US state of Michigan will grant Billerud investment support of up to $200m for the planned conversion of Escanaba paper mill from fine paper to cartonboard production.
Following the acquistion of US pulp and fine paper manufacturer Verso Corporation in April 2022, Sweden's Billerud announced it is evaluating a significant investment to transform the Escanaba fine paper mill into a primary fibre board mill and the company applied for investment support from the US-State of Michigan.
According to Billerud, the Michigan state government has recently approved an apropriation of up to $200m in funding to support Billerud’s investment plans. "The maximum support of $200m assumes investments of approximately $1bn. The final amount of the funding will be relative to the company’s actual investment and is subject to execution of the necessary agreements between the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) and Billerud U.S. Production Holdings LLC," the company anounced.
The Escanaba mill houses three paper machines with an annual capacity of 730,000 sh.t (660,000 metr.t) paper. The mill produces graphic papers for commercial printing, media and marketing application, and specialty papers used in label and converting applications. Billerud plans to convert two fine paper machines to cartonboard production with one machine estimated to be converted by 2025 and the second machine by 2029. The conversion would result in a total capacity of around 1.1 million t of folding boxboard (FBB) and coated unbleached kraft (CUK).
"A pre-feasibility study about Billerud’s planned conversion of the Escanaba mill to paperboard production is ongoing and planned to be completed during the first half of 2023, after which the company’s Board of Directors can make an investment decision," Billerud said on the occasion of Michigan governour signing the investment grant last Tuesday.