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Investment in the future/extensive conversion/production of light-weight fluted paper to commence as early as September
Remshalden/Erembodegem. The Klingele group (Germany) and the VPK Packaging Group (Belgium) are bringing fresh impetus to the packaging market with a major investment for the future. Through their French joint venture Blue Paper SAS, which was established specially for the purpose, they are acquiring the Stracel newsprint plant in Strasbourg. Following the offer submitted last summer, the sale of the plant for an undisclosed sum was formally approved by the previous owner, the French subsidiary of Scandinavian company UPM, on 22 January, 2013.
The official transfer of ownership of the plant, with its excellent connections to water, road and rail networks, is scheduled for March. Also included in the purchase along with the paper machine are a waste-water treatment plant, a biomass boiler and other ancillary equipment.
Blue Paper wants to convert the plant to produce packaging made of recycled waste paper and plans to commence production in September. In order to realise these ambitious targets, initial measures are already in place.
Extensive renovation and conversion works
With a trimmed width of 8.5 metres, UPM Stracel's paper machine previously produced LWC paper at a speed of 1,600 m/min. From September, the paper machine will initially have an annual capacity of some 277,000 tons of fluting paper and testliner ranging from 70 to 130 g/m2 . Production capacity is set to increase to over 400,000 tons per year in due course.
The investment to bring the Strasbourg paper plant into line with the latest technical, economic and environmental standards will amount to more than €100 million. With Metso and Kadant acting as main suppliers for the paper machine and stock preparation respectively, the new owners have secured the services of experienced partners to guarantee that their ambitious project is completed on schedule.
The conversion work covers a range of measures that includes a new stock preparation based on waste paper, a new headbox, adaptation of the gap former, conversion of the press and pre-dryer section, a new film press, a new after drying section, improvements to the winders, a new anaerobic waste water treatment and the introduction of combined heat and power generation. Further significant investments will be made in the areas of automation, process system, paper reel handling, technical and commercial computer systems, starch preparation as well as extensive civil works.
The project will create 130 jobs, which Blue Paper plans to offer to the very experienced and highly qualified former UPM Stracel employees.
A unique situation in Europe
Klingele and VPK have a joint production capacity of 600,000 tons of paper and 1,000,000 tons of corrugated packaging. This level of demand allows a large portion of the output of Blue Paper to be sold internally, which significantly reduces the investment risk of this additional capacity in corrugated board based on waste-paper. Coupled with both partner's extensive experience in paper manufacturing, this creates a situation that is undoubtedly unique in Europe – one that makes the project particularly attractive.
By increasing production capacity, boosting availability and expanding their portfolio, the joint venture partners, who are already cooperating as part of the Blue Box Partners strategic marketing alliance, are paving the way for a sustainable and secure future.
The ambitious Blue Paper project provides strong support for the strategic direction of both companies, whose core business is founded on the production of high-quality packaging materials and packaging made of recycled waste-paper.
Thanks to expertise accumulated over many years, cutting-edge production technologies, a highly flexible service ethic and a consistent focus on customer needs, both companies have developed into efficient partners and indispensable problem solvers for their customers as well as key innovators in the market.
Klingele, a German family-owned company since 1920, is one of the leading independent producers of containerboard and packaging made of corrugated board. With one paper mill, six integrated corrugated plants and seven converting plants in Europe and Africa, the group generates sales of €340 million and has a total of 1,250 employees.
VPK Packaging Group NV is an integrated European packaging group with 33 facilities spread across 12 European countries, realizing sales of €700 million with a workforce of 3,000 people.
Klingele and VPK are two of the four co-founders of the European Economic Interest Group 'Blue Box Partners'. Blue Box Partners, established in 2006, is an alliance of four family-owned companies that produce and supply corrugated packaging products all over Europe. Each partner of Blue Box is well established in its home market. The combined sales of all Blue Box Partners companies are €1.4 billion with a total capacity of 2.3 billion square metres of corrugated packaging.
For further information, please contact:
Dr. Jan KLINGELE, Managing Partner of the Klingele group
Sylvia HUBER, Public Relations
T: + 49 7151 701 278
Pierre MACHARIS, CEO of VPK Packaging Group NV
Erik PEETERS, CFO of VPK Packaging Group NV
T: + 32 52 261 208
M: + 32 478 500 387