Necessity is the mother of invention: Lidl and Kaufland are currently demonstrating how to secure resources. The Finnish paper manufacturer Stora Enso has announced that the Schwarz Group, to which the discounters mentioned above belong, will become the new owner of the Maxau paper mill. The takeover, which is to be completed in the first quarter of 2023, can be seen as one thing above all: As a commitment of the Schwarz Group to printed matter.
For Stora Enso, the sale of the Maxau production site is part of a new strategy: In March of this year, the Group announced that it would sell four of its five production sites for graphic papers and in the future concentrate primarily on the production of packaging materials. The sale of the Maxau site is now one of the first steps in this plan – along with the takeover of the Dutch De Jong Packaging Group, which was also announced recently.
Schwarz production is expected to take over the German paper mill in early 2023, according to a Stora Enso statement. It said it plans to continue paper production and take over the 440 employees in Maxau. Until the transaction is completed, the Finnish company will ensure operations on site, and customers will continue to be served with super-calendered paper (SC paper), it added.
The sale of the Maxau paper mill to Schwarz Group will result in the loss of 530,000 tons from Stora Enso’s annual SC paper production volume. It is also expected, based on 2021 figures, that the divestment will reduce the group’s own annual sales by about 25 million euros. At the same time, the paper manufacturer expects the completion of the divestment in the first quarter of 2023 to generate an additional plus in operating profit of about 50 million euros.
Commitment to Print
For the Schwarz Group, the purchase of a paper mill is – at least from the outside – an unusual step. But perhaps it is also exactly the right reaction to the tense situation and shortage in the paper market. True to the motto: “If there is a shortage of paper everywhere, take production into your own hands”. And that’s exactly what the Group will be doing starting next year.
What exactly the Schwarz Group’s strategy for the site will be – whether it will continue to produce SC papers or whether there will be a change in strategy – is not yet known. Nevertheless, the purchase of the Maxau paper mill can already be understood as one thing above all: Namely, as a commitment to the printed product. It is therefore doubtful that Lidl and Kaufland will discontinue their advertising brochures in the same way as Rewe and Obi recently did.