Coming on stream after a 16 weeks' strike, UPM's Finnish paper mills might bring a new twist to the supply-demand ratio on European printing and writing paper markets.
After the strike at UPM's mills in Finland ended Friday last week UPM is expecting the first paper machines to be up and running in the course of this week. Sources close to the company said that the Jämsänkoski paper mill (630,000 tpy of SC paper and label/packaging paper) might be producing saleable paper from Wednesday or Thursday. The Rauma paper mill, which has a capacity of 665,000 tpy of LWC magazine paper, is expected to start operating in the course of this week. UPM's mill in Kymi (700,000 tpy of woodfree coated and uncoated paper) is scheduled to come on stream next weekend, while the start-up of the Kaukas paper mill could be delayed slightly because of maintenance works being carried out at the pulp mill.
The strike, which started on 1 January this year and lasted 16 weeks, removed a substantial part of Europe's output of printing and writing paper from the market. In the past weeks and months, paper users throughout Europe were urgently requesting higher and more secure paper deliveries.
In the press conference on UPM's first quarter results the company's CFO Tapio Korpeinen said that UPM's mills in Finland are "ramping up into a tight market where margins are good." In the first quarter this year, the UPM group posts a comparable Ebit of €277m (2021: €279m) on sales of €2.51bn (€2.23bn). Its Communications Paper segment reports an operating profit of €86m compared to an operating loss of €102m in Q1 2021, comparable Ebit amounts to €86m (-€56m).