Stora Enso has started a feasibility study at its paper mill in Langerbrugge, Belgium, for the conversion of one of the two paper machines into a high-volume recycled containerboard machine. Aligned with Stora Enso’s strategic focus on renewable materials, the investment would support the growth opportunity created by the increasing demand for recycled packaging papers.
Stora Enso’s Langerbrugge site currently has two paper machines in production, one for newsprint and one for supercalendared (SC) magazine paper. The feasibility study will focus on the conversion of the site’s newsprint paper machine. The conversion would enable Stora Enso to further grow its recycled and recyclable packaging materials capacity and to meet the growing demand in end-use segments such as industrials, e-commerce, furniture and electronics.
The feasibility study is expected to be finalised in the first half of 2023. Depending on an investment decision, the converted machine is expected to be in production during 2025. The annual capacity would be 700,000 tonnes of testliner and recycled fluting and would generate annual sales of approximately €350m when run at full capacity. The total investment for the conversion is estimated to be approximately €400m.
“Today we produce recycled containerboard in Poland, mainly for the Eastern European market. A conversion in Langerbrugge would establish a competitive position for us in Western Europe as well. In addition to sourcing materials for recycled containerboard, the study will also assess the handling of different incoming recycling streams, including laminated grades. Having successfully completed conversions at other sites, we would be able to leverage important learnings from those projects,” says Hannu Kasurinen, Executive Vice President, Packaging Materials division.
Stora Enso announced in March this year that it was initiating a sales process for possible divestment of four of its five paper production sites. The Langerbrugge site has been excluded from this process and will be retained within the Group. The future of the Langerbrugge site’s SC paper line will be evaluated if a decision is made regarding conversion of the newsprint paper machine.
“If an investment decision is made, the Langerbrugge site will continue to serve our paper customers as usual until at least the end of 2024. The central location, experienced personnel and good access to recycled fiber remain core strengths of the site,” says Kati ter Horst, Executive Vice President, Paper division.