Metsa, Finland, 23 December 2011 -- M-real Corporation, part of Metsäliitto Group, has concluded the statutory negotiations at the Äänekoski mill. To improve the profitability of its coated paper business, on 09 November 2011, M-real started statutory negotiations concerning the potential closure of the Äänekoski paper machine and conversion of the mill’s sheeting capacity entirely to folding boxboard sheeting. M-real released a stock exchange bulletin concerning these plans on 02 November 2011.
Following the conclusion of the statutory negotiations, M-real has decided that the Äänekoski paper machine, with an annual capacity of approximately 200,000 metric tons of coated fine paper, will be closed by the end of 2011. The mill’s sheeting capacity will be converted fully to folding boxboard. Planning work related to the sheeting capacity conversion is on-going.
The related personnel reduction at the Äänekoski mill will total a maximum of 169 people. In close cooperation with local authorities, M-real will assist redundant employees to find new employment. In addition, M-real will facilitate redeployment, if possible, by offering employment opportunities internally within the company or other Metsäliitto Group's business areas.
M-real continues to produce coated papers at the Husum mill in Sweden. Äänekoski paper machine’s reel production will be transferred to Husum. The annual coated paper capacity at Husum will be increased from 285,000 metric tons to 340,000 metric tons during 2012.
Also in the future, M-real’s coated papers will be sold by Sappi Fine Paper Europe. Based on these measures, M-real’s annual coated paper capacity will be reduced by approximately 145,000 metric tons. M-real’s annual sales will be reduced by approximately EUR 60 million and operating results will increase by approximately EUR 20 million, based on the results of the coated paper production in the first three quarters of 2011. The full annual financial impact of the measures is expected to materialize from 2012 onwards.
Consumer Packaging’s fourth quarter 2011 operating result includes approximately EUR 25 million nonrecurring impairments and cost provisions related to the measures in Äänekoski. Total net cash impact of the measures is expected to be slightly positive when the reduction of working capital is taken into account.