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Sappi announces financial results for fourth quarter and full year
 22.11.2019

Sappi announces financial results for fourth quarter and full year  (Company news)

Commenting on the results, Sappi Chief Executive Officer Steve Binnie (photo) said: “An initially strong start to the year was unfortunately offset by weak graphic paper markets and lower dissolving wood pulp (DWP) prices driven by the ongoing trade wars and slower economic growth in various geographies. Our EBITDA declined by 10% year-on-year due to lower dissolving wood pulp prices and weak graphic paper demand. Our strategy to diversify our product portfolio into higher margin segments continues to deliver positive results.”

“The trend towards paper-based packaging in consumer segments continues, and we experienced stable demand for containerboard in the South African market. The recent projects to increase capacity at each of the DWP mills and convert capacity at Somerset and Maastricht Mills towards packaging boosted sales volumes in each of these segments during the year, and for the quarter delivered improved margins, thereby lessening the impact of weak graphic paper markets.”

Reflecting on the fourth quarter, Binnie indicated: “I am pleased that we were able to generate cash of US$173 million in the quarter thereby ending the year with net debt at US$1,501 million. This was done by tightly managing working capital and postponing discretionary capital expenditure.”

Looking forward, Binnie stated: “Due to the current very weak pricing in the DWP market and with paper markets yet to show signs of a sustained recovery in demand, we expect EBITDA in the first quarter of financial year 2020 to be below that of 2019. Management have taken a number of steps to mitigate the effect that the current uncertain market conditions and low DWP prices are having on the profitability and leverage of the group. These steps include tighter working capital management, the postponement and reduction in capital expenditure. The directors have furthermore concurred with management that it would be prudent to temporarily halt dividends until such time as market conditions improve.”

Financial summary for Q4 FY19 and full-year ended September 2019:
EBITDA excluding special items
-For the quarter US$185 million (Q4 FY18 US$224 million)
-For the year US$687 million (FY18 US$762 million)
Profit for the period
-For the quarter US$50 million (Q4 FY18 US$107 million)
-For the year US$211 million (FY18 US$323 million)
EPS excluding special items
-For the quarter 10 US cents (Q4 FY18 19 US cents)
-For the year 44 US cents (FY18 60 US cents)
Strong cash generation for the quarter of US$173 million (Q4 FY18 US$26 million)
Net debt US$1,501 million (FY18 US$1,568 million)

The major factors which influenced the group’s results include:
-We experienced prolonged weakness in global graphic paper markets.
-In the second half of the year the graphic paper segment started to benefit from a reduction in input costs, particularly paper pulp, helping to mitigate the impact of lower volumes.
-The year started strongly for DWP markets, with pricing above long-term averages for the first six months. Thereafter, the combination of the impact from global trade wars on Chinese textile markets, excess viscose staple fibre (VSF) capacity and a weaker Renminbi exchange rate drove DWP prices to historic lows, impacting profitability in this segment.

In particular for the quarter:
-A resequencing of the expansion project at Saiccor Mill resulted in lower capital expenditure than previously forecast for the quarter. The capital expenditure of US$135 million related mainly to
-the expansion of DWP capacity and woodyard upgrade at Saiccor Mill as well as the completion of the Lanaken Mill PM8.
-The European business benefitted from widening margins between selling prices and input costs, however, this was not enough to offset the impact of the continued severe decline in graphic paper sales volumes.
-Profitability in the North American business improved sequentially in this seasonally strong quarter, however, weak domestic coated paper markets and lower DWP selling prices lowered profitability compared to last year.
-Increased packaging and DWP sales volumes in addition to sales price benefits from the weaker Rand/US$ exchange rate helped mitigate some of the cost increases for the South African business.

Outlook
The markets we operate in are expected to continue to be challenging in the coming year, and profitability is likely to be negatively impacted as a result. DWP pricing in particular will have a significant impact on earnings as this segment is a major contributor to our profits and cash flow generation. We have responded by reducing our capital expenditure both this past year and the next, and other than the 110,000 tons per annum expansion of Saiccor Mill which is currently underway we have not committed capital to any material project. We have reduced working capital, amended debt covenants, targeted further cost reductions and are evaluating various options regarding our paper machines in Europe in order to lower fixed costs and match capacity to demand.

DWP pricing remains under significant pressure, having declined to historic lows of US$638/ton at the time of writing this report, US$306/ton below that of a year ago. We believe that current pricing is below the cash cost of production for a significant proportion of global supply and is therefore unsustainable over any prolonged period. Underlying demand for DWP is still growing at rates consistent with our long-term forecasts. A recovery in DWP prices is likely to be prompted by a recovery in VSF prices which have been depressed by excess VSF capacity and a weak Chinese textile market.

In the packaging and speciality paper segment we are making good progress with customer acceptance in both the US and European markets and the ramp-up of volumes continues, aided by the shift from plastic to paper in many packaging categories. However, the slowing South African economy will likely impact domestic demand for containerboard in the coming year.

Global graphic paper markets continue to experience weakness due to a combination of economic factors as well as the ongoing shift towards digital media. Pricing has declined only marginally over the past quarter, and as paper pulp prices in Europe and North America approach those prevalent in China, margins should be maintained.

Capital expenditure in 2020 is expected to decrease to US$460 million as we complete the Saiccor Mill 110,000 tons per annum expansion project and some smaller European pulp mill debottlenecking projects. The payment of the adjusted Matane Mill net acquisition price of approximately US$158m will be made in the first quarter of the financial year, funded via a new term loan.
(Sappi Limited)

Walki®Lid helps Arla go greener
 22.11.2019

Walki®Lid helps Arla go greener  (Company news)

Fibre-based Walki®Lid helps consumers enjoy their snacks with zero aluminium. For global dairy giant Arla, it also provides a way to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of its packaging.

With the demand for sustainable solutions increasing, companies are searching for innovative solutions to make their packaging more recyclable and sustainable. For dairy and dry foods, this means finding an alternative for lids traditionally made of aluminium.

Walki®Lid, Walki’s paper-based material for single-cup lids, hits the nail on the head – or the lid on the cup – for Arla’s dairy products. In Finland, Arla uses the material for its 175g Arla Luonto+ yogurts, and in Sweden for cottage cheese and crème fraiche as well. The entire packaging can be recycled by pulping or burned for energy production.

According to Kati Janhunen, Brand & Category Manager at Arla, the aim is to make Arla Luonto+ the healthiest, tastiest and most socially responsible yogurt brand in Finland.

“We’re a very consumer-oriented company and we listen to consumers extremely carefully,” she explains. “The consumers that choose Arla Luonto+ deem sustainability very important.”

Janhunen says that Arla is always looking for ways to enable more and more sustainable consumer choices through continuous R&D with sustainability at its core.

“As the packaging industry is constantly evolving, it’s our responsibility to offer consumers the best possible solution.”

Many demands, one answer
The lids are manufactured by Pyroll, a paper, converting and packaging company from Finland, using material provided by Walki. Sales Director Marko Manu says that the lid is a bit of a packaging superstar: it has an excellent aroma, water vapour and gas barrier, is easy to peel yet still durable to avoid tearing, and also fully recyclable. On top of all this, it suits the clients’ packaging processes.

“There are plenty of technicalities that need to be taken into account both on our end as well as our customer’s,” he notes, “without forgetting the fact that the most important job for the packaging is to protect the product inside it and ensure a certain shelf life.”

Many believes that there is plenty more to come in the packaging sector when it comes to sustainability.

“It’s a common challenge for us packaging manufacturers and our customers to come up with new and innovative solutions to boost the presence of recyclable alternatives and find ways to make them both economical and technically efficient.”

Serious commitments to sustainability
For Walki’s Flexible Packaging Business Line Manager Heikki Lumme and Technical Service and Development Manager Henri Torkkola, the challenges of replacing aluminium in lids are familiar. However, they both point out that many customers, including Arla, want the entire package to be recyclable, not just the cup.

Walki has been developing its fibre-based materials ever since the 1990s. The company has worked hard to beat aluminium’s good qualities, such as heat resistance, and to create a material that suits existing packaging processes, meets food safety standards and can be printed on. Walki®Lid is the answer to all these questions.

When it comes to carbon footprint, Walki®Lid beats aluminium one nil. This, as Lumme says, makes the product particularly suitable for companies that are seriously committed to reducing their emissions throughout the supply chain.
(Walki Group Oy)

New Solution Release: Intelligent Pulp Solution
 22.11.2019

New Solution Release: Intelligent Pulp Solution  (Company news)

Stora Enso introduces a turnkey solution for the pulp industry available to all pulp producers and consumers.

Stora Enso produces and sells millions of tons of pulp in different grades every year. Based on the company’s long history in the pulp business, Stora Enso sees a lot of hidden value in the pulp value chain. However, the lack of visibility and unit-level traceability inhibits companies from realizing this value to the fullest.

With the new Intelligent Pulp Solution by Stora Enso Intelligent Packaging, companies can achieve full traceability across the pulp value chain, unlocking value for producers, transporters, warehouse operators and consumers.

The turnkey solution includes Stora Enso’s
-Paper-based, repulpable and water-soluble ECO Bale RFID tags
-Pulp industry specific Hammer system consisting of the Hammer Central Unit, off-the-shelf industrial-grade label applicator and RFID accessories.
-Predesigned and tested Sonar Readpoints for clamp trucks, gate reading points and much more.
-Bridge Middleware and Cloud, consisting of software components to fully capture, store and leverage the data.

With the Intelligent Pulp Solution, there are benefits to be captured all along the value chain where all players will benefit from increased data availability, visibility and transparency. The more the supply chain becomes integrated, the more benefits there will be.
(Stora Enso Oyj)

Valmet to deliver a new lime kiln and a fiberline upgrade for SCA Obbola kraftliner expansion ...
 21.11.2019

Valmet to deliver a new lime kiln and a fiberline upgrade for SCA Obbola kraftliner expansion ...  (Company news)

... project in Sweden

Valmet will deliver key technology for upgrading the SCA Obbola mill’s pulp production in Sweden. Valmet’s delivery includes a new fossil free lime kiln and upgrade of the existing fiberline. The pulp production upgrades will happen in stages. The upgraded fiberline will start up in June 2021 and the new lime kiln is scheduled to start up during the last quarter of 2021.

Photo: lime kiln services in the pulp and paper industry

The order is included in Valmet’s orders received of the fourth quarter 2019. The value of the order will not be disclosed. A project of this size and scope is typically valued at around EUR 50 million.

Valmet’s delivery is part of SCA’s major investment to increase the annual production of kraftliner in Obbola mill from the current 450,000 tonnes to 725,000 tonnes per year. The total investment amounts to SEK 7.5 billion (about EUR 700 million) over a five-year period.

“With the investment in Obbola mill, we can meet the increased demand for sustainable packaging. We selected Valmet to deliver new technology for our pulp mill upgrade as we have had good experiences of Valmet technology at both our Obbola mill and other SCA mills,” tells Per Strand, Project Director from SCA.

“This order strengthens our cooperation with SCA. Delivering fossil fuel free lime kiln solution is very much aligned with the strategies of both our companies. SCA valued our technical leadership in lime kilns as well as robust and reliable solutions both for the lime kiln and fiberline,” says Bertel Karlstedt, Pulp and Energy Business Line President, Valmet.
(Valmet Corporation)

Leonhard Kurz wins Red Dot Award for packing design
 21.11.2019

Leonhard Kurz wins Red Dot Award for packing design  (Company news)

The fourth edition of the ‛Box in Box' packaging collection from Leonhard Kurz has been awarded a Red Dot Award for good design. The design box set won the coveted prize in the Packaging Design category of the Red Dot Award: Brands and Communication Design 2019. Over several days, the jury intensively assessed, discussed, and evaluated a total of 8,697 international submissions to the competition before awarding prizes to the best. The award ceremony took place on the first of November at Designers' Night at ewerk, Berlin, where the designers of the award-winning Box in Box, Annie Kuschel and Julia König, received their certificate.

The Box in Box Edition 4 is one in a series of packaging designs that Kurz has been issuing annually. The packaging design takes its inspiration from the latest trends and social developments which the Kurz trend team investigate each year in collaboration with a trend agency. The award-winning Box in Box contains four nested packaging boxes representing individual trend themes. With unusual designs, newly developed trend colors, sophisticated finishing techniques, and striking surface structures, they capture moods and express lifestyles. The aim of the Kurz trend boxes is to give agencies, print shops, and brand name manufacturers a regular dose of fresh ideas and inspiration for innovative packaging decoration. "As we like to inspire other design professionals with our own work, we are particularly pleased that our Box in Box series succeeded in doing so with the Red Dot jury as well. This resulted, in the end, with us receiving a renowned award that confirms Kurz's high standards in aesthetics and design," said Kurz designer Annie Kuschel.

Professor Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award explains: "For around 65 years the Red Dot Award, as one of the world's largest design competitions, has been providing a platform for designers, agencies and companies to evaluate good design. I want to congratulate the laureates sincerely on their distinction, which both bears testimony to their convincing performance and highlights their quality and design leadership. Anyone who succeeds in such a strong and international bunch of competitors deserves to be proud of themselves and of their achievements."

The prize-winning Box in Box design from Kurz will be featured in the International Yearbook Brands & Communication Design 2019/2020, which comes out on 14 November and will be on sale worldwide.
(Leonhard Kurz Stiftung & Co. KG)

Mayr-Melnhof Group: Results for the first three quarters of 2019
 21.11.2019

Mayr-Melnhof Group: Results for the first three quarters of 2019  (Company news)

-Significant increase in sales and earnings
-Good capacity utilization and profit growth in both divisions
-Integration of the Tann-Group according to plan
-Muted market dynamics and pressure on prices persist
-Positive expectations for the 2019 full year remain intact

The Mayr-Melnhof Group was able to maintain with a good third quarter the growth in sales and results in the first three quarters of 2019 despite slowed market dynamics. Both divisions made a significant contribution to this and reported overall good capacity utilization in a competitive environment.

While the cartonboard division benefited from stable average prices and cost reductions, the increased result in the packaging division was largely attributed to the initial inclusion of the Tann-Group.

For the fourth quarter continuing price pressure and lower business volume towards the end of the year are to be expected with the continuation of the so far attained profit level becoming a challenge. Nevertheless, the positive expectations for the entire year 2019 remain intact.

The consolidated sales of the Group totaled EUR 1,924.3 million and were thus 9.1 % or EUR 161.2 million above the previous year’s value (1-3Q 2018: EUR 1,763.1 million). This increase primarily resulted acquisition-related from the packaging division. EBITDA rose by 17.9 % to EUR 297.2 million (1-3Q 2018: EUR 252.1 million).

At EUR 195.6 million, an operating profit 13.5 % or EUR 23.3 million above the previous year’s value was achieved (1-3Q 2018: EUR 172.3 million), with MM Packaging accounting for two thirds and MM Karton for one third of the increase. In the course of the initial consolidation of the Tann-Group one-off expenses from acquisition effects totaling EUR -4.8 million were reported due to recognition of order backlog and inventory measurement. The operating margin amounted to 10.2 % (1-3Q 2018: 9.8 %).

Financial income of EUR 1.0 million (1-3Q 2018: EUR 1.0 million) contrasted with financial expenses of EUR -6.3 million (1-3Q 2018: EUR -4.7 million). “Other financial result − net” increased to EUR 3.9 million (1-3Q 2018: EUR 0.4 million), in particular as a result of foreign currency gains.

Profit before tax went up accordingly by 14.9 % from EUR 169.0 million to EUR 194.2 million. Income tax expense amounted to EUR 47.9 million (1-3Q 2018: EUR 42.6 million), resulting in an effective Group tax rate of 24.7 % (1-3Q 2018: 25.2 %).

Profit for the period thus rose by 15.7 % to EUR 146.3 million (1-3Q 2018: EUR 126.4 million).

Development in the third quarter
At EUR 648.8 million and EUR 71.6 million respectively, Group sales and operating profit in the third quarter of 2019 were above the level of the previous year (3Q 2018: EUR 592.5 million and EUR 58.0 million respectively) due to the acquisition and improvements in current business of both divisions, whereby an operating margin of 11.0 % (1Q/2Q 2019: 8.9 % and 10.6 % respectively; 3Q 2018: 9.8 %) was achieved.

The further growth in operating profit compared with the second quarter of the current year (1Q/2Q 2019: EUR 57.2 million and EUR 66.8 million respectively) can be primarily attributed to an increase in sales and cost reductions at MM Packaging.

The profit for the period at EUR 54.0 million was significantly above the comparative figure of the previous year (3Q 2018: EUR 42.7 million) as well as above those of the preceding quarters (1Q/2Q 2019: EUR 43.7 million and EUR 48.6 million respectively).

With sustained good capacity utilization of 98 % (1Q/2Q 2019: each 98 %; 3Q 2018: 99 %), largely stable average prices, and optimized costs, the cartonboard division reached an operating margin of 11.0 % (1Q/2Q 2019: 10.1 % and 11.2 % respectively; 3Q 2018: 9.0 %).

Due to the acquisition and cost savings in particular, the packaging division achieved an operating margin of 10.3 % (1Q/2Q 2019: 7.4 % and 9.4 % respectively; 3Q 2018: 9.7 %).

Outlook
Against the background of continuing weak economic conditions, our European main markets remain characterized by short-term planning of customers and intense competition. Although we still anticipate sustainable demand of our end markets, increasing price pressure and the usually reduced level of business activity at the end of the year must be expected. Even with
continuity on raw material markets, the continuation of the profit level so far attained will be a challenge in the fourth quarter. Based on the strong earnings development in the first nine months the positive prospects for the whole financial year 2019 remain however in place. Measures necessary to improve cost efficiency, product optimizations and continuous investments in state-of-the-art technologies stay directed towards gaining market shares and maintaining margins the best possible.

Development in the Divisions
MM Karton
MM Karton was able to maintain its position well in the first three quarters of 2019 in an environment marked by more restrained demand and intensified competition on the European cartonboard markets. Market shares were retained or increased slightly, and the product portfolio further developed in line with the market’s demand for attractive, highly functional, efficient, and sustainable packaging solutions.

By consistently pursuing a selective sales policy, it was possible to sell a higher volume and to hold up the average price level. Capacities in the division, at 98 % (1-3Q 2018: 99 %), remained almost fully utilized. Due to more short-term planning of customers, the average order backlog at 71,000 tons was below the comparative figure of the previous year (1-3Q 2018: 82,000 tons).

Both cartonboard production as well as sales, at 1,303,000 tons and 1,279,000 tons respectively, were slightly above the previous year’s period (1-3Q 2018: 1,271,000 tons and 1,260,000 tons respectively). At around 84 % the share of European business rose further while sales to markets outside Europe came down to 16 % (1-3Q 2018: 82 % and 18 % respectively).

On the fiber markets prices for mixed grades of recovered paper declined slightly, while those for products based on virgin fibers decreased noticeably from a high level.

Sales increased in line with sold volumes to EUR 813.0 million (1-3Q 2018: EUR 799.9 million). At EUR 87.4 million, operating profit was 9.4 % above the comparative figure of the previous year (1-3Q 2018: EUR 79.9 million), resulting in an operating margin of 10.8 % (1-3Q 2018: 10.0 %).

MM Packaging
As a result of weaker economic conditions, planning on the European folding carton market was increasingly restrained in the first three quarters, and stocks were reduced over the entire supply chain. Because of this and due to existing capacity reserves, the industry remains characterized by high competition and ongoing consolidation.

However, MM Packaging plants reported overall stable development as a result of the good order backlog despite temporary heterogeneous capacity utilization. Measures aimed at improving cost efficiency and value added as well as gaining new business are at consequent focus and implemented continuously.

Like in the course of the year so far, MM Packaging's income statement remains predominantly characterized by the initial inclusion of the Tann-Group, whose integration and development are continuing according to plan.

Sales consequently went up by 14.3 %, or EUR 149.3 million, to EUR 1,194.6 million (1-3Q 2018: EUR 1,045.3 million). The number of processed standard sheets (sheet equivalent) grew by 20.0 % to 2,077.8 million (1-3Q 2018: 1,730.8 million).

Operating profit increased by 17.1 %, or EUR 15.8 million, to EUR 108.2 million (1-3Q 2018: EUR 92.4 million), with one-off expenses of EUR -4.8 million being recorded as a result of the initial consolidation. The operating margin therefore increased only slightly from 8.8 % to 9.1 %.
(Mayr-Melnhof Karton Gesellschaft m.b.H.)

Metsä Fibre's Botnia pulp is now called Metsä pulp
 21.11.2019

Metsä Fibre's Botnia pulp is now called Metsä pulp  (Company news)

Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, is renewing its pulp product brand. The Botnia brand will be replaced by the Metsä brand in all pulp products, services and biochemicals.

We want to strengthen our Metsä brand, and refresh our branding and marketing to focus more on our customers. The pulp branding is new, but the products and product range are exactly the same, with the same Northern wood raw material and guaranteed Metsä Fibre quality.

“We are simplifying the naming of our pulp product and service portfolio by moving our pulp offering under one unified Metsä brand. We are always looking for things to improve and ways to create more added value for our customers, and that’s why our new customer promise is Exceeding Expectations – a commitment that reflects our strategic aim and ambition,” says Ari Harmaala, SVP Sales and Customership, Metsä Fibre.

We are excited to reveal our refreshed branding to our customers, for the first time, next week during our event at London Pulp Week.
(Metsä Fibre Oy)

Sofidel obtains UNI ISO 20400 declaration of conformity for sustainable procurement
 21.11.2019

Sofidel obtains UNI ISO 20400 declaration of conformity for sustainable procurement  (Company news)

Sofidel is one of the first Italian companies to meet the requirements of the standard, which recognises sustainable procurement practices and efforts to raise awareness among its network of suppliers

Sofidel, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of tissue paper for hygienic and domestic use, particularly well-known for its Regina brand, has obtained a declaration of conformity with the international UNI ISO 20400:2017 standard on sustainable procurement. Sofidel is one of the first Italian companies to meet the requirements of the standard, which is designed to make supply chains more sustainable and increase quality through the implementation of suitable procurement policies.

The declaration of conformity with UNI ISO 20400 represents an independent certification that legislative guidelines are being applied correctly and enables Sofidel to reduce the risk of potential reputational and economic damage deriving from the poor performance of its suppliers in terms of sustainability. It also contributes to making Sofidel’s supply chain ever more efficient.

In order to achieve this, Sofidel identified the main risk categories for each individual supplier and assessed their performance against parameters such as working conditions, human rights, environmental protection and anti-corruption measures. The model is based on the TenP – Sustainable Supply Chain Self-Assessment Platform, developed by the Global Compact Network Italy (GCNI) Foundation, which sets out a pre-assessment system for suppliers. Sofidel supplemented this with a rating system which enables the company to allocate each supplier with a category based on pre-qualification assessments.

As of 2018, over four out of five of Sofidel suppliers ranked sustainable (82%), while a significant proportion (44%) achieved levels of particular excellence. The figures show a slight increase on 2016, when 78% of the suppliers were ranked sustainable and 41% were described as “excellent suppliers”.

The adoption of sustainability measures by Sofidel suppliers is often closely linked to the size of the company: two-thirds (67%) of companies with revenues in excess of €20 million were rated excellent, but only 22.5% of companies with revenues below €5 million achieved this rating. Sofidel’s short-term objective is, therefore, to further reduce the possible risks deriving from its supply chain, promoting the sustainable development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with revenues below €20 million, also through online training and dedicated helpdesk services.

Sofidel’s leadership in raising awareness among its network of suppliers and engaging with them to take action against climate change was also recognised in early 2019 by CDP, an international non-profit organisation which provides a global measuring and reporting system that enables companies, cities, states and regions to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information.

Sofidel was included in a list of 130 companies around the world who were deemed worthy of inclusion in the annual Supplier Engagement leader board. Sofidel is among the 3% of organizations – of the total number of companies assessed – to be recognized for its actions to reduce emissions and lower climate-related risks in the supply chain. The leader board is released in “Cascading commitments: Driving upstream action through supply chain engagement”, CDP’s Global Supply Chain Report 2019, written by CDP and Carbon Trust.
(Sofidel Group)

Ilim Group completes its KLB Line Rebuild Project in Siberia with CAPEX exceeding USD 120 million
 21.11.2019

Ilim Group completes its KLB Line Rebuild Project in Siberia with CAPEX exceeding USD 120 million   (Company news)

As part of its large-scale investment program involving development of the existing facilities and launch of new capacities, Ilim Group has completed the KLB Line Rebuild Project in Bratsk (Irkutsk Oblast) with CAPEX worth more than USD 120 million. The Mill started checkout and commissioning in October. Implementation of the project should ensure a 50% increase in kraftliner output, namely from 198 thousand tons up to 300 thousand tons per year.

The large-scale upgrade involved the whole KLB production process starting from pulp cooking to finished product packaging. GLV, PMP Group and Andritz were Ilim’s key partners under this project. Upgraded KLB production complies with the standards of the global forest industry leaders in terms of equipment scope, applied technologies and automation level of management and control processes.

“The Bratsk project is a part of the large investment program with a CAPEX exceeding USD 3 billion. Ilim is investing not only in output increase, but also in the quality of our products, cutting-edge automation and digitalization technologies of its operations, global best practices in environment and sustainable forest management, and logistic infrastructure”, emphasized Kseniia Sosnina, Ilim Group CEO. As the Russian P&P leader, Ilim intends to strengthen its positions in the growing Asian market and in the packaging segment in particular through upgrade of its mills in Siberia and construction of a new pulp and paperboard mill in Ust-Ilimsk with a capacity of 600 thousand tons per year. By 2024, Ilim’s aggregate annual output will increase by 40 % to reach 4.4 million tons”.
(Ilim Group)

Recycled and renewable raw materials will feature strongly in future roll covers
 21.11.2019

Recycled and renewable raw materials will feature strongly in future roll covers  (Company news)

Could roll covers be made of recycled or even bio-based materials? With less than two years' intensive R&D work, Valmet has taken a remarkable step toward a more sustainable era in the field of production consumables in paper making.

Roll covers used in paper, board, tissue and pulp making need periodical renewal and thus consume tonnes of material resources. A major part of the raw materials used in roll covers – polymers, resins and other industrial chemicals – has traditionally been manufactured from fossil-based raw materials, and refined and processed from crude oil. The manufacturing methods for these raw materials may also have been energy consuming. Old roll covers have ended up in landfill or as energy waste.

A more sustainable future with a new generation of roll cover materials
Safety has always been the highest priority, and over the years Valmet has frequently replaced raw materials in roll cover production with safer alternatives. Where raw material selection was previously heavily guided by worker safety, Valmet is now taking a giant leap toward a more holistic approach with a focus on sustainability, aiming to replace as many of the roll cover raw materials as possible with more sustainable alternatives. The target is to use recycled materials and renewable resources, and more broadly to save energy.

Using recycled consumer plastic or glass as the reinforcing fiber or filler in composite roll covers, or bio-based resin and hardener in the polymer matrix, are good examples. The benefits of recycling are easy to understand, but what about bio-based materials?

“They remove the dependency on crude oil,” states Dr. Jani Turunen from Valmet. He continues: “We only approve renewable materials derived from non-food chain plants or plant parts, meaning their use does not affect global food production. Cultivation and harvesting of plants must not endanger the growth of natural forests either. In the best cases, bio-based materials can be produced from plant parts that would otherwise be waste. Lignin, carbon black made of lignin and nanocellulose are good examples, and all three can be utilized as reinforcing fillers in roll covers.”

Innovativeness and a strong R&D pay off
After less than two years of intensive R&D work for sustainable roll covers, Valmet is ready to present the first more sustainable composite covers for press, guide and calender rolls. The content of recycled or bio-based raw materials is between 75 and 96 percent in these covers, but new materials are being continuously tested, and the target is to reach 100 percent as soon as possible.

Work is also being done on polyurethane and rubber covers, and their first customer prototypes may already be available later this year. Last but not least, studies are also ongoing on how the scrap material from removed covers can be optimally recycled or utilized.

“We’ve already been in touch with companies that are breaking the rubber (tires) down back to oil, carbon black and fuel with the help of their pyrolysis process. The carbon black could then be recycled to produce new rubber roll covers,” reveals Turunen concerning Valmet’s future plans.

No need for compromise
When we’re talking about more sustainable alternatives and recycled products, it’s relevant to ask about product performance. Valmet’s R&D work shows very promising results here too.

“We were actually surprised with the laboratory results we obtained from these sustainable covers. Some of the properties, like wear resistance, were even better than with our standard roll covers,” says R&D Engineer Pertti Hytönen with a broad smile. “Of course, we’re still at the beginning, and creating products as good as our state-of-the art offerings may take a few years. But even in those products at least some of the raw materials can already be replaced with more sustainable options.”

Examining the most important roll cover properties and requirements – for example, in the results achieved in pressing or calendering – shows that users don’t need to compromise on product performance.

Make a difference to our environment
To summarize, the benefits of sustainable roll covers are clear: good performance in the papermaking process and a solid way for paper companies to prove they are acting to make planet Earth a better place for future generations.
(Valmet Corporation)

Verso Corporation Announces Sale of Androscoggin and Stevens Point Mills for $400 million
 20.11.2019

Verso Corporation Announces Sale of Androscoggin and Stevens Point Mills for $400 million  (Company news)

-Adam St. John (photo) Named as Chief Executive Officer
-Strategic Review to Continue

Verso Corporation (NYSE: VRS or the "Company") announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Androscoggin mill, located in Jay, Maine, and its Stevens Point mill, located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, to Pixelle Specialty Solutions LLC for $400 million, subject to post-closing adjustments.

The sale, which has been unanimously approved by the Company's Board of Directors (the "Board"), is subject to and conditioned upon the receipt of approval from the Company's stockholders at a special meeting of stockholders, as well as certain regulatory and other customary approvals. The transaction is anticipated to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

Gene Davis, Co-Chairman of the Board, stated "We have undergone a thorough and comprehensive strategic process and firmly believe that the sale of these two mills at the agreed upon terms and conditions is in the best interests of the Company and our stockholders. We could not be more pleased by the efforts of the entire Senior Leadership Team and of Les Lederer, our Interim Chief Executive Officer since April."

Net cash proceeds of the transaction are anticipated to be approximately $336 million, after the assumption by Pixelle of approximately $35 million of pension liabilities, anticipated working capital adjustments, and the payment of transaction related expenses. The Board intends to return a significant portion of the net proceeds to stockholders either by way of dividend or share repurchase, conducted either by way of modified Dutch tender offer, accelerated share repurchase program or open market purchases, and to determine and announce the amount and form of such return promptly following the closing of the transaction. In addition, Verso will utilize approximately $54 million of the net proceeds to reduce a portion of its unfunded pension liability. Any remaining net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes while the Board continues its ongoing review of the Company's strategic alternatives.

Verso also announced that Adam St. John had been named as the Company's Chief Executive Officer and appointed as a member of the Board. Mr. St. John has been Senior Vice President of Manufacturing for all Verso mills and a long-standing member of the Senior Leadership Team. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. St. John served in a senior management capacity at Georgia Pacific. Mr. Lederer will continue to serve as a Senior Transaction Advisor to the Company.

Alan Carr, Co-Chairman of the Board, further stated: "With almost three decades of paper industry experience and more than a decade of experience with Verso, we are confident that Adam is the right choice to lead the Company consistent with our strategic focus. Under Adam's guidance, we expect that our remaining mills will generate sufficient EBITDA and cash flow to permit the Company to enhance its competitive market position, so as to create future growth and other opportunities."

Houlihan Lokey acted as financial advisor and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP acted as legal counsel to the Company in connection with the transaction.
(Verso Corporation)

Honeywell And Papertech Collaborate On Camera-Based Quality Control System For The ...
 20.11.2019

Honeywell And Papertech Collaborate On Camera-Based Quality Control System For The ...  (Company news)

... Flat Sheet Industries

Offering fuses Honeywell’s expertise in flat sheet quality control systems with Papertech’s know-how in web monitoring and inspection to help manufacturers boost production quality and efficiency

Honeywell announced its collaboration with Papertech to develop and market TotalVision™, a connected, camera-based detection system for the flat sheet industries. The system enables customers to identify and resolve defects on the production line, improving quality and efficiency. The fully integrated total quality control solution is designed for flat sheet and film processes in which surface detection and production break monitoring capabilities are critical for competitive success. This new solution is designed for paper, pulp, tissue, board, extruded film, calendaring, lithium-ion battery, copper and aluminium foil producers.

Combining Honeywell’s ExperionMX™ technology with market-leading Papertech’s TotalVision™ defect detection and event capturing capabilities, the solution provides a single-window operating environment for all aspects of process and quality control. Customers benefit from faster root cause determination of runnability and quality problems, thereby saving significant time in lost or downgraded production. When integrated with connected offerings such as Honeywell QCS 4.0, system data and analytics can be accessed anytime, anywhere, from any device.

“Honeywell represents an ideal collaborator for Papertech as our industry-leading WebInspector WIS and our WebVision web monitoring system (WMS) single platform TotalVision™ camera system seamlessly integrate with Honeywell’s quality control systems for a range of industries,” said Kari Hilden, CEO of Papertech Inc. “We look forward to working with the global Honeywell team and their customers.”

Honeywell will continue to support existing camera system users with parts and services, while offering an easy migration path to the new solution. Given the collaborative nature of the agreement, customers can choose to take a single party, single-window approach or to engage with Honeywell and Papertech separately.

“As the world moves from plastic to biomaterial-based packaging, and from hydrocarbon-based transportation to electric vehicles, flat sheet producers are under increased pressure to ensure output consistently meets a variety of performance and safety requirements,” said Michael Kennelly, global business leader for sheet, film and foil industries, Honeywell Process Solutions. “By bringing together Honeywell’s core strengths of measurement, control, connected applications and services in flat sheet production with Papertech’s leadership in web monitoring and inspection systems, we uniquely provide customers with that capability along with industry-beating lifecycle costs.”

Papertech is the global industry-leading machine vision system supplier for a range of web-based production lines with more than 1200 TotalVision™ installations in 42 countries. It is part of the IBS Paper Performance Group, a company with a more than 50-year history in delivering papermakers a full range of proven machine efficiency and product quality optimization solutions.
(Honeywell International Inc.)

Stora Enso and Atos join forces to bring sustainable automated new retail solutions to market
 20.11.2019

Stora Enso and Atos join forces to bring sustainable automated new retail solutions to market  (Company news)

Stora Enso has entered a global partnership with the digital transformation company Atos to bring new automated retail solutions and services to the market. This new service is based on the concept of “Intelligent Cabinets”, which are RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) enabled e-kiosks designed for on-the-go purchasing using smart phones or standard card payment.

The partnership undertakes the commercialisation of the New Retail as a Service solution, combining Stora Enso’s technologies and the service delivery experience and methodology of Atos.

The “New Retail” solution by Stora Enso merges in-store and online shopping and uses sustainable RFID tags to track and trace stored items. These tags are paper-based, providing a plastic-free and recyclable solution for packaging authentication.

To buy a product from the intelligent cabinets, the consumer only needs a compatible payment app or payment card. When the cabinet door is closed, the consumer is charged via the app for the items taken out. Apart from this service, a back-end solution is offered to retailers for keeping track of transactions or replenishment.

The Atos digital services for Retail and Manufacturing will be used to enhance the New Retail solution. They are based on Codex for Retail, a modular portfolio of solutions and services for connected retail services with IoT technologies, underpinned by end-to-end services. This establishes a full new set of digital business services for retail with strong capability for scaling, driving clear business value and bringing clients out of the “pilot trap”.

“While retail is aiming at convenience and efficiency all at once, we drive innovations to combine the localisation of brick and mortar with digitalisation. With our partnership with Atos, we are entering the automated new retail market, where our sustainable RFID technology can bring the unmanned consumer experience to the next level,” says Martin Ros, Head of Stora Enso’s Intelligent Packaging unit.

“For any retail company and consumer goods brand, the topics of sustainability, product control and consumer experience are key values for their point of sales. Combining the Stora Enso smart tracking solutions with Atos’ Codex enablement and end-to-end service management, we jointly ensure that customers experience these values every time.” says Philippe Miltin, Group SVP, Head of Manufacturing, Retail and Transport Market at Atos.
(Stora Enso Oyj)

Valmet introduces versatile new solution for fiber recovery and pulp thickening
 20.11.2019

Valmet introduces versatile new solution for fiber recovery and pulp thickening  (Company news)

Valmet announces the launch of Valmet Pressure-fed Bow Screen, a versatile new addition to its stock preparation offering. The solution reinvents the traditional bow screen with a new, user-friendly design and improved nozzle arrangement enabling higher capacity and greater runnability than before.

Working to maximize the effectiveness of fiber recovery and pulp thickening processes, Valmet Pressure-fed Bow Screen is ideal for tissue making applications. Other primary applications of the equipment include shower water protection filtration, police filtration, felt hair removal and deinking stock washing.

“A primary driving force behind the new design was our goal to provide a better, safer user experience for our operators at the mill level,” explains Tony Bjorkenius, Business Manager, Disc Filters, Services, Valmet. “The equipment is engineered to provide better accessibility than ever before, with the focus on service, maintenance and everyday use.”

Valmet Pressure-fed Bow Screen is the company’s first new product that specifically leverages the technology, engineering and expertise gained from the acquired company GL&V. The product launch reinforces Valmet’s services approach “Shared Journey Forward”, a set of commitments that promises customers solutions built on their unique needs, safety, trust and accessibility.
(Valmet Corporation)

Why the analysis of paper and board is easier now
 19.11.2019

Why the analysis of paper and board is easier now  (Company news)

Emtec Electronic at PaperEx 2019 in New Delhi, India

With the innovative emtec ACA Ash Content Analyzer (photo), that measures minerals and fillers in paper and board within 30 seconds, emtec Electronic presents a new instrument at the 14th PaperEx International Exhibition & Conference on Pulp, Paper & Allied Industries in Pragati Maidan in New Delhi from December 3rd to 6th.

Meet emtec sales partner in India, Deepak Pachkude from Rishabh Metals & Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., and emtec Global Sales Manager, Ullrich Kasten (Ulli), at the exhibition booth no. 5080 and get a live demonstration of the ACA device. The innovative lab instrument replaces the traditional combustion method with the latest x-ray technology, and enables a non-destructive measurement of the total mineral filler content as well as the percentage content of the individual filler components in paper and board. Disadvantages by combustion, like time consuming test procedures and sample moisture dependence, are not an issue any longer.

„Independent of the user or the state of the sample, the instrument always measures the correct amount of the used fillers and fines," says Giselher Gruener, General Manager of emtec Electronic GmbH. The new method is much more accurate and reliable – the margin of error is less than one percent.

Furthermore and as usual, emtec Electronic will showcase their specialized portfolio of testing instruments to improve and control production and converting processes and to increase the quality of final products.
(emtec Electronic GmbH)

V.I.T. PapierMaschinen-Service GmbH celebrates its 10-year anniversary
 19.11.2019

V.I.T. PapierMaschinen-Service GmbH celebrates its 10-year anniversary  (Company news)

Technical support as an important component for success


This year V.I.T. PapierMaschinen-Service GmbH celebrates a round birthday. The Gerlinger company was founded in the year 2009 as an independend company within a group to provide complete service and support for the products of V.I.T. Papertec AG worldwide.

"Made in Germany" are not only the products of V.I.T. Papertec AG, also the service is "MADE IN GERMANY".

Concentration to individual products and technical support and service has always been the decisive difference for V.I.T. Papertec AG. The V.I.T. service team with experienced application engineers and master papermaker offers comprehensive service, troubleshooting, innovative product developments, solution-oriented product consulting from product selection to the start-up.

One of the longest serving employees, Joey Hein, with over 30 years of experience in metering rods and metering rod beds, was there from the very beginning. V.I.T. sees great potential here in terms of application technology. Permanent optimization at the film press or coater brings maximum efficiency and cost savings to paper mills.

Interview with Thomas Otto (photo), application engineering expert of V.I.T. PaperMaschinen-Service GmbH since 2018:
What are the most common problem areas for your customers?
Cost saving is always a central issue. Often the customer has defined new goals and asks for solutions. The same applies to the reduction of changeover times.
Also quality problems of the end product are often a concern. Together we will always find a suitable and satisfactory solution. It is important that we do not only look at our own products at the film press or at the coater, but always at the whole environment, which our customers appreciate very much.

Is delivery time an issue?
You know, reliable delivery times are naturally important. We therefore always recommend our customers to have call-off agreements in order to be on the safe side. Because a call-off agreement offers delivery reliability even in the case of unplanned higher consumption:
The period from call-off to delivery is only a few working days. We produce and chrome-plate exclusively in Germany, directly at our production site. That's why there are no long transport routes here. What if a forklift truck damages a box with metering rods or beds or there are problems with air traffic... In addition, V.I.T. takes over the stocking free of charge for call-off agreements!

How do you drive efficiency improvement forward?
Cost saving by increasing the solids content is an absolutely important issue when it comes to efficiency! The aim here is to significantly save dry energy by using less water in the application medium. From our point of view, this is a factor that has received far too little attention. Imagine that: If the solids content is increased by only 3%, the specific drying energy is expected to be reduced by approximately 12% to 13.5%. If you take the drying energy for coating color with a value of - let's say 17.00 €/t paper and thereby save 13 % - then this results in a reduction of approx. 2.20 €/t paper, which is only for an annual production of 100,000 t!
Not to forget the saving of raw material. As you can see, depending on parameters such as machine layout or total coating weight, there is enormous savings potential behind it. Ultimately, it has to be calculated individually for each plant.

What support do you offer your customers on site?
We application engineers are equipped with tools and measuring devices to carry out pick-up measurements, calibrations and many other measurements directly on the unit. And of course, we always look at the entire environment at the film press, not just our own products.

Basically, we always offer individual solutions and concepts, not just individual products. A relationship of trust with our customers is very important to us. The decisive factor is that it brings advantages for both sides. Our long-standing customers appreciate this very much!

Are you a master papermaker yourself?
That's right, I've been into paper for a long time. Already in my youth in the artistic hobby area, later in the teaching profession, then in the paper industry. Thanks to my training and more than 20 years of experience on the paper machine, I know the problems in production. Therefore I have a different view on the events. Paper is a highly complex product, which lives and always reacts differently. Dealing with paper is a craft that always holds new challenges - that still fascinates me today.

How does V.I.T. differ from the competition?
There are a few points... A decisive difference is that we do not make standard products. V.I.T. does not prefabricate. We always produce specifically for each individual customer, we at V.I.T. like to call this "100% customized". Thanks to our enormous product portfolio, we can respond individually to each customer and always find an optimisation solution. Of course, we are also constantly researching alternative coatings.

Another clear difference is definitely our service. We actively support our customers on site with technical advice and we take a lot of time here.
What certainly has a positive effect is that we chrome-plate directly at our production site in Germany. Only European chrome and steel are used, which means that our product quality is always consistently high.


What interesting projects or trends are there at the moment?
Various projects are currently running abroad. One is the rebuild of a paper machine from newsprint to packaging paper with a production capacity of 300 KT per year or, for example, the construction of a paper machine with a film press.

For some time now we have been noticing the trend that our customers prefer to order pre-assembled, ready-to-use units instead of buying metering rods and metering rod beds individually, couplings up and down,... with kits this is much easier.
And, as mentioned earlier, the coating formulation is actually being changed more and more frequently in order to change the solids content.
(V.I.T. Papertec AG)

Rethinking energy sustainability in tissue production
 19.11.2019

Rethinking energy sustainability in tissue production  (Company news)

When it comes to sustainability in tissue production, simply presenting a “green corporate image” is no longer good enough to stay competitive. Authorities around the world have set greater environmental legislative requirements for tissue manufacturing, and consumers everywhere want certified environmentally-friendly products. That means tissue mills need to take concrete steps for more sustainable production processes.

Energy consumption has long been an area of interest for many manufacturers. Tissue making is a particularly energy-intensive industry, and today the challenges are greater than ever. The growing demand for tissue globally is increasing energy needs as businesses work to produce more at a faster and faster rate.

While the goal of more efficient energy use is nothing new, the focus has traditionally been on recycling “wasted” energy in the tissue making process. Today’s challenges mean that the time has come for a new way of thinking and a more holistic approach. The starting point should be limiting the amount of energy needed in the first place, and the next step is to find ways to make required production processes more efficient. These two efforts greatly limit lost energy in production, which can then be addressed as a final consideration.

Step 1: Reducing demand

There are many ways to limit the energy needed for making tissue, but the most efficient action a manufacturer can take is to improve post-press dryness. Greater post-press dryness can significantly reduce the demand on the Yankee dryer, which in turn limits the dryer’s energy output.

For example, if a mill producing 200 tons of product every day increased post-press dryness just slightly, from 44% to 46%, it would reduce the amount of water that needs to evaporate by 98 kilograms per ton. The resulting energy savings would be around 166 kWh per ton, which is as good for the mill’s bottom line as it is for the environment. Based on Central European energy prices, that translates to over €350,000 in savings each year.

But this is only the start. As previously noted, true energy sustainability demands a holistic view, which means considering the entire production line. Every piece of technology in a mill offers potential for energy savings. Reducing the flow through the headbox, for example, minimizes the energy consumption of the approach system with little impact to product quality.

Step 2: Increasing efficiency
Even after minimizing the need of energy, tissue making remains quite energy-demanding. However, by again taking a view of the production line as a whole, it is possible to find ways to make existing processes much more efficient.

Here, the first consideration is mill design. How process equipment is arranged relative to one another as well as the dimensioning of equipment according to the products being manufactured can have a significant impact on energy consumption. For example, oversized equipment can unnecessarily increase the power needed for stock and water pumps, driving up production costs. Thus, ensuring an appropriate mill design from the start can mean more efficient production in the long-term.

Smart automation also plays an important role. Even if a mill is well-designed with the right machines, it needs to be utilized in the most efficient way to get the most sustainable result. An intelligent control system helps manages processes and maintains center-line parameters automatically. It can also include features such as valuable feedback on energy and resource consumption, as well as remote diagnostic possibilities for online support from experts.

While thinking about utilization, it is also worth considering the skill levels of your operators. Smart controls can solve many issues, but if an operator lacks the expertise to interpret feedback from systems and use the technology in an efficient way, it will not be possible to optimize the mill’s full production capacity. All operators should therefore receive adequate training on how to best use the mill’s equipment and the behaviors that support sustainable production.

Step 3: Recovering losses
Of course, even with the most advanced technology and best operational practices, a certain degree of heat loss is still unavoidable. The step for reducing energy consumption is therefore figuring out how heat can be recovered and put to different use.For mills located in areas with considerable heating needs, there are already smart ways to recycle heat waste. An air to water recovery system is a valuable tool that can be used for heating parts of the facility from the machine hall to administrative offices. This contributes to energy sustainability as well as reducing power costs related to heating.

Elsewhere, there remains a challenge to continue developing new technologies that not only capture losses, but transform them into useful forms of energy for other purposes. Today for example, innovations are making it possible to recover kinetic energy from the tissue-making process and convert it into electricity that can be put back into the production line. These possibilities, along with many other ongoing developments, will soon make it even easier to approach sustainability holistically – and achieve unprecedented levels of energy efficiency in tissue production.
(Valmet Corporation)

Gallus celebrates sold Labelmaster No. 100
 19.11.2019

Gallus celebrates sold Labelmaster No. 100  (Company news)

Gallus, a subsidiary of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg), celebrated a milestone at Labelexpo Europe 2019: the Gallus Labelmaster No. 100 is being installed at the printing company Interfas, based in Louviers, France. The conventional press with a printing width of 440 mm is equipped with eight flexographic printing units and three die-cutting units. Cold foil finishing is integrated, too. It is the first Gallus Labelmaster and the first flexo press for Interfas, which has previously relied exclusively on label production with offset printing.

Photo: Philippe Carre from Heidelberg France congratulates Christian Linossier from Interfas to Gallus Labelmaster No. 100 (Source: Gallus Ferd. Rüesch AG)

The 8-color label press is the first flexo printing press for the French label printer Interfas. The Gallus Labelmaster No. 100 will be installed in Louviers, France, and is primarily used for the production of self-adhesive labels. For the first time, Interfas is investing in a label press with flexographic printing, demonstrating that the print quality of the flexographic printing process can easily match that of the offset. It is the first Gallus machine for the printing company. Now equipped with this Gallus Labelmaster, Interfas consolidates its position as a polyvalent label printer.
(Gallus Ferd. Rüesch AG)

Xeikon CX500 Launches in North America at Printing United 2019
 19.11.2019

Xeikon CX500 Launches in North America at Printing United 2019   (Company news)

It was hard to miss Xeikon at its prime location during the first Printing United trade show, held from October 23 to 25 in Dallas. The event marked the North American debut of the company’s CX500 product, and its Wall Deco Discovery solution.

“This show breathes new life into trade events for our industry,” said Donna Covannon, Xeikon America’s Director of Marketing. “Most visitors to our exhibit were on the lookout for new revenue-generating applications and a number of them were commercial printers looking to expand into label, packaging and industrial applications. They were impressed by the power and versatility of our web-fed dry toner presses.”

Making its North American debut was the Xeikon CX500 digital press and its exceptional range of applications from direct mail marketing to wall coverings, POP/POS posters to paper cups, flexible stand-up pouches, large signage and a variety of roll-to-roll heat transfer and in-mold labels. The CX500 is a dry toner, roll-to-roll, five color digital label press driven by Xeikon’s powerful digital X-800 front end. This Xeikon ‘Cheetah’ has a unique web width of up to 20 inches and a full rotary printing speed of 98 feet per minute at 1200dpi. The press was shipped directly from Dallas to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where it will be installed at Accu-label.

At a Printing United press conference, Xeikon and Anderson & Vreeland Inc. signed a partnership agreement that effectively triples Xeikon’s sales strength in North America. A leading distributor of solutions for the label and packaging industry, A&V will begin offering the Xeikon lines of dry toner- and inkjet-based label presses in January 2020.

“Both our companies see great potential in this new relationship,” said David Wilkins, Vice President of Sales, Xeikon America. “Our businesses were both built on a foundation of uncompromising quality and superior customer value.”

In addition to its main location on the show floor, Xeikon featured prominently at the Printing United Experience Zone, a dedicated showcase of innovative print applications with real world settings. The Wall Deco Discovery solution, a turnkey configuration for high-end wall coverings, was presented through a series of print applications for different rooms in the home with wall decor produced by Rebel Walls and within the convenience store setting featured products produced by customers including Creative Labels, CS Labels, Universal Nutrition, Carlson Laboratories, Jubilee Brands, CDigital, Paulig Coffee and Cupsz.
(Xeikon Manufacturing and R&D Center)

Geostick Group Adds Two Nilpeter FA-17 to Impressive Production Line-Up
 19.11.2019

Geostick Group Adds Two Nilpeter FA-17 to Impressive Production Line-Up  (Company news)

Long-standing Nilpeter partner, Geostick Group, has added two additional Nilpeter 17’’ FA presses to an already impressive line-up of seven Nilpeter presses in the company’s three production plants in Utihoorn, Heumen, and The Hague, Holland. The two new presses have been installed in The Hague plant.

Photo caption: The FA-17 - Geostick Group Adds Two Nilpeter FA-17 presses to their production plant in The Hague, Holland.

The addition of two new presses marks another big step for Geostick, adding standardization across group locations, as well as more flexibility and opportunities for the company's label, flexible packaging, and tag customers.

The Business is Still Growing “With these modern printing presses we are more ready to cope with the increasing demand for short delivery times and high printing quality in mid-length runs. The business is still growing, and with the added efficiency provided by our two new FA presses, we have won even more food production customers,” says Cees Shouten, Operations Director, Geostick Group.

“On the two presses in Den Haag (ed. The Hague, Holland) we produce mid and long run jobs for the food industry - mostly labels with direct food contact, for instance on avocados, and mango fruits. The labels are highly decorated with a minimum of 4 colours in print,” he adds.

“We have greatly benefited from the high printing quality, short track transit, easy loading of tooling, not to mention production efficiency of the FA press,” Cees Shouten concludes.

Automation, Capacity, and Quality
“With this new investment, Geostick has taken their automation, production capacity, and quality to an even higher level. This will give them the perfect tool to help reach their target of €100 million turnover in 2024, when Geostick will celebrate their 100 years in existence,” says Bert van Kooy, Sales Manager Benelux, Nilpeter B.V.
(Nilpeter B.V.)

August Faller becomes Faller Packaging
 18.11.2019

August Faller becomes Faller Packaging  (Company news)

A new name and a new strategy for the company’s future course

August Faller takes a new direction: With immediate effect, the specialist for pharmaceutical packaging will operate under the name Faller Packaging and adopt a new brand strategy. The company’s aim is to support its customers even better in the context of increasing customisation and complexity in the healthcare industry.

Photo: The packaging specialist is looking to the future with a digitally-oriented brand strategy. Photo: August Faller GmbH & Co.KG

“Moving healthcare. Moving you.” This is the motto under which Faller Packaging is positioning itself as an expert and experienced partner for top-quality, tailor-made packaging solutions from a single supplier. “The digitalisation of the entire supply chain will be even more important to us than before,” explained Managing Director Dr. Daniel Keesman at the CPhI trade fair in Frankfurt, where Faller presented its new brand image to the public for the first time. “Ever smaller batch sizes and ever shorter times-to-market represent challenges to the entire industry and we will be able to rise to them with fresh ideas and innovative processes.

”However, digitalisation and networking also offer opportunities that Faller wants to seize in order to work even more closely with its customers in the future. As Keesman puts it: “We specifically use the new technologies to harmonise our own processes ever more closely with those of the users. Together, we want to rethink the world of healthcare and manage it on a digital basis.” In this way, the Managing Director emphasizes that with its new brand strategy and increasingly global focus, Faller Packaging is ideally positioned for the future.
(August Faller GmbH & Co. KG)

Francesco De Luca is Fabio Perini SpA's new General Manager for the Bologna site
 18.11.2019

Francesco De Luca is Fabio Perini SpA's new General Manager for the Bologna site   (Company news)

Francesco De Luca is Fabio Perini SpA’s new General Manager for the Bologna site.

Aged 46, born in Naples, a degree in mechanical engineering with an MBA at Milan’s MIP Politecnico, he has worked with several multinational corporations such as the Metecno Group, the Candy Hoover Group and Norsk Hydro, where he had the opportunity to extend his knowledge in the field of general management, working in several extra-European countries such as China, Uzbekistan, Russia, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Egypt.

“Joining Fabio Perini is a stimulating opportunity”, comments De Luca. “Casmatic is a brand which is still well recognised in its field, and my task will be to lead it into new segments, starting from an accurate analysis of the market, its dynamics and needs.”

Francesco De Luca’s arrival is highly significant, since it is bringing the company not only to renew its image and extend market opportunities, but also to increase still further company competences.
(Fabio Perini Packaging S.p.A)

Kemira announces a multi-million investment in water treatment chemicals production in the UK
 18.11.2019

Kemira announces a multi-million investment in water treatment chemicals production in the UK  (Company news)

Global chemicals company Kemira announces a significant capacity extension of its ferric sulfate water treatment chemicals production line in Goole, UK. The investment decision is based on the expected growth in market demand for coagulants used in water treatment, driven by stricter regulation regarding e.g. phosphorus removal.

“Chemical treatment is the most effective and cost-efficient solution to capture and remove phosphorus from wastewater and to make it available for recycling. As one of the European leaders in chemical water treatment, we anticipate local and regional regulatory developments to ensure our customers stay ahead of the game. This investment will almost double our current production capacity in Goole and clearly demonstrates our commitment to the UK market,” says Antti Salminen, President of the Industry & Water segment at Kemira.
(Kemira, Paper Segment)

Valmet and Whakatane Mill renew their performance agreement in New Zealand
 18.11.2019

Valmet and Whakatane Mill renew their performance agreement in New Zealand  (Company news)

Valmet and Whakatane Mill Ltd have signed a multiyear agreement for continuous performance service for Whakatane PM3 board line in New Zealand. The value of the agreement will not be disclosed.

Photo from left: Pierre de Villiers (Valmet), and Juha Verajankorva and Mark Hammond (Whakatane)

The original performance agreement was signed in 2014 and was later extended for another three-year period. This renewal is the second extension with continuous and systematic development of Whakatane PM3’s productivity and quality with concrete targets regarding availability and optimization.

“Valmet is an experienced service provider and supports us to get the most out of our existing assets. Our team on site has worked closely with Valmet’s global experts over the past five years to achieve the agreed targets. Now we renew the agreement to further explore the development potential. We plan to bring the machine and our cooperation to next level,” says Peter McLaverty, Head of Continuous Improvement, Whakatane Mill Ltd.

“It is a pleasure to continue to work with the experienced and engaged team of Whakatane Mill. We have been working very closely together to explore the machine potential and deliver the results. For example, the machine availability has been improved by reducing the unplanned breakdowns, and the runnability and formation have been optimized via multi-variability control. Renewing the agreement is the best acknowledgement for our work,” says Pierre de Villiers, Mill Sales Manager, Australia and New Zealand, Valmet.

Digital space for continuous collaboration
The new feature in the renewed agreement is the utilization of Valmet Customer Portal, a digital collaboration space for real-time information sharing between customer and Valmet. The portal will be customized based on Whakatane’s requirements, and will enable both parties an easy and quick access to the visualized data.
(Valmet Corporation)

New Vice President of Sales of Consumer Boards at Kotkamills
 18.11.2019

New Vice President of Sales of Consumer Boards at Kotkamills  (Company news)

Ari Tanninen, M.Sc. (Eng.) has been appointed as the new Vice President of Sales of Consumer Boards at Kotkamills Oy as of the 11th of December 2019.

He will be in charge of the Consumer Boards global sales organization and its activities. Tanninen has previously worked both at Metsä Fibre Oy and Stora Enso Oyj in various management positions, such as in production and in business management. Tanninen will report to CEO Markku Hämäläinen.

“Ari is a great fit for this position. His background and experience will add significant value to our sales function. Ari will have a strong role in further developing our sales and customer service”, states CEO Markku Hämäläinen.

"I am excited to be part of the Kotkamills’ organization. I look forward to working with Kotkamills’ personnel to help our customers find the best solutions to grow their business”, says Ari Tanninen.
(Kotkamills Oy)

Applications growth beckons for ProTM C9200 and ProTM C7200 users as Ricoh announces new...
 15.11.2019

Applications growth beckons for ProTM C9200 and ProTM C7200 users as Ricoh announces new...  (Company news)

... finishing options

Ricoh is supporting progressive printing businesses to extend their applications capability by enhancing the paper feed and output options for its Pro C9200 (photo) and Pro C7200 Series. From November 2019, the heavy and mid–production digital colour sheetfed presses will feature eight new paper feed and paper output options, along with new EFI print servers.

By expanding the range of paper feed and paper output options, users of the Pro C9200 and Pro C7200 Series of presses can benefit from enhanced productivity. New options support coated paper, heavyweight media covers and the insertion of slip sheets.

New binding capabilities, including saddle stitching for long sheet media and SquareFold* finishing, will enable users to find it easier to deliver applications that are in growing demand, including A4 landscape booklets and manuals, saddle stitched catalogues, manuals and reports with covers using heavyweight and coated paper, and high quality finished saddle stitch catalogues and manuals using SquareFold finishing. Furthermore, enterprise users will be able to keep more outsourced documents in-house.

The new EFI™ Fiery® servers for the Ricoh Pro C9200 Series and Pro C7200 Series offer enhanced performance and new features designed to help clients produce more superlative output and be more productive. Colour servers E-86 for the Pro C9200 Series and E-86A for the Pro C7200 Series harness the latest Fiery NX Premium hardware platform to deliver a 50% performance improvement compared to the E-85 and E-85A.

For Pro C7200x five colour models, the E-86A and E-46A print servers include a new, exclusive, fifth colour calibration feature to ensure clients receive the best quality output on high value, fifth colour applications while helping to further reduce manual adjustments prior to printing.

“Competition is intensifying in the world of print production. To differentiate and open up pathways to new business, forward thinking Print Service Providers are equipping themselves to satisfy the growing demand for high added value printed materials,” said Eef de Ridder, Vice President, Commercial and Industrial Printing Group, Ricoh Europe PLC. “By expanding the range of finishing options available on our high end sheetfed presses, we are responding to these needs and also supporting our clients’ drive for increased productivity.”
(Ricoh Europe PLC)

More demanding market environment makes achievement of group targets 2019 significantly ...
 15.11.2019

More demanding market environment makes achievement of group targets 2019 significantly ...  (Company news)

...more challenging for Koenig & Bauer

-Strict price discipline in a challenging market environment adversely affects order intake in Q3
-Revenue slightly above prior year
-Earnings impacted by growth expenses and product mix with higher costs
-Cash flow temporarily burdened by special items
-33.2% equity ratio

Photo: For its growth offensive 2023, Koenig & Bauer is relying on innovative products such as the CI flexo printing press Evo XC which provides the customer with a measurable added value

As a result of significantly increased economic risks and greater price pressure from competitors, the market environment for Koenig & Bauer has become much more demanding. Due to strict price discipline, the sometimes massive concessions from the competition led to weaker order intake in the third quarter of 2019, particularly in the Sheetfed segment.

In the first three quarters of 2019, the Koenig & Bauer group achieved an order intake of €843m. The prior-year figure of €943.2m benefited from a major order in security printing which is not usual in this scope. With good proceeds of €292.2m in the third quarter, group revenue increased slightly as compared to the prior year (€788.8m) to €798.2m. Group EBIT of €5.2m (2018: €28.6m) was primarily impacted by expenses for the growth offensive 2023 which, cumulatively for 2019 until 2021 are about €50m with a heavier load in the first year. President and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann described further details: “In addition to a declining services business in newspaper printing, unexpected project expenses for a major order in security printing, unplanned quality costs and negative mixed effects burdened earnings. Also in view of the considerable increase in economic risks, we have been working intensively in recent months on specific cost reduction programs. The optimisation of the group-wide production and assembly footprint is a focus in this regard.” CFO Mathias Dähn added: “In addition to the active and fast cost structuring, we are pushing our work on innovative products which enable customers to realise tangible added value. Reduction of working capital is also a particular focus.”

6.7% rise in orders in Sheetfed
In addition to the strong services business, more orders for medium-format presses led to growth in order intake in the Sheetfed segment of 6.7% to €460m (2018: €431.3m). Revenue of €407.4m was at the level of the prior year (€409.4m). The good order backlog of €242.5m (2018: €253.6m) ensures continued high capacity utilisation. Due to the product mix and temporarily higher associated quality costs, EBIT of –€2.2m was below the figure from the prior year (€14m).

Slight revenue increase in Digital & Web
At Digital & Web, order intake of €108m was 3.9% below the prior-year figure of €112.4m. More press sales in newspaper and digital decor printing could not compensate for declining services business in newspaper printing and lower press orders in flexible packaging printing. While revenue increased slightly from €102.8m to €105.4m, order backlog was up significantly from €72.1m to €88.4m. EBIT, burdened by high market-entry and growth-related expenses, was –€15.7m as compared to –€10.8m in the prior year.

3.9% higher revenue in Special
In the Special segment, order intake of €305.3m was below the prior-year figure of €428.3m, which was impacted by a major order in security printing. In a highly-competitive environment, we were not able to succeed in all security printing tender awards. Nevertheless, press orders were in line with planning. Following strong metal decorating orders for large-scale machine lines for 3-piece can decorating in recent years, the dynamic demand has calmed recently. By contrast, we were able to achieve significant order growth in glass and hollow container decorating. Revenue was up from €299m to €310.7m. EBIT was at €13.1m after €25.3m in the prior year as a result of the product mix and the unexpected project expenses for the major order in security printing. At €339.1m, order backlog and capacity utilisation are at a high level (2018: €460.3m).

Equity ratio of 33.2%
Despite lower trade receivables as well as increased customer payments, higher inventories and contract assets plus high investments for construction and IT projects significantly burdened cash flow. CFO Mathias Dähn adds: “There was also a substantial one-off effect in addition to high investment payments. Following completion of the self-disclosure proceedings in connection with shortcomings in corruption prevention at the Swiss subsidiary KBA-NotaSys SA, there was an additional burden on cash flow in the first nine months of 2019 due to the CHF30m payment made to the Swiss Office of the Attorney General for the agreed skimming of profits. An additional significant capital lockup resulted from the major Egypt order in banknote printing through the contract assets realised less prepayments. At the end of September 2019, the resulting cash burden amounted to €31.7m. We anticipate a liquidity relief following completion of the project in the third quarter of 2020.“

2019 group targets
President and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann: “The achievement of our annual targets 2019 – organic revenue growth in the Group of around 4% and an EBIT margin of around 6% – has become significantly more challenging in this demanding market environment with weaker order intake in the third quarter. With the currently high capacity utilisation, target achievement is subject to the scheduled order processing, the booking of expected orders and the timely effect of the cost reduction measures that have been initiated.“
(Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA))

Toscotec enters the Caribbean market with a new TT SYD for César Iglesias, Santo Domingo
 15.11.2019

Toscotec enters the Caribbean market with a new TT SYD for César Iglesias, Santo Domingo  (Company news)

The Dominican Group César Iglesias successfully started up a second generation TT SYD at its paper mill in Santo Domingo. Following start-up, the mill has observed a marked increase of production capacity and important energy savings in the drying section.

Thanks to continuous R&D on Toscotec’s Steel Yankee Dryer, the height, width and pitch of the internal ribs as well as the shell thickness achieved an optimal geometry, which guarantees a highly efficient heat transfer. The supply also includes the steam and condensate system, the Yankee coating spray boom, a new forming roll, as well as the complete overhaul service of press rolls.

In response to the customer’s request for the fastest possible delivery, Toscotec further refined the production time and was able to deliver the Steel Yankee Dryer in record time. Since the opening of Massa Technology Lab in 2016, an integrated plant dedicated to the production of Steel Yankee Dryers, Toscotec has sought to optimize the manufacturing process of its TT SYD and shortened their delivery period.

Jesús Feris Ferrús, César Iglesias Technical Director, says, “When we selected the supplier for this investment, we thought that the TT SYD’s superior performance and short delivery time made it the most competitive choice in the market. This was our first cooperation with Toscotec and we have been positively impressed by their technical and project management team. The energy efficiency of the TT SYD will allow us to reduce the manufacturing cost of our tissue line and give us a competitive advantage in the market.”

Simone Pieruccini, Toscotec’s Pressure Vessel Technical Manager, says, “As soon as we understood the customer’s need for a fast delivery, we rearranged the production schedule, in order to reduce the construction time as much as we could. From a technical point of view, we were in tune with César Iglesias’ team, which made our first cooperation very easy for everybody.”

The César Iglesias Group thus enters the tissue market, starting the production and converting of toilet tissue, paper towels and napkins.
(Toscotec S.p.A.)

Drying performance at the highest level: hubergroup revolutionizes the pressroom with ...
 15.11.2019

Drying performance at the highest level: hubergroup revolutionizes the pressroom with ...  (Company news)

... ECO-PERFECT-DRY

With the help of extensive research work, the international printing ink manufacturer hubergroup has succeeded in launching a particularly fast drying and environmentally friendly ink series: ECO-PERFECT-DRY. The Cradle to Cradle silver certified sheetfed offset inks, which enable the print product to be processed quickly, are ideal for commercial printing.

Photo: Thanks to its high drying kinetics, ECO-PERFECT-DRY increases printers' cash flow. (source: Timo Lutz Werbefotografie)

For the development of the globally available ink series, hubergroup carried out extensive tests in order to optimize the drying process. For this purpose, the ink specialist cooperated with the German company Onlineprinters to examine the processes in practice. Bernd Groh, Global Product and Portfolio Manager Sheetfed/UV at hubergroup, explains: "It was important for us to exactly understand the interaction between the drying parameters and the drying performance – that's why we speak of drying kinetics. Thanks to this knowledge, ECO-PERFECT-DRY has a unique drying speed which helps printers speed up processes."

Additionally, hubergroup paid particular importance to the eco-friendliness of the product. Consequently, ECO-PERFECT-DRY is not only cobalt- and mineral oil-free, but also has an optimised CO2 balance. Therefore, the Cradle to Cradle silver certified printing ink is ideal for environmentally conscious companies.
(Hubergroup Deutschland GmbH)

WestRock Reports Fiscal 2019 Fourth Quarter Results
 15.11.2019

WestRock Reports Fiscal 2019 Fourth Quarter Results  (Company news)

North American Organic Box Shipments Increased 2.2%

WestRock Company (NYSE:WRK), a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, announced results for its fiscal fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2019.

Fourth Quarter 2019 Highlights
-Earned $1.20 per diluted share and $1.24 of adjusted earnings per diluted share compared to $1.08 per diluted share and $1.29 of adjusted earnings per diluted share in the prior year quarter
-Corrugated Packaging Segment EBITDA margin of 23.1% and North American Adjusted Segment EBITDA margin of 23.2%
-Consumer Packaging Segment EBITDA margin and Adjusted Segment EBITDA margin of 16.1%, an increase of 50 basis points and 100 basis points, respectively, compared to the prior year quarter
-Net cash provided by operating activities of $911 million and Adjusted Operating Cash Flow of $942 million; total debt declined by $475 million sequentially

Full Year 2019 and Other Highlights
-Earned $3.33 per diluted share and $3.98 of adjusted earnings per diluted share compared to $7.34 and $4.09, respectively, in the prior year
-Completed KapStone acquisition and achieved run rate of $90 million in synergies and performance improvements
-Invested $1.37 billion in capital expenditures, including $0.5 billion in strategic capital projects
-Generated net cash provided by operating activities of $2.31 billion and Adjusted Free Cash Flow of $1.04 billion
-Returned $557 million to stockholders through dividends and stock repurchases
-Reduced total debt by $757 million since December 31, 2018
-Increased annual dividend by 2.2% to an annualized rate of $1.86 per share

“The WestRock team executed well and delivered strong financial results for both the fourth quarter and the fiscal year,” said Steve Voorhees (photo), chief executive officer. “As we move forward into fiscal year 2020, we remain focused on organic growth, including partnering with our customers to develop fiber-based packaging solutions that help them meet their sustainability goals. With uncertain macro-economic conditions, we are acting to deliver on our productivity and cash flow generation goals.”

Operating Highlights for the Three Months Ended September 30, 2019 compared to September 30, 2018:
Net sales increased $415 million compared to the prior year quarter, primarily due to the acquisition of KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation (“KapStone”). The KapStone acquisition-related increase in sales was partially offset by lower corrugated volumes and prices. The increase in net sales was also partially offset by the absence of $106 million of recycling net sales compared to the prior year quarter since the Company transitioned recycling to a procurement function and ceased recording recycling net sales at the beginning of fiscal 2019. Consumer Packaging segment net sales were lower by $41 million, primarily due to lower volumes and unfavorable foreign currency impacts.

Segment income increased $72 million compared to the prior year quarter, primarily due to $64 million of increased Corrugated Packaging segment income. Consumer Packaging segment income increased $5 million. The increase in consolidated segment income was primarily due to insurance proceeds related to the receipt of Hurricane Michael that were primarily associated with the Panama City, Florida, mill, the contribution from the acquired KapStone operations, productivity improvements and cost deflation. This was partially offset by lower selling price/mix and volumes.

Restructuring and Other Items
During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, the Company announced a plan to reconfigure the North Charleston, South Carolina, mill. The Company expects to shut down one paper machine in fiscal 2020 and reduce linerboard capacity by approximately 288,000 tons. After this shutdown, the mill will focus on manufacturing differentiated DuraSorb® and KraftPak® products. We anticipate the reconfiguration will reduce costs by $40 million on an annual run rate basis. Restructuring and other items during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 included the following pre-tax costs:
-$21 million of restructuring costs associated with the North Charleston, South Carolina, mill, primarily consisting of impairment of equipment and severance and other employee costs
-$34 million of restructuring costs, primarily associated with severance and other employee costs, including a voluntary retirement program and the consolidation of operations
-$12 million of integration costs, primarily related to the KapStone acquisition

Net Cash Provided By Operating Activities and Other Financing and Investing Activities
Net cash provided by operating activities was $911 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 compared to $796 million in the prior year quarter. As a result of the retrospective adoption of certain accounting standards discussed below under “Other Presentation Items”, net cash provided by operating activities for the three months ended September 30, 2018 decreased by $119 million with a corresponding decrease to net cash used for investing activities.

During the fourth quarter, the Company received $70 million of insurance proceeds related to Hurricane Michael. Of the $70 million, $61 million was included in net cash provided by operating activities and $9 million was included in net cash used for investing activities.

Total debt was $10.06 billion at September 30, 2019, or $9.83 billion excluding $228 million of unamortized fair market value step-up of debt acquired in mergers and acquisitions. Total debt in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 declined by $475 million sequentially. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, the Company invested $392 million in capital expenditures and paid $117 million in dividends to stockholders.

Segment Results
Effective with the first quarter of fiscal 2019, the Company aligned its financial results for all periods presented in this release to move its merchandising displays operations from its Consumer Packaging segment to its Corrugated Packaging segment. Additionally, beginning in the first quarter of fiscal 2019, the Company began conducting its recycling operations primarily as a procurement function. As a result, no recycling net sales have been recorded and the margin from the Company’s recycling operations has reduced cost of goods sold.

The Company’s segment performance for the three months ended September 30, 2019 and September 30, 2018 (in millions):

Corrugated Packaging Segment
Operating Highlights for the Three Months Ended September 30, 2019 compared to September 30, 2018:
-Segment net sales increased $482 million, or $595 million when the prior year quarter is adjusted to exclude recycling net sales. The increase in segment net sales was primarily due to $755 million from the acquired KapStone operations, which was partially offset by $107 million of lower volumes and $70 million of lower selling price/mix.
-The Corrugated Packaging segment delivered Segment EBITDA margin of 23.1% and North American Adjusted Segment EBITDA margin of 23.2%, an increase of 100 basis points and a decrease of 110 basis points, respectively, compared to the prior year quarter.
-North American box shipments increased 18.9% on a per day basis, and approximately 2.2% on an organic basis.

-Segment income increased $64 million due primarily to:
-$70 million of insurance proceeds related to Hurricane Michael that were partially offset by $7 million of direct costs in the quarter ($53 million of insurance proceeds were excluded from Adjusted Segment EBITDA);
-$45 million of contribution from the acquired KapStone operations before economic downtime, an estimated $41 million of productivity improvements and an estimated $32 million of cost deflation. These items were partially offset by $68 million of lower selling price/mix, $39 million of lower volumes and an estimated $15 million related to 97,000 tons of economic downtime, as well as other costs; and
-Other items including $11 million recorded for an estimated Brazilian indirect tax receivable ($7 million was excluded from Adjusted Segment EBITDA) and an estimated $8 million impact from Hurricane Dorian on the current quarter, similar to weather impacts we experienced in the prior year quarter.
-The Company recorded $10 million of pre-tax income, or $0.03 per diluted share, for the receipt of business interruption insurance proceeds related to Hurricane Michael compared to $15 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, which was included in the Company’s guidance for the quarter.

Consumer Packaging Segment
Operating Highlights for the Three Months Ended September 30, 2019 compared to September 30, 2018:
-Segment net sales decreased $41 million due to $29 million of lower volumes, as paperboard volumes were partially offset by gains in converting shipments, and $18 million of unfavorable foreign currency impacts. These items were partially offset by $7 million from acquisitions.
-The Consumer Packaging segment delivered Segment EBITDA margin and Adjusted Segment EBITDA margin of 16.1% each, an increase of 50 basis points and 100 basis points, respectively, compared to the prior year quarter.
-Segment income increased $5 million primarily due to an estimated $22 million of productivity improvements, $6 million of cost deflation and $3 million of higher selling price/mix, which were partially offset by $18 million of lower volumes, as well as other costs. The prior year quarter included a $10 million favorable acquisition reserve adjustment.

Other Presentation Items
Due to the October 1, 2018 retrospective adoption of ASU 2017-07 “Compensation: Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Postretirement Benefit Cost”, the Company has presented the non-service components of its pension and other postretirement income separately from the service components (now as “pension and other postretirement non-service income”) and outside the subtotal of operating income (formerly in “cost of goods sold” and “selling, general and administrative, excluding intangible amortization”). The Company’s condensed consolidated statements of income have been recast for the prior fiscal periods.

The Company’s condensed consolidated statements of cash flows have been recast for all periods presented in this release to reflect the retrospective adoption of certain accounting standards, notably ASU 2016-15 “Classification of Certain Cash Receipts and Cash Payments” on October 1, 2018. The adoption of ASU 2016-15 resulted in a change in classification of proceeds received for beneficial interests obtained from selling certain trade receivables as investing activities instead of operating activities in the statement of cash flows. The Company modified the accounts receivable factoring arrangement at the end of fiscal 2018; therefore, there was no current year impact. The Company also adopted the provisions of ASU 2016-18, “Restricted Cash” on October 1, 2018 on a retrospective basis. As a result, the Company has included amounts generally described as restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents with cash and cash equivalents when reconciling the beginning-of-period and end-of-period amounts shown on the condensed consolidated statements of cash flows.

Net cash provided by operating activities for the three and twelve months ended September 30, 2018 decreased by $119 million and $490 million, respectively, with a corresponding decrease to net cash used for investing activities of $119 million and $484 million, respectively, and increases of $0 million and $6 million in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash in each period as a result of these retrospective adoptions.

The Company aligned its segment results for all periods presented in this release to allocate certain previously non-allocated costs and certain pension and other postretirement non-service income to its reportable segments. The Company has also aligned its financial results for all periods presented in this release as discussed under “Segment Results”.
(WestRock Companies)

Planned renewal of Metsä Board's Husum pulp mill proceeds
 15.11.2019

Planned renewal of Metsä Board's Husum pulp mill proceeds  (Company news)

Metsä Board, part of Metsä Group, announced on 26 April 2019 that it will launch a pre-engineering for the first phase of the renewal of its Husum pulp mill (photo) in Sweden. The first phase of the renewal consists of a new recovery boiler and a new turbine. Pulp production will remain on a level permitted in the current environmental permit. On 27 August 2019, the company announced that the competent authority in Sweden, Länsstyrelsen, had decided that the planned new recovery boiler will require an amendment to the environmental permit. At the same time, the company estimated that the final investment decision on the first phase of the renewal can be made in the second quarter of 2020, at the earliest.

The company aims to minimize the delay in the start-up of the new recovery boiler and turbine due to the environmental permit process. This is to enable the introduction of new cleaner and more energy efficient technology as quickly as possible, and to minimize the production interruption risk related to the old recovery boilers. To reduce the delay, the company has selected the main equipment suppliers and will make certain financial commitments for the implementation phase of the project already at the end of 2019 and early 2020, although no final investment decision will be made prior to receiving the environmental permit. The total value of the commitments will be a maximum of EUR 100 million. The total value of the investment is estimated at approximately EUR 320 million. The amount includes financial commitments made prior to the investment decision.

The investment increases renewable electricity generation and reduces oil consumption

The new recovery boiler and turbine are expected to increase the Husum pulp mill's electricity generation by about 330 gigawatt-hours per year, resulting in cost savings at current electricity prices of approximately EUR 12 million per year. In addition, the investment would reduce the amount of purchased oil. The investment would enable to extend the interval between planned maintenance shutdowns and reduce the duration of the shutdowns in the integrated mill, which would slightly increase the annual pulp and board production. The annual maintenance investments and expenses would also be lower. Through the improvements listed above combined, the investment is expected to generate an annual cash flow improvement of approximately EUR 35 million, of which approximately EUR 30 million is EBITDA improvement and EUR 5 million is reduced maintenance investments. The impact on operating profit is expected to be positive despite increasing depreciation. The company's financing costs are expected to increase by approximately EUR 2 million per year from the start-up of the recovery boiler and turbine.

The company expects to record an impairment loss of approximately EUR 19 million on the assets of the Husum pulp mill in its 2019 financial statements.
(Metsä Board Corporation)

Schumacher Packaging takes over British packaging manufacturer Jaffabox
 14.11.2019

Schumacher Packaging takes over British packaging manufacturer Jaffabox  (Company news)

Packaging expert expands to United Kingdom

The Schumacher Packaging Group, one of the largest family-run manufacturers of packaging solutions made from corrugated board and solid board, continues to expand: On 5th November 2019, the company took over packaging manufacturer Jaffabox Ltd based in Birmingham, England. In terms of technology, Jaffabox is fully up to speed and offers a varied selection of packaging solutions from corrugated board produced in-house – from shipping boxes to shelf-ready packaging all the way to tailored design services for individual customer requirements. Schumacher Packaging gains another strong supplier for the group of companies and a strategically important site in Europe.

With the takeover of Jaffabox, Schumacher Packaging is further expanding its presence on the European market. Particularly internationally active customers of the packaging expert with headquarters in Ebersdorf, Germany, will reap the benefits in terms of logistics. A fair few of them have sites in the UK themselves. For these customers, Schumacher Packaging can now offer a reliable partner in the country – particularly in times of Brexit. In addition, they can rely on another strong partner in the group of companies who is set apart by high standards of technology and a marked focus on service. Björn Schumacher, Managing Director of the Schumacher Packaging Group, emphasises: "Jaffabox offers immense potential which we will be able to perfectly fulfil together in our group of companies – to the benefit of all our customers." Customers of the English packaging manufacturer will also benefit from the merger. They now have access to the comprehensive product range and the full service offer of the international Schumacher Packaging Group. In all other regards, business will continue on a familiar path for Jaffabox customers, as the company will still be managed by the Amyes family.

On the path to becoming a European full-service provider
The inclusion of Jaffabox in the group of companies is another step in Schumacher Packaging's strategy of international growth. "More and more companies are active on an international scale and have sites across Europe," explains Jochen Drösel, Head of Sales at Schumacher Packaging Group. "And naturally, they prefer working with a select few suppliers serving all regions – ideally at a constant quality and price level – instead of having to choose a separate supplier for each country." That is the exact requirement the Schumacher Packaging Group aims to fulfil. Björn Schumacher explains: "The primary aim of our expansion is not to gain market shares. What we really want to achieve is to offer existing customers even more products and services and fulfil our promise of being a full-service provider as best we can."

Two packaging experts on the same wavelength
The takeover of Jaffabox is a logical strategic step for both sides, not least because the two companies have much in common: Both are owner-managed, have a successful company history spanning more than 70 years and are each led by a set of two successful brothers. "We are very happy to have become part of the Schumacher Packaging family," says Frank Amyes, one of the two Jaffabox Managing Directors. "In this way, we are making sure that we can continue the same level of service and product quality that our customers have come to expect from us. In addition, we will be able to offer them the expanded product range and European presence of Schumacher Packaging. This benefits and strengthens everyone involved."

Two companies – double the sustainability
There are also other parallels between the two companies. Both Jaffabox and Schumacher Packaging have a particularly future-oriented approach based on sustainability. As manufacturers of corrugated and solid board packaging, both companies use natural renewable raw materials – with a correspondingly beneficial carbon footprint – and manufacture products that are fully recyclable. Jaffabox focussed on reutilising packaging as early as the 1970s and has a modern recycling system. At Schumacher Packaging as well, conserving resources, environmental protection and sustainability are not just seen as important but practised every day – for example with ultra-modern production and logistics technologies. The packaging expert has three paper and cardboard machines with a self-contained recycling system for own punching waste. The innovative digital-printing technology, which Schumacher Packaging uses in a pioneering fashion primarily for series production of packaging with high-quality printing, is based on environmentally friendly, water-based inks. This also makes the production and disposal of polymer printing plates redundant. In addition, all plants of the Schumacher Packaging Group hold FSC® certification.
(Schumacher Packaging GmbH)

BillerudKorsnäs and SKF partner to improve performance of Karlsborg Mill
 14.11.2019

BillerudKorsnäs and SKF partner to improve performance of Karlsborg Mill  (Company news)

BillerudKorsnäs and SKF are partnering to reduce maintenance costs and improve production output and sustainability performance at Karlsborg Mill in Kalix, Sweden.

Real-time data from a new system with 480 connected condition monitoring points at Karlsborg willl be analyzed at SKF’s Rotating Equipment Performance Center (photo) in Gothenburg. Combined with a new, performance-based business model, smarter and faster decisions can be made by the mill’s operators and SKF’s engineers, in order to improve Karlsborg mill’s performance.

In addition to improved output, these insights, combined with SKFs knowledge of the rotating shaft and lubrication management will help to reduce the mill’s overall consumption of bearings, seals and lubrication fluids. In doing so, SKF is able to support the mill’s ambitions to minimize the environmental impact of its operations, whilst also reducing costs.

Petra Einarsson, former President and CEO, BillerudKorsnäs, says: “We are constantly working to improve efficiency in our production together with improvements of stability and safety. This is a step forward for Karlsborg and BillerudKorsnäs.”

Alrik Danielson, President and CEO, SKF, says: “By working together, we enable faster, better decision making by operators, improving output and helping machines perform as they were designed to. By adopting a performance-based business model, we directly align our interests with those of the customer, helping to improve their performance, whilst reducing the unnecessary waste that results from a transactional business model.”

Karlsborg Mill produces over 300.000 tonnes per year of packaging and kraft paper.
(SKF Sverige AB)

American packaging company invests in Heidelberg Primefire 106 for luxury packaging segment
 14.11.2019

American packaging company invests in Heidelberg Primefire 106 for luxury packaging segment  (Company news)

-Arkay Packaging wants to use new digital printing system to further expand its technological leadership
-Portfolio includes premium folding cartons for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and wines and spirits
-Economical production through integrated offset and digital printing
-Already the second Primefire 106 in the USA

Photo: A total of four Speedmaster XL 106 presses are in operation in Arkay Packaging's press room.

Folding carton printing company Arkay Packaging in Roanoke, Virginia, recently signed a contract for a Drupa model Heidelberg Primefire 106 . This means that Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) has already sold two of these industrial digital printing systems in the USA. By installing the Primefire 106, Arkay Packaging wants to protect and further expand its position as a technological leader in the market for luxury packaging.

Arkay Packaging is a third-generation family-run company with a long tradition of producing top-quality folding cartons. Its regular clients include some of the world’s best known companies and brands. With production plants in Hauppauge, New York, and Roanoke, Virginia, as well as branches in New York City, Arkay has positioned itself as an innovator and market leader in this highly competitive segment. Its portfolio includes premium folding cartons for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and wines and spirits.

“We are highly motived to use the latest digital technologies for packaging printing to develop new business models, to future-proof ourselves, and to set ourselves apart from the competition,” explains Walt Shiels, COO of Arkay.
(Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG)

Neenah Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results
 14.11.2019

Neenah Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results  (Company news)

Neenah, Inc. (NYSE: NP) reported third quarter 2019 results.

Third Quarter Highlights
-Net sales of $231.8 million decreased 10 percent compared with $256.2 million in the prior year. On a constant currency basis and excluding the impact of the December 2018 sale of the Brattleboro mill, net sales were down 6 percent.
-GAAP earnings per diluted common share (E.P.S.) of $0.84 compared with earnings of $0.75 per share in 2018.
-On an adjusted basis, 2019 quarterly E.P.S. of $0.95 increased from $0.76 in the prior year period. Adjusting items in 2019 consisted primarily of accelerated depreciation and other costs related to the idling of a fine paper machine. Adjusted E.P.S. is a non-GAAP measure used to enhance understanding and comparability of year-on-year results. Details on adjusting items and a reconciliation to comparable GAAP measures are included later in this release.
-Cash generated from operations of $33.4 million increased from $23.9 million in the third quarter of 2018. Cash flows in 2019 were used to reduce debt in the quarter by $19.1 million.
-Quarterly cash dividends paid of $0.45 per share increased 10 percent from $0.41 per share in the prior year.

"We continued to improve operating margins and delivered increased profits in the quarter through our actions to manage costs and pricing as input costs began to moderate from year-ago levels. Combined, these items more than offset impacts from volume challenges that reflected weaker market conditions," said John O'Donnell (photo), Chief Executive Officer. "Our teams remain focused on optimizing cash flows, ensuring our solid financial position and strong balance sheet. This strategy provides Neenah with both the strength to weather a less certain global economic environment, and the ability to act prudently on value-adding investment opportunities."

Quarterly Consolidated Results
Income Statement
Consolidated net sales of $231.8 million in the third quarter of 2019 decreased 10 percent compared with $256.2 million in the third quarter of 2018. The decline in revenues resulted from lower volumes, reflecting weaker global market conditions in both segments, the divestiture of the Brattleboro mill in December 2018, and unfavorable currency translation effects. These items were only partly offset by increased selling prices in both segments. On a constant currency basis and excluding the sale of Brattleboro, sales declined 6 percent compared with the prior year.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expense of $23.1 million in the third quarter of 2019 decreased from $23.6 million in the prior year.

Operating income of $19.0 million in the third quarter of 2019 increased $2.5 million compared to $16.5 million in 2018. Excluding pre-tax adjusting items of $2.5 million in 2019 and $0.7 million for 2018, adjusted operating income of $21.5 million in 2019 increased $4.3 million from $17.2 million in 2018. The increase was mainly due to higher selling prices, lower input costs, a more profitable Technical Products mix and lower SG&A, partly offset by lower sales and production volumes. Both years included higher maintenance and other costs related to annual planned maintenance downs.

Net interest expense of $2.8 million in the third quarter of 2019 declined compared with $3.2 million in the third quarter of 2018 as a result of reduced debt and lower interest rates in 2019.

The effective income tax rate was 11 percent in the third quarter of 2019 and 3 percent in the third quarter of 2018. The tax rate in 2019 included a $1.2 million reversal of U.S. federal and state reserves for uncertain tax positions following expiration of statutes of limitation for audit. The tax rate in 2018 benefited from a higher amount of credits to tax expense for pension contributions and excess tax benefits on stock compensation, and the impact of these and other benefits being magnified due to lower pre-tax book income in 2018.

Cash Flow and Balance Sheet Items
Cash provided from operations in the third quarter of 2019 was $33.4 million and increased significantly compared with $23.9 million in the third quarter of 2018. Higher cash flows in 2019 resulted primarily from improvements in working capital, lower contributions to post-employment retirement plans and increased earnings.

Capital spending of $4.9 million in the third quarter of 2019 decreased from $12.3 million in the prior year, which included spending on a large safety and environmental filtration project in Germany that was completed during the plant shutdown in the fourth quarter.

Debt as of September 30, 2019 was $204.6 million and decreased $19.1 million from $223.7 million as of June 30, 2019. Cash and cash equivalents as of September 30, 2019 were $7.4 million and compared to $8.1 million as of June 30, 2019.

Quarterly Segment Results
Technical Products quarterly net sales of $131.7 million in 2019 decreased 7 percent from $142.3 million in the prior year, and were down 5 percent on a constant currency basis. The revenue decline resulted primarily from lower backings volumes and $3.0 million of unfavorable foreign currency effects, partly offset by higher selling prices and a higher value sales mix.

Operating income of $9.5 million in the third quarter of 2019 decreased $1.4 million compared with prior year income of $10.9 million. Excluding $2.6 million of favorable adjusting items for 2018, adjusted operating income of $9.5 million in 2019 increased $1.2 million from $8.3 million in the prior year. Adjusted operating income increased as a result of lower input costs, increased selling prices, and a higher value mix, which more than offset lower sales, lower production volumes and associated manufacturing fixed cost inefficiencies, and higher SG&A expense.

Fine Paper and Packaging quarterly net sales of $100.1 million in 2019 decreased 11 percent, from $112.5 million in the prior year. Excluding the impact of the divestiture of the Brattleboro operation last December, sales were down 6 percent. The decline was due to lower commercial print volume (including impacts due to a significant change with a major distributor) and a less favorable sales mix that were only partly offset by higher selling prices and growth in the consumer segment.

Operating income of $13.2 million in the third quarter of 2019 increased $1.9 million from $11.3 million in the prior year. Excluding $2.3 million of non-routine costs in 2019 primarily related to idling a paper machine and $1.9 million of costs in 2018 primarily related to the Brattleboro mill impairment loss, adjusted operating income of $15.5 million in 2019 increased $2.3 million from $13.2 million in the prior year as a result of lower input costs and higher selling prices, partly offset by lower volumes and a less favorable sales mix.

Unallocated Corporate costs in the third quarter of 2019 of $3.7 million decreased $1.4 million from the prior year period. Excluding 2019 adjustments of $0.2 million for pension settlement and restructuring costs, and 2018 adjustments of $0.8 million for restructuring costs, adjusted unallocated corporate expenses decreased $0.8 million, primarily due to timing of certain items.

Other segment operating results in the third quarter of 2018 were a loss of $0.6 million for a portion of the Brattleboro impairment loss. Following the sale of the Brattleboro mill in December 2018, the Other segment is no longer being recognized.

Year-to-Date
Consolidated net sales of $724.9 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 were $69.1 million lower than the prior year as a result of lower volumes, including the divestiture of the Brattleboro mill, and unfavorable currency effects, partially offset by increased selling prices and, in Technical Products, a higher-value sales mix.

Consolidated operating income of $56.2 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 increased $19.9 million from the prior year period. The increase was mainly due to the absence of a $34.0 million impairment loss related to the divestiture of the Brattleboro mill recognized in 2018. Excluding $6.0 million of adjustments in 2019 and $34.8 million of adjustments in 2018, adjusted operating income decreased $8.9 million, primarily due to lower sales, higher input costs, and lower production volumes and associated manufacturing cost inefficiencies, that were only partially offset by higher net selling prices.

Year-to-date net income from continuing operations of $39.8 million increased $15.5 million compared with $24.3 million in 2018. After excluding the 2019 after-tax adjustments of $4.5 million, and the 2018 after-tax adjustments of $26.6 million, the decrease in net income of $6.6 million in 2019 was due to lower adjusted operating income and a $0.9 million favorable tax adjustment in 2018.

Year-to-date earnings per diluted common share from continuing operations of $2.33 in 2019 increased from $1.41 in 2018. After excluding $0.27 per share of adjustments in 2019 and $1.56 per share of adjustments in 2018, year-to-date adjusted earnings per share in 2019 and 2018 were $2.60 and $2.97, respectively.

Cash provided by operating activities of $74.4 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 was $10.7 million higher than $63.7 million in the prior year period. The increase resulted primarily from working capital improvements and lower pension plan contributions, partly offset by lower cash earnings.

Capital expenditures for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 were $13.9 million compared to $28.1 million in the prior year period. For 2019, full-year capital expenditures are expected to be slightly below our targeted range of 3 to 5 percent of net sales.

Debt as of September 30, 2019 of $204.6 million was $34.5 million lower compared with $239.1 million as of December 31, 2018. Cash and cash equivalents of $7.4 million as of September 30, 2019 decreased $2.5 million compared with cash and cash equivalents of $9.9 million as of December 31, 2018.
(Neenah Inc.)

Metsä Group's comparable operating result in January–September 2019 was EUR 418 million
 14.11.2019

Metsä Group's comparable operating result in January–September 2019 was EUR 418 million  (Company news)

January–September 2019 (1–9/2018)
-Sales were EUR 4,183 million (4,290).
-Operating result was EUR 342 million (635). Comparable operating result was EUR 418 million (641).
-Result before tax was EUR 298 million (576). Comparable result before tax was EUR 374 million (582).
-Cash flow from operations was EUR 421 million (591).

July–September 2019 (7–9/2018)
-Sales were EUR 1,374 million (1,386).
-Operating result was EUR 110 million (223). Comparable operating result was EUR 110 million (223).
-Result before tax was EUR 96 million (208). Comparable result before tax was EUR 96 million (208).
-Cash flow from operations was EUR 239 million (314).

Events in the third quarter of 2019
-The prices of long-fibre and short-fibre pulp in Europe declined by 13% compared to the previous quarter. In China, the price of long-fibre pulp declined by 15% and the price of short-fibre pulp by 24%.
-The delivery volumes of paperboard grew from the previous quarter. Prices remained stable.
-Several scheduled maintenance shutdowns curtailed the production of Metsä Group’s chemical and high-yield pulp during the third quarter.
-Metsä Board signed a bank financing arrangement, comprising a loan of EUR 150 million and a revolving credit facility of EUR 200 million.
-Metsä Board started up a new sheet-cutting line at the Äänekoski paperboard mill.
-In August–September, Metsäliitto Cooperative acquired EUR 75.3 million worth of Metsä Board Corporation’s B shares from the market.
-Metsä Tissue announced its plan for a next-generation tissue paper mill in Mariestad, Sweden, and the start of a related environmental permit process.

Events after the period
-In the end of October, Metsä Fibre was awarded for its sustainability work by the EFQM Global Excellence Award. The company won the Outstanding Achievement for Sustainability Award and reached the EFQM rating Recognised for Excellence 6 Stars.
-Metsä Board announced on 30 October 2019 to make certain financial commitments for the implementation phase related to the Husum investment plans prior to the final investment decision. The total value of the commitments will be a maximum of EUR 100 million, and is included in the total value of the first phase of the investment, estimated at EUR 320 million.

Result guidance for October–December 2019
Metsä Group’s comparable operating result is in the fourth quarter of 2019 expected to weaken from the third quarter of 2019.

President and CEO Ilkka Hämälä (photo):
“Metsä Group’s third quarter result weakened, as expected, compared to the previous quarter. The price level of pulp in Europe continued to decline as a result of China’s lower price level. In China, the prices of softwood pulp were stable during the third quarter and took a slightly upward turn at the end of September as softwood pulp inventories approached their average level, and as a number of producers announced production curtailments attributable to the market situation and technical reasons.

Metsä Board issued a positive profit warning immediately after the end of the third quarter. The result remained at the level of the previous quarter due to the stronger than expected paperboard market.

The market for sawn timber and veneer products continued to be weaker than normal as demand, particularly in Europe, was at a low level. The sawn timber market was also weakened by the additional production which entered the market following storm damages in Central European forests.

Demand for Metsä Tissue’s products remained stable. The decline in pulp prices improved the company’s result, along with the reorganisation of the business carried out during the first half of the year.

The pre-engineering projects concerning the Kemi, Rauma and Husum investments continue with the aim of ensuring the projects are ready for the final decisions during the first half of 2020.

The equipment installations at the demo plant for textile fibre at Äänekoski are progressing. Production is set to begin in early 2020.”

Near-term outlook
Wood demand will focus on stands to be harvested when the ground is unfrozen, and on crown wood in terms of energy wood. The demand for forest management services remains good. The oversupply of wood in the Baltic Sea area is expected to continue.

The demand for Kerto LVL and birch plywood products will continue to be uncertain, and the adjustment of production will be continued during the fourth quarter. The decline in demand for spruce plywood products which began in the third quarter is expected to continue in the fourth quarter.

Delivery volumes in the UK market will decline seasonally during the fourth quarter and the uncertainty attributable to Brexit will be even more visible in the demand of the DIY segment.

The demand for long-fibre market pulp in developing markets is expected to remain good during the rest of the year. The supply and demand will be balanced by the production curtailments announced by pulp producers and by the annual maintenance shutdowns taking place during the third and fourth quarters.

The sawn timber market situation is in the main markets expected to remain challenging, due to the ample supply and high inventory levels. Europe has an especially abundant supply of cheap raw material attributable to storms and insect damages.

Metsä Board’s paperboard deliveries during the fourth quarter are expected to decline from the level of the third quarter. The decline in delivery volumes is influenced by the seasonally slower December, for example.

Prices for folding boxboard and white kraftliner are expected to remain stable.

Demand in the tissue and greaseproof paper markets is expected to remain stable in all market areas. The implemented efficiency measures, as well as higher sales prices and lower raw material costs, will have a positive effect on profitability in the fourth quarter.
(Metsä Group)

PCMC launches Accelerate Live field service troubleshooting app
 14.11.2019

PCMC launches Accelerate Live field service troubleshooting app  (Company news)

Collaborative app helps customers get their machines back up and running quickly

Picture: Accelerate Live is a subscription-based service that works through a PCMC-provided tablet

Paper Converting Machine Company (PCMC), part of Barry-Wehmiller, has launched Accelerate Live, a mobile app that enables machine inspection and troubleshooting in the field, providing quicker service for customers.

Accelerate Live creates a fully collaborative live environment with an instant audio/video connection between the customer facility and PCMC technicians and engineering experts. Through the use of a tablet, both participants can draw in a relative 3-D space to facilitate the troubleshooting and diagnostic process.

“When our customers’ equipment is down, we realize they don’t have time to wait for service,” said Noah Kellermann, Field Service Training Leader for PCMC. “With Accelerate Live, we can offer a rapid response to equipment issues to get machines back up and running quickly.”

Accelerate Live is a subscription-based service that works through a PCMC-provided tablet and noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones. It was developed to connect in industrial facilities that have low-bandwidth Wi-Fi.

“We’ve done extensive testing to ensure call quality is clear and effective,” said Kellermann. “Feedback from our service technicians and our test group of customers helped us enhance our offering to provide the right technology and tools, and ultimately deliver the exceptional service that customers have come to expect from PCMC.”
(PCMC Paper Converting Machine Company)

International Paper Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results
 13.11.2019

International Paper Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results  (Company news)

-Third quarter net earnings attributable to International Paper of $344 million ($0.87 per diluted share) compared with $292 million ($0.73 per diluted share) in the second quarter of 2019 and $562 million ($1.37 per diluted share) in the third quarter of 2018
-Third quarter adjusted operating earnings (non-GAAP) of $431 million ($1.09 per diluted share) compared with $460 million ($1.15 per diluted share) in the second quarter of 2019 and $641 million ($1.56 per diluted share) in the third quarter of 2018
-Third quarter cash provided by operations of $882 million and year-to-date of $2.7 billion compared with $2.4 billion year-to-date in the same period of 2018
-Strong operating performance and cost management
-Third quarter debt repayment of $383 million
-Third quarter share repurchases of $74 million, bringing the trailing 12 month total to $685 million

SEGMENT INFORMATION
Business segment operating profits are used by International Paper's management to measure the earnings performance of its businesses. Third quarter 2019 business segment net sales and operating profits compared with the second quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of 2018 are as follows

"International Paper delivered another quarter of solid earnings and strong cash generation," said Mark Sutton (photo), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We continue to demonstrate the strength and resilience of our cash engine and our ability to perform well in a challenging global environment. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, we will continue to maximize performance by optimizing our full value chain from fiber to the customer."

ndustrial Packaging operating profits in the third quarter of 2019 were $510 million ($535 million excluding special items) compared with $507 million ($515 million excluding special items) in the second quarter of 2019. In North America, earnings increased due to improved demand for boxes and export containerboard, lower planned maintenance outage expenses and lower input costs, primarily for recycled containerboard and wood. Earnings were negatively impacted by lower export containerboard prices and seasonally higher manufacturing operations. In Europe, earnings improved driven by higher average margins and favorable manufacturing operations which benefited from continued improved performance at the Madrid, Spain mill, partially offset by seasonally lower volumes, primarily in Morocco.

Global Cellulose Fibers operating profits in the third quarter of 2019 were $(3) million ($4 million excluding special items) compared with $(2) million ($0 million excluding special items) in the second quarter of 2019. Lower planned maintenance outage expenses and input costs, primarily for energy, chemicals and wood were mostly offset by lower average sales prices for fluff and market pulp and increased economic downtime.

Printing Papers operating profits in the third quarter of 2019 were $148 million ($162 million excluding special items) versus $(33) million ($114 million excluding special items) in the second quarter of 2019. Earnings in both periods were negatively affected by the net impairment of our India Papers business, included as a special item below. In North America, earnings increased due to improved manufacturing operations and lower planned maintenance outage expenses. Average sales margins were slightly lower, primarily due to an unfavorable geographic mix. In Brazil, earnings increased due to seasonally stronger demand and a favorable geographic mix, partially offset by unfavorable export average sales prices. In Europe and Russia, earnings increased primarily due to lower planned maintenance outages in both regions.

EQUITY METHOD INVESTMENTS
Ilim joint venture equity earnings were $18 million in the third quarter of 2019 compared with $67 million in the second quarter of 2019. Operationally, earnings decreased driven by lower export sales prices for hardwood pulp, softwood pulp and containerboard to China and other export markets. Sales volumes also decreased due to planned outages at the Bratsk, Koryazhma and Ust-Ilimsk mills. The Company recognized a non-cash after-tax foreign exchange loss of $4 million in the third quarter of 2019 ($0.01 per diluted share), compared with a gain of $7 million in the second quarter of 2019 ($0.02 per diluted share), primarily due to Ilim's U.S. dollar denominated net debt.

Graphic Packaging equity earnings on our 21.6% ownership position were $10 million in the third quarter of 2019, compared with $14 million in the second quarter of 2019.

CORPORATE EXPENSES
Corporate expenses were $21 million for the third quarter of 2019, compared with $3 million in the second quarter of 2019.

EFFECTIVE TAX RATE
The reported effective tax rate for the third quarter of 2019 was 30%, which reflects the impact of certain non-deductible special items noted below, and adjustments to the U.S. Federal tax provision after the finalization of the 2018 tax return, compared to a 2019 second quarter reported effective tax rate of 38%. The higher reported effective tax rate in the second quarter reflects the impact of certain non-deductible special items and other tax expense noted below as special items.

Excluding special items and non-operating pension expense, the operational effective tax rate for the third quarter of 2019 was 27%, compared with 25% for the second quarter of 2019. The higher effective tax rate in the third quarter is primarily due to the U.S. taxation of foreign earnings and related adjustments to the U.S. Federal tax provision after the finalization of the 2018 tax return.
(International Paper)

Willamette Falls Paper Company Trials First Run of Non-wood Paper
 13.11.2019

Willamette Falls Paper Company Trials First Run of Non-wood Paper  (Company news)

Willamette Falls Paper Company, Inc. has made its first successful trial of non-wood paper grades using pulp from local agricultural waste – producing both coated and uncoated grades using 10% non-wood pulp fiber.

Additional machine and press trials are ongoing to refine the paper properties and specifications. However, preliminary outcomes from press room trials and initial customer feedback show very promising results. The mill expects to announce the commercial production of coated and uncoated grades by mid-November.

“We want to be the first coated paper mill to offer non-wood grades made in the U.S. and sourced withlocal agricultural waste, in this case straw,” says Phil Harding, Director of Technology and Sustainability at Willamette Falls Paper Company. “Our long-term focus is sustainable papermaking, and successful trials using non-wood raw materials is another step toward this goal.”

Working with several key suppliers, including Trinseo, Willamette Falls is confident it is one step closer to developing both uncoated and coated grades that will have similar characteristics to the mill’s standard grades.

“Trinseo is pleased to partner with Willamette Falls Paper Company in the development of the first domestic non-wood containing coated papers. Finding innovative ways to increase the use of sustainable materials is a critical focus for us, the industry, and modern society, so we’re thrilled to continue our support in their development and commercialization of this new product,” said Todd Crook, North America Latex Binders business director for Trinseo.
(Willamette Falls Paper Company)

How Green can we go? Untapping the huge potential of the pulp mill
 13.11.2019

How Green can we go? Untapping the huge potential of the pulp mill  (Company news)

Södra’s pulp mills have reached an impressive 4,700 GWh of green energy – enough for an electric car to circle the Earth 50,000 times, and to heat 27,000 homes. Our deliveries of biofuels now equate to 6% of Sweden’s total consumption of biofuels. And our 1.8 million tonnes of pulp could make 4.3 billion books and 480 million sweaters.

And yet most consumers are unaware of the range of sustainable products that pulp mill can produce and their contribution to the bioeconomy. We’re trying to change this, by highlighting the sustainability of pulp and paper products to a much wider audience than our customers.

Episode 3 of our journey to a more sustainable future is filmed at our Mönsterås mill, deliberately located next to one of our sawmills for optimal use of resources - the pulp mill provides the sawmill with energy and in return, the sawmill produces woodchips for pulp. This closed-loop cycle leads to higher energy efficiency and reduced transportation.

Did you know:
- Mönsterås is free of fossil fuels for day-to-day operations. We produce more green energy than we use so the surplus is sold as green electricity, district heating and biofuels.
- Last year, we launched a Nutrient Recycling service which is a prime example of a sustainable ecosystem approach: Bio-ash, a residual by-product of the pulp process, is reused to promote a higher rate of forest growth and strengthen the profitability of our forest estates.
- Water is another area of focus. We employ a range of water conservation and treatment measures and are proud to be among the best in class when it comes to water conservation.
- Sustainability is not just about the process, of course, it’s about every aspect of our business. Which is why we have a zero-accident vision for all our employees.

A sustainable future requires everyday heroes – and new ways of thinking. It can be as simple as actively choosing products from sustainably managed forests, but we also need to maximize our part, which is why we’ve been examining every aspect of our process to ask the question: Could we make the world’s most sustainable pulp? We’re inviting our customers to ask the same question and join us on the journey to a more sustainable future.

Via Pulp+, customers can engage in the project, not just by tracking our journey but also their own. What would happen if we were to combine all the sustainable aspects of our value chain – would we have the world’s most sustainable pulp? The most sustainable forest products?
(Södra Cell AB)

Norske Skog: Strong operating performance
 12.11.2019

Norske Skog: Strong operating performance  (Company news)

Norske Skog’s EBITDA in the third quarter 2019 was NOK 505 million, an increase from NOK 444 million in the second quarter 2019. EBITDA was impacted by a gain on sale of water rights at Albury and CO2-compensation granted for Norske Skog Saugbrugs. The sales volumes and sales prices in Europe were slightly down in the third quarter. Less domestic demand in Australasia resulted in more low-margin export sales from the region.

- After a successful stock exchange listing, I am very pleased to present a financially robust company generating a solid financial performance despite challenging market conditions, especially for the Australasian mills. Also, the sale of the Albury mill will substantially strengthen our cash position and reduce our market exposure to the Asian low-margin markets from 2020, says Sven Ombudstvedt (photo), CEO of Norske Skog.

Operating earnings in the third quarter were NOK 1,113 million compared to operating earnings of NOK 1,150 million in the second quarter of 2019. Net profit in the third quarter was NOK 1,018 million compared to a net profit of NOK 1,032 million in the second quarter 2019, mainly due to non-cash changes in the valuation of elements in energy contracts. Cash flow from operations declined to NOK 150 million in the quarter from NOK 225 million in the second quarter, mainly due to change in working captial as a result of Saugbrugs’ CO2-compensation, which will be received in 2020. Net interest-bearing debt is NOK 852 million at the end of the third quarter, with an equity ratio of 55%.

The Albury sale
The Albury mill will cease newsprint production by the end of the fourth quarter 2019. The sale of the Albury mill and realization of certain other related assets, including energy and water rights, will generate net cash proceeds of approximately NOK 700 million. The regional Australasian management has started a process to handle the redundancy. Norske Skog will pay redundancy payments and transaction costs of approximately NOK 215 million following the sale.

Segment information
Total annual production capacity for the group is 2.6 million tonnes. In Europe, the group capacity is 1.9 million tonnes, while in Australasia, the capacity is 0.7 million tonnes, where the Albury mill has 0.3 million tonnes.

Europe
Operating revenue decreased from the previous quarter with lower sales volumes and sales prices. Variable costs per tonne decreased in the third quarter, especially impacted by the recognition of CO2-compensation for Saugbrugs. Fixed costs were slightly decreased. According to Eurograph, demand for newsprint in Europe decreased by 6% through August this year compared to the same period last year. SC magazine paper demand decreased by 10%, while demand for LWC magazine paper declined by 12%. Our capacity utilization was 90% in the third quarter, unchanged from the second quarter.

Australasia
Total operating income increased from the previous quarter due to the sale of water rights in connection to the sale of Albury. Sales volumes were in line with previous quarter but the EBITDA was negatively impacted by Asian low-margin volumes. Both variable cost per tonne and fixed costs were relatively unchanged in the quarter. According to official trade statistics, demand for newsprint in Australasia declined by 8% through September this year compared to the same period last year. Demand for magazine paper declined by 1%. Capacity utilisation was 81% in the period.

Outlook
The market balance for publication paper in Europe is supported by the announced capacity closures and conversions in the industry. Prices have declined into the third quarter and current price levels are expected into the coming quarter. The impact of the decrease in sales prices is to a large degree offset by decreased input cost from energy, pulp wood and recovered paper.

Following the cessation of newsprint at Albury in Australia in December 2019, the current export of production in excess of domestic consumption will be significantly reduced from its current level. This will reduce the region’s exposure to the volatile and currently low priced Asian market as well as reduce the currency exposure in the region. Driven by regional delivery optimisation and reduced exports, we expect regional EBITDA to improve by approximately NOK 80 million in 2020.

Norske Skog will continue its work to improve the core business, convert certain of the Group’s paper machines and diversify the business within bioenergy, fibre and biochemicals.
(Norske Skogindustrier ASA)

Ahlstrom-Munksjö signs non-binding memorandum of understanding to divest fine art ...
 12.11.2019

Ahlstrom-Munksjö signs non-binding memorandum of understanding to divest fine art ...  (Company news)

... paper business, ARCHES®

Ahlstrom-Munksjö Oyj and its French subsidiary Ahlstrom-Munksjö Arches, have entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding to divest Ahlstrom-Munksjö Arches’ fine art paper business, under ARCHES® brand, with Italian based F.I.L.A. Group, Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini S.p.A., a leading global player specialized in the research, design, manufacturing and sale of creative expression tools.

Subject to labor consultation and finalization of discussions between the parties to sign binding agreements, the transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020 at a debt and cash free valuation of approximately EUR 44 million.

The standalone pro forma annual net sales of the fine art paper business to be divested are estimated to be approximately EUR 13 million and comparable EBITDA in excess of EUR 4 million in 2019.

ARCHES paper is mainly used for water color painting, art publishing, printing and writing, and digital art publishing (reproduction). The quality of the art paper is similar to traditional handmade paper and has characteristics that make it well suited for painting and the printing of art motifs. ARCHES paper is made of cotton, on a tradition cylinder mould, with a structure that provides strength and a characteristic feel. ARCHES paper is produced by two dedicated paper machines at the Arches plant in France where Ahlstrom-Munksjö Arches operates a total of seven paper machines, the remainder of which produce decor papers and abrasive paper backings.

“As a result of our regular assessment what is the best structure for our platform of businesses, we have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to divest the fine art paper business. The business is small and synergies are limited within our portfolio of businesses. F.I.L.A. is a strategic and industrial owner, a leading global player in its field, for which the ARCHES paper product range is highly complementary and provides further growth opportunities,” comments Ahlstrom-Munksjö President and CEO Hans Sohlström.

“F.I.L.A. is excited to include the ARCHES® prestigious range of products into the F.I.L.A. family and sees attractive development opportunities for this business that further accelerate our global growth. We welcome our new colleagues and are honored to continue the ARCHES® brand and its over 500 year old tradition in F.I.L.A.” says F.I.L.A.
(Ahlstrom-Munksjö Corporation)

Cascades Announces the Closure of Tissue Converting Activities at the Waterford and ...
 12.11.2019

Cascades Announces the Closure of Tissue Converting Activities at the Waterford and ...  (Company news)

... Kingman Plants

Cascades Inc. (TSX: CAS), a leader in eco‑friendly recycling, packaging and hygiene solutions, announces that it will permanently close tissue converting operations at its Waterford, New York (photo) and Kingman, Arizona plants, effective March 27, 2020.

It is important to note that the closures do not involve the Waterford customer service or distribution centres, while the Kingman distribution centre will continue to operate until the lease ends in October 2020. The two sites produce a combined total of 9 million cases of tissue products annually and employ 213 workers. These volumes will be moved to other Cascades plants and filled with the ramp up of additional capacity.

"The difficult, but necessary decisions we are announcing today are part of our strategic efforts to improve the tissue group's profitability and position this business for long-term success. The losses recorded by these plants, existing market conditions, and our recently announced investments in acquiring and modernizing other converting units in the U.S. have prompted us to move production to our other sites to optimize operational efficiency and reduce logistic costs. We would like to reassure our customers that Cascades' service and product quality levels will not be impacted by this decision" said Jean-David Tardif, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cascades Tissue Group.

Over the coming weeks and months, Cascades will work to mitigate the impact of this announcement on its employees, including by offering as many employees as possible the option to transfer to Cascades' other business units. Employees who cannot, or do not wish to relocate to other plants, will receive support in their search for other employment.

"I want to thank each and every one of the Waterford and Kingman Cascaders for their dedication over the years. With the closure of these plants, Cascades is turning a page in its history. I would like to thank our employees in advance for their professionalism and commitment to continuing to serve our customers until the two sites close," concluded Jean-David Tardif.
(Cascades Inc.)

Mercer International Inc. Reports Third Quarter And Nine Months Ended September 30, 2019 Results..
 12.11.2019

Mercer International Inc. Reports Third Quarter And Nine Months Ended September 30, 2019 Results..   (Company news)

...And Announces Quarterly Cash Dividend Of $0.1375

Selected Highlights
-Third quarter net income of $1.2 million ($0.02 per share) and Operating EBITDA of $50.8 million
-Nine months ended September 30, 2019 net income of $63.1 million ($0.96 per share) and Operating EBITDA of $244.6 million

Mercer International Inc. (Nasdaq: MERC) reported third quarter 2019 Operating EBITDA decreased to $50.8 million from $86.7 million in the third quarter of 2018 and from $70.0 million in the second quarter of 2019.

In the third quarter of 2019, net income was $1.2 million, or $0.02 per share, compared to $41.2 million, or $0.63 per share, in the third quarter of 2018 and $10.3 million, or $0.16 per share in the second quarter of 2019. In the first nine months of 2019, Operating EBITDA modestly declined to $244.6 million from $246.5 million in the same period of 2018. In the first nine months of 2019, net income was $63.1 million compared to $83.6 million in the same period of 2018.

Mr. David M. Gandossi, the Chief Executive Officer, stated: "Our third quarter results reflect continuing weakness in the pulp markets. High producer inventories, particularly of hardwood pulp, resulted in pricing pressure through most of the third quarter. However, late in the quarter we saw softwood producer inventories begin to fall and demand began to increase in China. We have announced an NBSK price increase of $10 per tonne for October in China.
Our mills ran well this quarter as we head into a heavy maintenance quarter in the fourth quarter, where three of our pulp mills will have annual maintenance shutdowns."

In the third quarter of 2019 our operating EBITDA decreased to $50.8 million from $70.0 million in the second quarter of 2019, and from $86.7 million in the same quarter of 2018. The decrease in the current quarter compared to the prior quarter is primarily due to lower pulp sales realizations only partially being offset by lower per unit fiber costs and the positive impact of a stronger dollar compared to the euro on the dollar denominated cash and receivables held at the German mills. Compared to the same quarter of 2018 lower pulp and lumber sales realizations were partially offset by lower per unit fiber costs and higher sales volumes.

Segment Results Pulp: Strong sales volumes and lower fiber costs more than offset by lower sales realizations
In the third quarter of 2019 pulp segment operating income decreased to $21.4 million from $68.8 million in the same quarter of 2018. The decrease was primarily due to lower pulp sales realizations partially offset by higher sales volumes and lower per unit fiber costs. In the current quarter of 2019, the NBSK pulp realized sales price decreased by approximately 29% to $609 per ADMT from $852 per ADMT in the same quarter of the prior year due to high producer inventory levels. NBSK sales volumes increased by approximately 41% to 451,171 ADMTs in the current quarter from 319,850 ADMTs in the same quarter of 2018 due to the inclusion of Mercer Peace River Pulp Ltd. ("MPR") and strong sales volumes to China.

As a result of a decline in pulp sales realizations in the current quarter of 2019, we recorded a write down of our inventory carrying values at our Canadian mills of $6.9 million. In the current quarter of 2019, we received German regulatory approval to reverse a wastewater fee accrual of $7.2 million as a result of certain capital projects.
Page 3 Per unit fiber costs decreased in the current quarter by approximately 14% from the same quarter of 2018 due to lower per unit fiber costs for our German mills and the positive impact of a stronger dollar on our euro and Canadian dollar denominated fiber costs. In Germany, fiber costs benefitted from the continuing availability of beetle damaged wood. Fiber costs in Canada remained at high levels due to strong fiber demand in Celgar's fiber procurement basket.

Wood Products: Lower fiber costs partially offset by lower lumber sales realizations
In the third quarter of 2019 wood products segment operating income increased to $0.5 million compared to an operating loss of $1.8 million in the same quarter of 2018. The increase was primarily due to lower per unit fiber costs partially offset by lower lumber sales realizations. In the current quarter per unit fiber costs decreased by approximately 34% from the same quarter of 2018 primarily as a result of the availability of beetle damaged wood. Average lumber sales realizations decreased by approximately 18% to $337 per Mfbm in the third quarter of 2019 from approximately $409 per Mfbm in the same quarter of 2018 primarily due to lower pricing in both the U.S. and Europe. U.S lumber pricing declined as a result of high producer inventory levels. European lumber pricing declined due to an increase in the supply of lumber processed from beetle damaged wood which generally obtains lower prices.

Consolidated –Nine Months Ended September 30, 2019 Compared to Nine Months Ended September 30, 2018
Total revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 increased by approximately 24% to $1,293.2 million from $1,045.5 million in the nine months ended September 30, 2018 primarily due to the inclusion of the results of MPR and higher pulp and energy sales volumes partially offset by lower sales realizations.

Costs and expenses in the nine months ended September 30, 2019 increased by approximately 32% to $1,143.1 million from $868.6 million in the nine months ended September 30, 2018 primarily due to the inclusion of MPR and higher pulp sales volumes partially offset by lower per unit fiber and maintenance costs and the positive impact of a stronger dollar on our euro denominated costs and expenses.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2019, our net income decreased to $63.1 million, or $0.96 per share from $83.6 million, or $1.28 per basic and $1.27 per diluted share in the same period of 2018, after giving effect to costs of $28.5 million, or $0.44 per basic and $0.43 per diluted share, for the redemption of our 2022 senior notes in January, 2019 and a legal cost award.

In the nine months ended September 30, 2019, Operating EBITDA modestly declined to $244.6 million from $246.5 million in the same period of 2018 primarily due to lower pulp and lumber sales realizations partially offset by higher pulp and energy sales volumes, lower per unit fiber and maintenance costs, the inclusion of MPR and the positive impact of a stronger dollar on our euro denominated costs and expenses.

Outlook
We currently expect NBSK pulp markets to stabilize in the later part of the year due to lower producer inventories as a result of producer downtime along with steady demand. We currently expect lumber pricing to also stabilize in the later part of the year due to sawmill curtailments in Canada and steady U.S. and European demand.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, we have three of our pulp mills down for scheduled maintenance downtime totaling 53 days or approximately 83,000 ADMTs.

Quarterly Dividend
A quarterly dividend of $0.1375 per share will be paid on December 19, 2019 to all shareholders of record on December 12, 2019. Future dividends will be subject to Board approval and may be adjusted as business and industry conditions warrant.
(Mercer International Inc.)

Solid second quarter improves half-year balance sheet - economic uncertainties remain
 12.11.2019

Solid second quarter improves half-year balance sheet - economic uncertainties remain   (Company news)

-Q2 sales up 9 percent to € 622 million
-EBITDA (excluding restructuring result) rises to € 55 million in Q2
-Focus on increasing liquidity and safeguarding profitability
-Outlook for financial year 2019/2020 remains unchanged

In the second quarter (July 1 through September 30, 2019), Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) succeeded in almost compensating for the relatively weak start to the year. As a result, sales for the quarter (up 9 percent to € 622 million), EBITDA (excluding restructuring result) (up 28 percent to € 55 million), and incoming orders (up 1 percent to € 648 million) all improved. The main boost to business came from the ongoing digitization of processes (Push-to-Stop technology) in the core business of sheetfed offset printing, which is currently generating higher sales in the United States and China in particular. Digital business models such as subscription are also making a positive contribution, as is the growing proportion of recurring sales from contract business and e-commerce. Subscription business now accounts for over 10 percent of the order backlog, for instance. The medium-term goal at Heidelberg is to significantly reduce the company’s exposure to economic fluctuations by generating around a third of total sales from recurring business.
(Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG)

KODAK PRINERGY VME with Managed Services Heralds a New Workflow Era
 12.11.2019

KODAK PRINERGY VME with Managed Services Heralds a New Workflow Era  (Company news)

Leading workflow solution for the printing industry gets off to a flying start in the cloud

Picture: Jim Continenza, Executive Chairman, Eastman Kodak Company; William Schuring, Chief Operating Officer, Wilco Printing & Binding and Todd Bigger, President, Kodak Software Division, Eastman Kodak Company

For 20 years, KODAK PRINERGY Workflow has formed a solid backbone for commercial, publishing and packaging printers’ production activities with its high automation, efficiency, integration capacity and flexible connectivity. The launch of PRINERGY VME with Managed Services represents a decisive step into the future by Kodak.

With PRINERGY VME (Virtual Machine Environment), each customer’s virtualized PRINERGY software is hosted and managed by Kodak; backed by Microsoft Azure’s $1B investment in R&D. Through the Managed Services, Kodak assumes responsibility for system administration, 24-hour security and monitoring, upgrades and problem resolution.

Reliability, proactive security, scalability and reduced cost of ownership
In conjunction with Microsoft Azure, PRINERGY VME with Managed Services helps business-critical prepress software run at optimal levels 24/7, 365 days a year. Kodak assumes responsibility of the system in its care, data backups are distributed across several data centers which provide ironclad security, disaster recovery and business continuity.

For customers, this has the advantage that they are no longer required to operate, manage and maintain any local servers directly on premise, lowering the total cost of ownership. Printers can streamline their IT infrastructure and rid themselves of the costs and constraints of system.

After a successful pilot test program in North America, we already have a number of customers live in production using KODAK PRINERGY VME with Managed Services.

The first European Kodak customer to implement and use this revolutionary innovation is Wilco Printing & Binding, Netherlands. William Schuring, Chief Operating Officer said, “Working in the cloud is the future. When it was time to replace our existing server infrastructure, Kodak proposed we switch to PRINERGY VME with Managed Services. We have an excellent, long standing partnership with Kodak and utilizing PRINERGY VME with Managed Services gives us unprecedented data security and a much better ROI compared to an on premises server environment.”

“PRINERGY VME with Managed Services is industry-first innovation that combines state-of-the-art cloud technology with our Managed Services under a subscription model. This product offering marks the future for all prepress and print workflow software platforms,” said Todd Bigger, President, Kodak Software Division and Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. “This one-of-a kind solution guarantees reliability and optimized performance, protecting customers against cyber attacks with maximum flexibility to adapt as the marketplace changes.”
(Eastman Kodak Company)

Close collaboration across the value chain sees Sappi in partnership with ...
 12.11.2019

Close collaboration across the value chain sees Sappi in partnership with ...  (Company news)

... Constantia Flexibles driving forward innovation for sustainable packaging solutions

Picture: Sappi worked in partnership with Nestlé and packaging supplier, Constantia Flexibles to develop solutions suitable for recyclable paper production processes

With the increased global push for environmentally friendly and sustainable paper-based packaging solutions, Sappi has made great strides in developing breakthrough proprietary barrier technology to offer new opportunities to satisfy this need. These unique solutions enabled Sappi to closely collaborate with the world’s largest food and beverage company, Nestlé to support the launch of the YES! snack bar wrapped in recyclable paper. Sappi worked in partnership with Nestlé and packaging supplier, Constantia Flexibles to develop solutions suitable for recyclable paper production processes.

Susanne Oste, Vice President of Innovations and Sustainability at Sappi Europe commented: “Sappi has been working with leading consumer brand owners to develop and supply renewable paper-based packaging solutions understanding and supporting the goals of making their packaging recyclable without compromising on food protection and shelf life. One example of this is the new Sappi Guard range of products providing brand owners with a paper confectionery wrapper to meet market demand for more sustainable products.”

“The acquisition in 2017 of barrier film technology company Rockwell Solutions Limited (Rockwell Solutions) of Dundee, Scotland gave Sappi the opportunity to enhance its product offering by adding recyclable barrier coatings to its products. The recent launch of the YES! bar by Nestlé provides a clear example of the benefits brought through collaboration across the value chain in our joint efforts to increase the use of recyclable packaging made from renewable wood fibre.” says Thomas Kratochwill, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Packaging and Speciality Papers at Sappi Europe. He added: “Sappi’s own strong commitment to developing sustainable paper-based solutions is bolstered by strong partners. It is only with strong leadership that the new products consumers expect will be realised and shared.”

Stefan Grote, Executive Vice President Consumer at Constantia Flexibles commented on the partnership with Sappi: “We at Constantia Flexibles also recognize the importance of actively contributing to the circular economy. With our new innovation we have strongly underlined our competencies in paper-based packaging solutions that ensure high product quality and freshness over the entire shelf life. This is an important step towards more sustainable products that may innovate the confectionery packaging. We are very proud of this successful joint effort in the project with Nestlé and passionate to drive sustainable packaging solutions globally.”
(Sappi Europe S.A.)

Sappi successfully concludes its acquisition of the Matane Mill in Quebec Canada from ...
 11.11.2019

Sappi successfully concludes its acquisition of the Matane Mill in Quebec Canada from ...  (Company news)

...Rayonier Advanced Materials (RYAM)

Sappi Limited, a leading global producer of dissolving wood pulp, specialities and packaging papers, graphic papers and biomaterials, announced that all conditions precedent relating to the acquisition of the Matane high yield hardwood pulp mill (photo) in Quebec, Canada from Rayonier Advanced Materials (RYAM) have been fulfilled and closing has been completed.

The main benefits of the acquisition include:
• Increases Sappi’s pulp integration for its fast-growing packaging businesses in both North America and Europe
• Supports Sappi’s 2020Vision to grow in higher margin growth segments
• Reduces Sappi’s cost of pulp
• Reduces the volatility of earnings through the pulp cycle
• Establishes certainty of supply for Sappi’s increasing need for high yield pulp to support its recent investments
• Will enable supply to be increased over time to Sappi’s mills in North America and Europe as demand increases and capacity expands in certain growth businesses.
• Leverages Sappi’s global pulp expertise to profitably sell market pulp to strategic customers and segments

Commenting on the transaction Steve Binnie, Chief Executive Officer of Sappi Limited, said:
“I am very pleased that we have been able to finalise this acquisition so quickly. This acquisition will provide Sappi with both cost reductions and decreased volatility at a very competitive price per ton of pulp. The transaction strengthens Sappi’s pulp integration, improves our profitability and is another significant milestone towards realizing our Vision2020 goal.”
(Sappi Limited)

WACKER finds a way out of a sticky situation with BucketBox
 11.11.2019

WACKER finds a way out of a sticky situation with BucketBox  (Company news)

Trying to find the right solution for packing a new gumbase premix for chewing gum production can be a sticky situation.

WACKER, a global chemical company, has been working hard to develop a new gumbase premix to make chewing gum and part of the challenge was to find a sustainable packaging solution for it. This goes to the heart of their approach to find responsible packaging solutions.

To make chewing gum, you need containers to be filled with 110° C hot molasses, which turns solid after three days. Typically, non-recyclable plastic buckets and complex 3-piece boxes with thick silicon barriers are used for this type of production.
This was no longer an option due to the final product upon cooling down not separating well from the packaging. The 3-piece corrugated box design was also awkward to handle.

Mondi’s challenge was to find an easy-to-handle corrugated solution that was heat resistant, leak proof, food safe, resource efficient and of course fully recyclable.

Using Mondi’s EcoSolutions approach, a team of experts worked closely with Wacker to determine what the packaging and sustainability requirements were for this product, and how the product would be handled and stored.

Mondi engineers were tasked to create a one-piece corrugated box design with no open flute that helps with handling and storage, in addition to being recyclable in paper waste streams.

The Mondi development teams were able to draw from their experience in the extrusion coatings business where they offer sustainable packaging solutions for other food packaging clients.

"In a market full of so-called alternative solutions, Mondi truly partnered with our customer to identify the most sustainable packaging for their new product. Once we found the release lining, all other benefits of the design were pure value add", Dr. Werner Bauer, Supply Chain Manager, Wacker Chemie AG.

The outcome: BucketBox is a one-piece folding corrugated solution that is 100% leak-proof from top to bottom thanks to its highly functional Paratherm® barrier coating. Beyond its resource conserving design and excellent release properties, the food-safe solution is complemented by a smart closure solution for easy and safe opening.
(Mondi Europe & International Division)

SIG launches U-shaped paper straw for aseptic carton packs
 11.11.2019

SIG launches U-shaped paper straw for aseptic carton packs  (Company news)

Picture: SIG is a pioneer in the industry to offer a U-shaped paper straw to be used on carton packages. Photo: SIG

SIG is a pioneer in the industry to offer a U-shaped paper straw to be used on carton packages. After introducing the world’s first straight paper straw for carton packaging in February 2019, SIG launches a U-shaped paper straw during Gulfood Manufacturing, together with its joint venture partner SIG Combibloc Obeikan. Gulfood Manufacturing is the world’s largest annual food and beverage technology trade exhibition. The new straw uses FSC™ certified paper and is now available globally.

Markus Boehm, Chief Market Officer at SIG: “SIG is determined to collaborate with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to find new approaches to reduce single-use plastics, foster recycling and minimise waste. Being the first in the industry to offer paper straws for aseptic carton packs is an important milestone for us on that journey.”

The new paper straw solution supports SIG’s efforts to use more renewable materials. The paper used to produce the straight paper straw and the new U-shaped paper-straws – available with 4 and 6 mm diameter – originates from FSCTM-certified forests and other controlled sources. The wrapper for the straw has also been redesigned to remain attached to the package preventing littering and can be recycled with the carton pack.

Abdelghany Eladib, Chief Operating Officer, SIG Combibloc Obeikan: “We are excited to launch the U-shaped paper straw during Gulfood Manufacturing. The exhibition offers an ideal platform to share our latest innovations. With plastic pollution being a major concern for businesses and consumers around the world, the food and beverage industry is under pressure to offer a viable and sustainable alternative. Carton packs are sustainable by nature. Our carton packs consist of 70-80% paperboard. With the introduction of the first paper straws for aseptic carton packs consist of 70-80% paperboard. With the introduction of the first paper straws for aseptic carton packs, SIG is once again leading the way in the industry.”
(SIG Combibloc Group AG)

Banco dati aggiornato per l'ultima volta: 15.11.2019 15:40 © 2004-2019, Birkner GmbH & Co. KG