HELSINKI (News release) -- Stora Enso has initiated a sales process for a possible divestment of its consumer board production site in Beihai, China. The divestment would also include the Group's forestry operations in the surrounding region, which supply raw material to the Beihai site. The sales process supports Stora Enso's strategy to focus on long-term profitable growth within the areas of renewable packaging, building solutions and biomaterials innovations.
Stora Enso's strategic ambition is to build on its leading position in the fiber-based packaging market. The divestment of the Beihai operations would allow Stora Enso to accelerate its strategy by focusing on cost-efficient sites serving the growing global packaging market, such as the recently announced investment in Oulu, Finland and the pending acquisition of De Jong Packaging Group. The aim is to find a sustainable alternative for the future of the operations in Beihai and for the people working there.
The divestment of the board mill and forestry operations would be conducted separately or as a combined unit. Stora Enso has not committed to a timeline for the conclusion of the process. The divestment plan has no immediate effect on Stora Enso's financials or on the Beihai site's production. The site continues to serve its customers.
Stora Enso's Beihai production site started operations in 2016. It has a modern mechanical pulp mill and a premium consumer board line serving the Chinese market. The annual production capacity is 250,000 tonnes of mechanical pulp and 550,000 tonnes of consumer board. Stora Enso also operates 70,000 hectares of land in the Guangxi region for eucalyptus plantations, established in 2003, for fiber supply. The combined operations employ approximately 1,000 people including the forest operations. Stora Enso owns approximately 80% of the production site and forest operations, and its local partners and International Finance Corporation (IFC) own the remaining share. Stora Enso will work together with all stakeholders to complete the divestment process.
Stora Enso has retained J.P. Morgan S.E to act as its financial advisor in the sales process.