The Alizay industrial site, acquired in June 2022, has been converted by the Belgian VPK Group into a sustainable development hub for the circular economy. The group invested 200 million euros in the site to convert the existing paper machine into a carbon-free energy-based recycled paper production unit. The site strengthens VPK’s position in the French and European markets through greater vertical integration.
The Alizay hub realizes a strong circular concept. On an annual basis, the site will reuse 550 thousand tons of recycled paper from a 250-km radius around the plant, minimizing CO2 emissions from production and transportation. Finally, a biomass boiler and a water treatment plant produce green energy used during the papermaking process.
Meanwhile, a new paper machine is being commissioned to create an additional annual production capacity of 500 thousand tons of recycled paper for corrugated board when fully operational. Together with VPK’s six other paper mills, this represents an annual output of two million tons, including one million in France.Grazie al modello integrato di VPK, la produzione aggiuntiva di carta di Alizay troverà sbocchi principalmente nei siti di lavorazione degli imballaggi di VPK in Francia e nel Regno Unito. In questo modo il gruppo rafforza la propria integrazione e riduce la dipendenza da fornitori esterni di carta.
Simultaneously with Alizay, the corrugator for the production of innovative “Z-fold” corrugated cardboard was also launched. A technology that makes it possible to produce custom packaging, eliminating void filling and reducing logistics costs.
Also installed is a new digital printer capable of printing high-definition packaging at an unprecedented speed, the first machine of its kind in France. The new line offers a wide variety of applications, such as printing the inside of packaging for e-commerce, point-of-sale displays and other marketing activities, and opens up a new world of possibilities.
Additional expansion of the anime division in Portugal and Spain
Last March VPK Group completed the acquisition of Arteche Paper Group. This further expands its core division with an additional paper mill in Porto and five converting sites in Portugal and Spain. With this acquisition, Corex, VPK Group’s core division, includes four paper mills that supply raw material for processing to the 29 converting sites.
Toward the energy transition
Together with specialized teams, the group continues to work on the energy transition to increase its contribution to the European Green Deal goals for Europe to be the first zero-emission continent by 2050.
To achieve this goal, the group is implementing several renewable energy and decarbonization projects: for example, gradually switching to biomass, cogeneration and efficient use of heat recovered from production processes at all our sites.
By reducing and greening energy consumption, the group is also contributing to our customers’ sustainability goals.
VPK Group maintains strong and solid position
Despite difficult market conditions initiated by the energy crisis and high inflation, the VPK Group has managed to maintain its strong and solid position and deliver a robust result with annual sales of 2.1 billion euros in 2022. A 22 percent increase driven mainly by price increases aimed at recovering significantly increased energy costs and ubiquitous cost inflation. Operating cash flow (Ebitda) was 276 million euros (13%). The VPK Group carried out an investment program of 135 million euros, a significant portion of which was allocated to further improving the sustainability of its operations.