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Stora Enso has said the paper manufacturing market needs consolidation and that it is willing to listen to suggestions of how to achieve it, as long as the proposition is in the interests of its shareholders.

However, the company said that consolidation was only one option, with another option being the restructuring of its assets.

Juha Vanhainen, Stora Enso’s executive vice-president publication paper and country manager Finland, said: “We are open and welcome  for all  kind of  industry consolidation  suggestions.

“However, we do not necessarily believe that the mega- mergers or big consolidations would produce synergies that we  could  not achieve  by ourselves. Consoli­dation is not the only option.”

Mergers and acquisitions in the paper industry have been infrequent in the past few years, despite the market be­­ing hit with energy and raw material price hikes, as well as overcapacity. Reports from the Reuters Paper and Packaging Summit held in Helsinki claimed that manufacturers UPM, M-real and Norske Skog would also “support the transformation” of the sector.
In the past two years, Stora Enso has made substantial changes to its company and in August it announce plans to close another raft of mills that could affect the jobs of some 450- 1,100 staff. The group has already cut costs by $406m year-on-year and has stated that it will continue to focus on future projects in Uruguay, Brazil and China.

In July, it posted a second-quarter operating profit of $72m – down from $138m at the same time last year.