Metsä Wood launches an investment programme in its Kerto® LVL and plywood operations as part of its industrial efficiency strategy. Thanks to the programme, planned to be implemented in steps by the end of 2018, the company is able to better meet the globally growing demand for its products and improve its competitiveness. The programme includes a total of Euro 100 million investments in Finland and Estonia, as the company says in the press release received by Lesprom Network.
A new birch veneer peeling and drying line is planned to be built in Äänekoski to the Metsä Group’s Pulp and Paperboard Industries’ mill site. This veneer production is planned to be processed in a new plywood mill to be constructed in Estonia. Suolahti mill’s current birch veneer line is planned to be transferred to Estonia. The total annual birch plywood production volume would increase by approximately 30,000 cubic meters.
Production of a new softwood based speciality product with an annual volume of approximately 60,000 cubic meters is planned to be established at the Suolahti mill. The final investment decision will be made at a later stage.
The annual production capacity of the Kerto® LVL mill in Lohja is planned to be increased by 20,000 cubic meters by replacing two oldest production lines with one new line. The increased capacity combined with the higher product quality enables strengthening of Metsä Wood’s position especially in markets outside Europe.
“These are major steps for Metsä Wood to grow and further improve cost competitiveness. Demand for birch plywood is increasing especially in the light transport industry. In Kerto® LVL business more capacity is needed to continue growth in North America, in particular. Thanks to the investment programme a notable result improvement will be achieved, fully from 2019 onwards,” says Esa Kaikkonen, Executive Vice President, Metsä Wood.
Approximately half of the Euro 100 million investments will be allocated to Finland. Annual saw log consumption is expected to increase by almost 300,000 cubic meters.
The investment programme is not expected to impact the total amount of Metsä Wood’s mill personnel in Finland. Potential mill-specific personnel implications will follow the statutory labour negotiation process. Considering the changes in wood harvesting and logistics, the increase in employment in Finland is expected to be approximately 100 person-years in total. About 200 new jobs are expected to be created in Estonia.