CEO Sebastian Heinzel. “The new papers will complement our existing range and allow us to offer sustainable products replacing fossil-based packaging solutions.”
All relevant competition authorities have now approved the sale of the Steyrermühl mill from UPM to Heinzel. In accordance with the agreement, the ownership of the idled paper machine in Steyrermühl has been transferred to Heinzel Group and the conversion project has begun. Austrian equipment manufacturer Andritz has won the order for the rebuild. Once converted by early 2024, the machine will produce up to 150,000 tons of brown and white low-grammage kraft papers per year to be marketed under Heinzel Group’s well-established STARKRAFT brand. “With this investment, STARKRAFT will become the world’s leading brand for bleached and unbleached kraft papers”, says Werner Hartmann, COO of Zellstoff Pöls AG, where Heinzel Group already produces 200,000 tons of kraft papers. “We are excited to expand our product portfolio for all relevant packaging segments, especially for so-called flexpack and food applications.”
The Steyrermühl paper mill, currently still owned by UPM, has a long history of producing top-quality graphic paper products. The conversion of the machine will enable the mill to enter the growing market for packaging papers. The new kraft paper grades produced will be used in the production of bags, pouches, and other flexible packaging products. At the site UPM today operates one paper machine for newsprint production, a sawmill, and a residue incineration plant co-owned with Heinzel’s Laakirchen Papier. UPM plans to continue operations as-is until the end of 2023 when the production of graphic papers in Steyrermühl will be ceased.