Metsa, Finland, 30 June 2011 -- M-real Oyj, part of Metsäliitto, has signed an agreement to divest the entire share capital in M-real Hallein GmbH to the Schweighofer Group. M-real Hallein GmbH assets consist of the Hallein pulp mill, bioenergy plant, paper mill closed in 2009, and the surrounding estate. The pulp mills annual capacity is approximately 160,000 metric tons of sulfite pulp and the amount of personnel is approximately 200. The debt-free value of the transaction is approximately EUR 34 million and the positive cash impact for M-real will be approximately EUR 24 million.
The divestment is expected to reduce M-real's annual sales by approximately EUR 75 million and improve the operating result by approximately EUR 5 million, based on the Hallein mill's actual performance in 2010.
"M-real is focusing on cartonboard business and this transaction is a good example of our work to divest the noncore assets," said Mikko Helander, CEO of M-real. "M-real does not use pulp from Hallein in its own board or paper operations and the profitability of the mill as a market pulp supplier has not met our targets. This is a good solution also for the mill as the new owner is in a better position to develop the operation further."
The transaction is subject to the approval of Austrian competition authorities and it is expected to be closed during th ethird quarter of 2011. M-real will continue to sell Hallein pulp volumes to the market during 12-15 months following closing until the new owner has established their own sales organization and systems.
As a result of the transaction, M-real will classify Hallein according to IFRS 5 as asset held for sale and recognizes it to its fair value. The company's Market Pulp and Energy business area's second quarter 2011 operating result is expected to include an approximately EUR 50 million negative nonrecurring item.
The Schweighofer Group is a family owned, Austrian based holding company with companies in different branches and countries. The main focus of the group is forest industry.