UPM to discontinue newsprint at Steyrermühl & sell site to Heinzel

320,000 tons of newsprint capacity at Steyrermühl to go at end 2023

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UPM has signed an agreement to sell 100% of the shares of its Austrian subsidiary UPM Kymmene-Austria to the Heinzel Group.
UPM has signed an agreement to sell 100% of the shares of its Austrian subsidiary UPM Kymmene-Austria to the Heinzel Group.

UPM has signed an agreement to sell 100% of the shares of its Austrian subsidiary UPM Kymmene-Austria to the Heinzel Group, a leading pulp, packaging and paper producer and trader in Central and Eastern Europe.

The transaction comprises the UPM Steyrermühl site with approximate 400 employees, including the newsprint paper machine with an annual capacity of 320,000 tonnes and the Steyrermühl sawmill operations with an annual timber capacity of 370,000 cubic meters. The parties have agreed not to disclose the value of the deal.

UPM’s agreement with Heinzel Group to benefit them in fulfilling market needs

The closing of the transaction and end of newsprint production at Steyrermühl is planned for the end of 2023. Heinzel is planning to take over responsibility for the mill after closing. Until then, all operations continue as is.

UPM and Heinzel Group will now engage in deeper discussions on specific technical and organizational aspects of the site to plan the future of the mill. Heinzel plans to operate the Steyrermühl site outside of graphic papers as an integration together with its Laakirchen mill, which is located in the same community. Heinzel is considering the production of packaging materials to complement its existing product portfolio. The concrete plans for the repurposing of the new integration will be communicated by Heinzel as soon as these have been concluded.   

“The agreement benefits both UPM and Heinzel and supports the development of their businesses in line with market needs. This agreement enables UPM to adapt its newsprint paper production to the long-term market development while leveraging the high value of the Steyrermühl site. This will strengthen our market position while improving our financial performance,” says Massimo Reynaudo, executive vice president of UPM Communication Papers.

“We are very pleased with the agreement. Heinzel is a solid and successful player in the industry and will provide a long-term future for the Steyrermühl site. We will continue to collaborate closely with Heinzel to ensure a smooth transition and enable the strategic development of the site as part of an integration operated by Heinzel,” Reynaudo continues.

UPM will remain committed to the newsprint business as one of the industry’s leading producers, continuing newsprint production at its Schongau, Ettringen, Hürth and Jämsänkoski mills. It will also remain committed to the Austrian newsprint market, serving customers from its remaining newsprint mills.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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