Stora Enso has begun a feasibility study and an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a possible investment in its factory in Oulu, a city in northern Finland. The feasibility study and the EIA are examining a potential conversion of the Oulu paper mill from the production of coated wood free paper to cardboard and kraftliner. The feasibility study should be complete by the end of 2018 and the EIA process should last at least six months.
Currently, the Oulu site has a manufacturing capacity of 360 thousand tons of softwood pulp and a million and 80 thousand tons of coated wood free paper on two machines. The potential investment would include a new thermomechanical cellulose pulp (CTMP) plant, a line of unbleached cardboard with a capacity of 450 thousand tons a year and a line of kraftliner with a capacity of 400 thousand tons annually.
The potential conversion of the Oulu paper mill would enable Stora Enso to further improve its own position in the growing business of packaging and cardboard on the consumer side. The other option is to continue the current production of fine paper. If Stora Enso were to opt for the conversion, that would also mean that the company would withdraw completely from the manufacture of coated wood free paper. Oulu is the only site within the group which continues to produce this after the PM 3 at the Varkaus factory was converted into kraftliner in 2015.
The investment for the potential conversion is estimated at about 700 million euros during 2019-2021. This plan is in line with the Group’s long-term investment policy aimed at maintaining capital expenditure in fixed assets up to the approximate depreciation level. Production on the potential new lines would start in 2020. The production of paper on the Oulu site will continue until at least the start of 2020.