Possible conversion of UPM Chapelle Darblay to containerboard


A conversion of UPM’s idled Chapelle Darblay mill in France to recycled containerboard is becoming increasingly likely. The Rouen Métropole Normandie municipal agency officially announced that it will exercise its pre-emptive right to buy UPM’s shuttered Chapelle Darblay mill in France, reports trade union Filpac CGT. The municipal body will then resell the site. «La Chapelle Darblay, » says the mayor of Rouen, Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, «is ‘the’ French and European site for recycled paper. This is not just a local issue. It would have been detrimental to our territory and to France to lose this know-how, these qualifications, this history».

The mayor of Rouen believes that «the priority is to develop employment, the circular economy on our territory». This decision comes as no surprise. In October 2021, the Métropole recalled that, under French law, it had a right of first refusal on the Chapelle Darblay industrial site and that it would use it.

In fact, the Finnish group UPM had already entered into a sales agreement with the recycling company Paprec and the investment company Samfi, which intended to produce hydrogen and operate a sorting plant for wastepaper and plastic at the site. This transaction now seems to be blocked.

Trade unions and local authorities are supporting a project that has been prepared by the recycling company Veolia and the pulp producer Fiber Excellence. The companies want to rebuild the paper machine to produce corrugated cardboard. The plant can count on a recycling capacity of 480 thousand tonnes per year, the result of sorting 24 million inhabitants within a 400km radius, including in particular the Paris region.

«We have the budget».

The owner of the site has been notified of the pre-emption with a two-month appeal period. An extraordinary metropolitan council will also be held to vote on the purchase of equipment – machines, spare parts, computer applications, stock, etc. – from the factory. – from the factory.

The land is valued at 5 million EUR excluding taxes, the equipment at 3 million EUR.