Helsinki, Finland, 05 February 2009 - UPM has signed leasing agreements with 22 companies that intend to locate in a new business park established on the premises of the closed Kajaani paper mill. Of these agreements, 13 are letters of intent and 9 final agreements. If all agreements will be completed, the business park, named Renforsin Ranta (Shore of Renfors) after local diversified manufacturer Herman August Renfors (1849–1928), will provide jobs for some 360–440 persons. Negotiations with other companies interested in the business park will continue.
Hans Sohlström, UPM's executive vice president, Corporate Relations and Development, is pleased with the positive progress of the business park. "Our entrepreneurial thinking and the excellent voluntary work by the people of Kajaani region, have been the keys for the success. Companies have been interested in the existing infrastructure and skilled workforce of the paper mill. Despite of the difficult global markets, the companies believe in the future."
The new business park will provide jobs to some of the UPM employees who had worked at the Kajaani mill. UPM's "From Job to Job" program has been offering financial support for retraining, creation of new businesses, and relocation of the employees affected by the paper mill closure.
At the beginning of February, about 200 out of the 535 employees who were threatened by unemployment, were without a job or a study place at the Kajaani paper mill. To date, approximately 110 persons have found employment outside UPM, and about 70 of them have been hired by the companies of Renforsin Ranta. Approximately 25 employees have found new positions within UPM, 20 have set up their own business, and 20 have started studying. Some 150 persons will retire.
Several training and company presentations and support for people coping with the change at the Kajaani paper mill have been organized In connection with UPM's "From Job to Job" program.
More than 600 visitors attended the recruitment and training event that was held for all job appliers at the Kajaani paper mill on 14 January. The exhibition was organized by UPM, the city of Kajaani, labor and trades division, Edukai and Kajaani University of Applied Sciences. Because of the positive reception the exhibition is being planned to be held again next autumn.
UPM also will start cooperation with the sofa manufacturer Suomi-Soffa. The mill of Suomi-Soffa, which is based in Kajaani, will expand and the personnel will grow with around 50 people during this year. The growth is estimated to continue with about 30 new recruitments in 2010. Currently the mill employs around 200 people in the Kajaani region.
"There are many phases in the sofa manufacturing where it is useful to have process capabilities. We will train all our new employees. The recruitment cooperation with UPM offers a good opportunity for people working in processes to train themselves and get employed in Kajaani," said Riitta Turpeinen of Suomi-Soffa's Kajaani mill.