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Despite dramatically changed conditions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, production rates at Södra’s facilities remained high and stable in the first quarter. Sales amounted to SEK 5,576 million (6,318). Operating profit for the quarter totalled SEK 227 million (1,148). At the end of the quarter, cash and cash equivalents and current investments amounted to SEK 2,627 million (1,527) and the equity ratio was 60 percent.

Peter Karlsson, Interim President and CEOPeter Karlsson, Interim President and CEO“In the wake of the ongoing global spread of COVID-19, conditions changed dramatically towards the end of the first quarter. Södra has taken a number of steps to protect our employees, customers and suppliers in the first instance, but also any others that we come into contact with in order to save lives and protect health. “It is with great gratitude that I see how we are working together to slow the spread of the virus and to mitigate the negative effects of the ongoing crisis,” said Peter Karlsson, Interim President and CEO.

“The economic slowdown from 2019 was replaced by a general decline in supply and demand due to the outbreak of COVID-19, and the consequences are difficult to predict at present. Nonetheless, the first quarter result was in line with expectations. Net sales amounted to SEK 5,576 million (6,318) and operating profit totalled SEK 227 million (1,148),” said Karlsson. “Demand for Södra’s core products was favourable, although prices for paper pulp and sawn timber remained low during the quarter, albeit slightly higher at the end of the quarter compared with the beginning of the year.

“The necessary adjustment to these changed market conditions has been handled impressively by all employees in our respective operations. Without this commitment, we would not be so well-equipped to meet the future,” said Karlsson. “So, although the global economy is now slowing down, it is important that we maintain a long-term approach. Economic cycles will always cause market conditions to fluctuate, but in the long run, there is an underlying and steadily rising demand for forest-based products,” Karlsson concluded.
During the first quarter, consolidated net sales amounted to SEK 5,576 million (6,318), down 12 percent year-on-year. Operating profit totalled SEK 227 million (1,148) and the decline in profitability was due to lower price levels for paper pulp and sawn timber. The result corresponds to an operating margin of 4 percent (18). Return on capital employed was 4 per cent (22). At the end of the quarter, cash and cash equivalents and current investments amounted to SEK 2,627 million (1,527) and the equity ratio was 60 percent.
Södra Skog’s operating profit for the period totalled SEK 1 million (56). The result was due to weaker margins. During the period, Södra Skog acquired 4.9 million m³sub, comprising 54 percent pulpwood and cellulose chips, 32 percent saw logs and 14 percent biofuels.
Södra Wood’s operating profit for the period totalled SEK 22 million (147) and reflects the considerably lower price formation for sawn timber. Underlying demand for sawn timber also remained favourable. Sales for the quarter amounted to SEK 1,507 million (1,498). The delivery volume from Södra Wood rose to 519 km³ SW, compared with 476 km³ SW in the year-earlier period.
Södra Cell’s operating profit for the period totalled SEK 302 million (1,112). The earnings decline was due to a weaker price level, while higher volumes and a more favourable USD exchange rate had a positive impact. Sales for the quarter amounted to SEK 2,867 million (3,501). The production volume totalled 474 ktonnes, comprising 402 ktonnes of softwood sulphate pulp, 34 ktonnes of hardwood sulphate pulp and 38 ktonnes of dissolving pulp.

The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) has opened applications for its Masters of Engineering (M.Eng.) bursary programme which offers eligible BSc engineering students the opportunity to pursue a career in the forest products industry and contribute to the circular economy. Awarded annually, each bursary is valued at R260,000 for two years of full-time study towards an M.Eng. degree at participating universities.

Applications must be done online by Friday 22 May 2020.

PAMSA, which represents the majority of South African pulp and paper producers, has been running the bursary and research programme for 10 years. Some 65 students have completed the programme with three progressing to PhD while more than 90% of the graduates have found careers as chemical and process engineers with PAMSA’s member companies.

Various biochemicals as well as lignosulphonate can be derived from wood through the pulping process. Lignosulphonate, a brown powdery substance, is used as a dust suppressants on gravel roads in the mining and forestry sector.Various biochemicals as well as lignosulphonate can be derived from wood through the pulping process. Lignosulphonate, a brown powdery substance, is used as a dust suppressants on gravel roads in the mining and forestry sector.

The pulp and paper sector’s research aims to maximise the use of commercially grown timber by using – and re-using – as much of the tree as possible, such as lignin and sugars. There is also a lot of work being done on using process waste and by-products to develop biomaterials and nanocellulose structures for industrial application.

“Wood for commercial and industrial use comes from sustainably managed plantations in South Africa,” says Jane Molony, PAMSA executive director. “The science and chemistry behind wood, pulp and paper products presents our industry and country with some unique opportunities in the circular economy, in mitigating climate change and making sustainable use of an available and renewable resource – farmed trees."

By working with the Universities of North West, Pretoria, Stellenbosch and Witwatersrand, PAMSA is able to open bright young minds to the opportunities within a truly sustainable industry. "Our message for interested students is to 'go beyond' and imagine the possibilities of being involved in our industry."

PAMSA requires that the students have a good academic record with a minimum 60% average in the final year of study. Applicants must also have completed their BSc studies in five years or less.

Two short videos clipped introducing the students to the sector have also been produced.


More details and the online application form are available here.

Mitsubishi HiTec Paper Europe GmbH, with its Bielefeld and Flensburg locations, is the first company in the paper industry to receive the "Safe with a System" seal of approval from the BG RCI: the professional association for raw materials and the chemical industry. At the same time, the company has been certified for occupational health and safety management (“AGM”) in accordance with DIN ISO 45001:2018.

The DIN ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety management "AGM" replaces the BS OHSAS 18001:2007 standard, which was withdrawn in 2018 and was mainly used by companies in the chemicals, paper and sugar sectors. The new standard now also requires the assessment of risks and opportunities and a proactive prevention approach, thus increasing the demands on senior and middle management. When companies are preparing for assessment for the "Safe with a System" seal of approval with the additional module DIN ISO 45001, certain legal requirements have to be met and competence criteria for employees, whose participation play an important role, have to be determined.

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Managing Director Dr. Martin Schreer is convinced that "If you think about the safety and health of your employees from the outset, you will achieve more for your company and your economic success in the long term. This assessment and the certification of our occupational health and safety management are logical steps for us to further advance occupational safety in our company. Our exemplary company integration management, which was awarded the "Action Alliance Schleswig-Holstein", ideally complements the “AGM” system."

The new DIN ISO 45001 certification is another component of the voluntary compliance system at Mitsubishi HiTec Paper. At the same time, the monitoring audits of the integrated management systems DIN EN ISO 9001 (quality management), DIN EN ISO 14001 (environmental management) and DIN EN ISO 50001 (energy management) have been carried out successfully for both locations. Regular certifications by the independent auditors from TÜV Nord underscore the high demands that Mitsubishi HiTec Paper places on itself in order to continue to be a reliable partner for customers.

Thursday, 23 April 2020 20:12

Södra Invests in FITNIR for a Second Time

For a second time, FITNIR Analyzers was selected by Södra, a leading pulp producer based in Sweden, for its online pulp liquor analyzer. “This is an exciting project for FITNIR, as it is our second installation at a Södra mill,” says Thanh Trung, COO & CTO. “Being awarded with a project at Södra Cell Mönsterås in 2016 and now at Södra Cell Värö is an indication of approval of our technology.”

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Södra invests in state-of-the art technologies, making its Värö mill one of the most modern pulp production facilities in the world. FITNIR Online will replace the current liquor analyzer in the causticizing plant at Värö and will provide insightful data for optimizing process control and automation. Södra Cell Värö’s main goal is to reduce the need for burnt lime in the causticizing process. The data from FITNIR’s online analyzer will reduce green liquor TTA variations to make correct lime dosing possible. The impact of reduced lime consumption is far-reaching, including energy and cost savings with the reduction of fuel needed in the lime kiln as well as the ability to produce enough lime for higher overall pulp production. Moreover, the increased measurement frequency with FITNIR Online opens a new world for recovery boiler optimization and subsequently lower energy consumption.

“FITNIR’s NIR technology provides greater opportunities for our Värö mill, while being the most cost-effective solution,” explains Södra Cell Värö Process Engineer Andreas Martinsson. “Very important to us is that FITNIR has proven their equipment works in mill industrial applications. No other supplier has the combination of top scientific experience and practical knowledge. With the excellent experience our sister mill in Mönsterås has had with FITNIR, we have very high expectations for this project.”

Kick-off and installation are expected to begin in the summer of 2020.

Valmet will supply a complete mill-wide Valmet DNA Distributed Control System (DCS) to JK Paper Limited for their upcoming board project at Fort Songadh Mill in India. JK Paper selected Valmet’s automation system based on good references in technology, service support and low ownership costs. The installation is scheduled to start by May 2020.

The order is included in Valmet's orders received of the first quarter 2020. The value of the order is not disclosed.

valmet logo rgb“We are investing in advanced and proven technologies in the mill, with a target to bring high-quality product to Indian market and grow our business further. Valmet is one of our key partners and we are working closely together on the new Coated Board Machine. We are looking forward to continue the cooperation with them on the automation system to bring the mill to a new level,” says S.K. Jain, Head (Packaging Board Project) of JK Paper Limited.

“We are happy to be selected to provide a complete DCS solution to JK Paper. The solution will ensure the customer easier, more efficient and secured operation and maintenance through common operator interface and engineering environment,” says Pravin Tripathi, Head of Sales & Services, Automation, India, Valmet.

Technical details about the delivery

Valmet’s delivery includes the design, engineering, manufacturing, factory acceptance test and installation of Valmet DNA DCS. The mill-wide DCS system will cover the control of paper machine, pulp mill, recovery island and power block sections. All controls are in one platform that allows users easy access the data and collaborate. It will also help in synergizing Valmet Industrial Internet offering for any optimization needs in future.

JK Paper has also placed an additional order for Valmet DNA DCS of Power Block for their Sirpur unit.

Information about the customer JK Paper Limited

JK Paper was established in 1962 with an integrated pulp and paper plant. JK Paper has three large integrated paper manufacturing units, JK Paper Mills, Rayagada, Odisha, Central Pulp Mills, Songadh, Gujarat and Sirpur paper mills, Telangana with a combined annual capacity of 625,000 TPA. It is the market leader in Branded Copier paper segment and leading players in Coated Paper and high-end Packaging Boards in India. It offers a wide premium quality paper and board product range. Subsequent to commissioning of the new Board Machine, the overall production shall increase to 800,000 TPA.

Verso Corporation has just announced that Matthew M. Archambeau has been appointed Verso's Senior Vice President, Manufacturing and Energy, effective immediately.

logo"I am very pleased to have Matt join our senior leadership team with responsibility for leading our safety, manufacturing and energy strategic initiatives," said President and Chief Executive Officer Adam St. John. "Matt will easily transition into this new position because of his 26 years of extensive experience at Verso in various manufacturing leadership and technical roles, including his current responsibility for our Centers of Excellence."

Mr. Archambeau's previous leadership experience at Verso includes Vice President of the Centers of Excellence/Technology; Mill Manager at Verso's Escanaba, Michigan, mill and former Bucksport, Maine, and Sartell, Minnesota, mills; Director of Manufacturing Support, Memphis, Tennessee; and numerous manufacturing roles at Verso's former Bucksport, Maine mill. 

Mr. Archambeau holds a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota – Duluth.

Focused on Ensuring Continuous Operations to Serve Significant Increase in Demand

ClearwaterPaper logo01Clearwater Paper Corporation (NYSE: CLW), a premier supplier of quality consumer tissue, away-from-home tissue, parent roll tissue and bleached paperboard, has just shared an update on the company’s recent operations during the COVID-19 situation.

The health and safety of employees is a top priority, and Clearwater Paper is closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. The company is implementing a comprehensive risk mitigation plan across all facilities that includes enhanced sanitation procedures, sick leave, remote work options, travel restrictions, and visitor and meeting policies. In addition, Clearwater Paper is actively engaging with federal, state, and local government officials due to the essential and critical nature of its workforce and operations.

Clearwater Paper is also experiencing a significant increase in demand for its retail tissue products and an increase in demand for paperboard used for packaging food and pharmaceutical products. The company is focused on ensuring continuous operations to serve its customers’ demand for these essential goods. Clearwater Paper’s facilities are currently producing as usual.

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Willamette Falls Paper Company is pleased to announce that it has added Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) chain of custody certification (SFI-01924) to its full line of paper products. 

Growing numbers of consumers want assurance that their buying decisions represent a sound environmental choice. They are asking for proof that wood, paper and packaging products are made with raw materials from certified forest content, certified sourcing or recycled content. SFI’s Chain-of-Custody Standard and associated labels deliver a reliable and credible mechanism so businesses can provide this assurance to customers.

By becoming SFI certified, Willamette Falls Paper Company is one step closer to achieving its sustainability goals.

“Willamette Falls Paper is committed to offering a full range of sustainable paper products,” states Brian Konen, CEO of Willamette Falls Paper Company. “Providing customers with certification options allows them to choose which system works best for their projects.”

The SFI 2015-2019 Chain-of-Custody Standard is an accounting system that tracks forest fiber content (certified forest content, certified sourcing and recycled content) through production and manufacturing to the end product. Companies can use chain-of-custody certification to track and communicate forest fiber content using one of three optional approaches for chain-of-custody: physical separation, average percentage and the volume credit method. To be certified, companies must be audited by an independent third party to the SFI 2015-2019 Chain-of-Custody Standard.

“By choosing to certify to the SFI Chain-of-Custody Standard, Willamette Falls Paper Company is telling forest managers it values their commitment to sustainable forest management, and it is telling its customers they can be part of the solution,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

Voith has developed a new generation of sensors with regards to availability, reliability and maintenance handling. As the main components of the Quality Measurement System, the sensors measure the most important quality parameters of the paper being produced, such as basis weight, moisture, caliper and ash. The Quality Control System reduces as much as possible the variability in machine direction (MD) and cross direction (CD). This allows paper manufacturers to move quality targets in the most profitable operational zones – for example to maximize the moisture content of the paper.

  • Higher product quality due to modular and fully independent sensors with optimized housings and integrated temperature stabilization
  • Increased reliability and availability of the MD-Controls
  • Delivering more power within smaller and lighter sensors that require less machine space
  • Minimized maintenance effort through new plug & play standards

Higher product quality due to modular and fully independent sensors with optimized housings and integrated temperature stabilization
The sensors and components are designed to operate in challenging environments under harsh conditions of the paper mill. Special, high-temperature housing options are no longer needed. The new temperature-stabilized housings are designed for ambient temperatures up to 100° C / 212° F.

The new sensor generation features a compact, lightweight design and increases the reliability and availability of the machine direction controls.The new sensor generation features a compact, lightweight design and increases the reliability and availability of the machine direction controls.

Increased reliability and availability of the machine direction controls
A distinctive feature of Voith’s control concept are the machine direction controls based on physical models of the paper machine. Voith’s supervisory controls replicate the physical behavior of the process. The controls manage even high-frequent process disturbances. They also effectively reduce the time for grade changes and therefore minimize production losses.

Delivering more power within smaller and lighter sensors
The new sensor slots have been optimized in their width from 13 cm to 7.5 cm, which leads to smaller and lighter sensor packages, allowing more sensors to be installed in the available machine space.

Minimized maintenance effort with new plug & play principle
The heart of the new sensors is a processor board that provides precise and fast signal and data processing. Sensor features are easy expandable via firmware upgrades. Configurations and calibration parameters are stored inside the sensor and can be changed remotely. Furthermore, the new plug & play functionality reduces complexity in maintenance.

Voith has developed a new generation of sensors that measure the most important quality parameters of the paper being produced, such as basis weight, moisture, caliper and ash.Voith has developed a new generation of senonquality soluntionssors that measure the most important quality parameters of the paper being produced, such as basis weight, moisture, caliper and ash.

Anchored in the Servolution approach, Voith takes care of the whole maintenance spectrum. Based on deep domain knowledge, the focus is not only on system maintenance. Voith service experts also check the measurement and control performances, monitor overall equipment condition and provide suggestions to optimize the process. Additionally, Voith is able to preserve the customer’s investments by interfacing most types of existing third-party scanners and actuators.

For more information about the new sensor generation, please visit:

About the Voith Group
The Voith Group is a global technology company. With its broad portfolio of systems, products, services and digital applications, Voith sets standards in the markets of energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, the company today has more than 19,000 employees, sales of € 4.3 billion and locations in over 60 countries worldwide and is thus one of the larger family-owned companies in Europe.

The Group Division Voith Paper is part of the Voith Group. As the full-line supplier to the paper industry, it provides the largest range of technologies, services, components and products on the market, and offers paper manufacturers solutions from a single source. The company’s continuous stream of innovations takes papermaking to the next level and facilitates resource-conserving production. With its Servolution concept, Voith offers its customers tailored service solutions for all sections of the production process. Voith Papermaking 4.0 ensures that equipment is optimally connected, while the secure use of generated data enables paper manufacturers to improve plant availability and efficiency.

A.Celli Group is pleased to announce that Massimo Ardito has been appointed as the new General Manager of the American branch A.Celli International with effect from March 9, 2020.

As General Manager, Massimo Ardito will be in charge of the management of A.Celli International and the development of new sales and customer care strategies, seizing the current market needs to generate further growth and business opportunities.

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Before joining the A.Celli group, Massimo Ardito has accumulated many years of experience in the flexible packaging sector, with the opportunity to play different roles in multicultural environments in which he had the chance to develop customer relationships, enrich his technical and commercial know-how and at the same time apply business strategies that led him to reach ambitious goals.

We welcome Massimo aboard and wish him to achieve great goals together with the A.Celli Group Team.