Stora Enso today arranged a virtual inauguration ceremony to celebrate the successful conversion of the Oulu Mill which was transformed from paper production into high-quality kraftliner production. The Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, inaugurated the mill. Oulu is Stora Enso’s second successful conversion, following Varkaus Mill, inaugurated in 2016.
The EUR 350 million conversion project proceeded according to plan, from the investment decision made in May 2019 to the start of the commercial deliveries in the first quarter of 2021. The current ramp-up phase is proceeding ahead of plan, and the customer feedback has been positive. The new machine is estimated to reach its designed annual production capacity of 450 000 tonnes by the end of the June 2021.
“Stora Enso has a long and proud history of being able to transform, innovate and embrace the future. Today’s inauguration celebrates a successfully completed project. Packaging already today represents more than 40% of our total sales. The additional kraftliner capacity in Oulu enables us to further strengthen Stora Enso’s offering in the global markets with significant room for growth,” says Annica Bresky, Stora Enso’s President and CEO.
The product, AvantForteTM by Stora Enso, has three fibre layers, making it the strongest kraftliner in Stora Enso’s portfolio. Packaging applications include fresh, fatty or moist food, as well as high-end e‑commerce packaging. Customers with demanding packaging end-uses that require strength, purity and strong visual appearance features benefit from Oulu’s new product. The market demand for the product is strong, as the global containerboard demand is forecasted to grow +2% per annum.
“It is very rewarding to enable more premium capacity for the booming containerboard market. The pandemic has clearly played a role in changing consumer habits, such as online shopping and healthy eating — they are both areas in which renewable packaging materials play an important role. Now, with AvantForte, our strong quality kraftliner from Oulu, we have a new high-end product selection that we can offer to our customers,” says Hannu Kasurinen, Executive Vice President, Packaging Materials division.
The investment included a conversion of paper machine 7 into a world-class production line for virgin-fibre based kraftliner as well as the modification of the pulp mill and drying machine for unbleached brown pulp. In addition, Stora Enso invested EUR 40 million to enhance the mill’s environmental performance.