Södra's Board of Directors announced this week that it has made the decision to invest SEK 4 billion (around USD $610 million) to implement a major expansion of the pulp mill in Värö. Work is now starting to increase the current production capacity of 425,000 tpy to 700,000 tpy of pulp. This will make the mill one of the biggest in the world in terms of softwood sulphate pulp production, the company said.
"This expansion is a vital part of our strategy, and a must if we are to be able to develop our business. The paper pulp market is growing globally, and now it will be possible for us to continue to grow together with our customers," said Lars Idermark, CEO and Group President at Södra.
"The expansion at Södra Cell Värö is a measure which will reinforce our market position. We already supply high-quality pulp to a number of different customer segments, and we can now develop and underpin this. Our aim is to become the first choice for customers," he continued. "This decision means that we will be increasing the current pulp production capacity of 425,000 tpy to 700,000 tpy. As well as increasing pulp production, this investment means that the plant can be made even more energy efficient. Södra Cell Värö is already independent of fossil fuels during normal operation. Our supplies of green energy can be increased still further thanks to this investment."
If the environmental permit process goes according to plan, the expanded mill will be ready for commissioning in the third quarter of 2016. The project will create the equivalent of 400 full-time jobs over a period of 10 years. In the long term, the investment will also create 20 or so new job opportunities at the mill and 220 job opportunities within surrounding businesses.
"This is a major investment, and it will be of enormous significance to our members - both industrial and forest owners. This expansion will give us more efficient pulp production while also securing a long-term and profitable market for our members' raw timber products," said Christer Segerstéen, Södra's Chairman.
"With this decision, we are demonstrating our belief in the forests and the opportunities we perceive for our products. We have a renewable and growing raw material in the forests of our members, and a modern and efficient industry," Segerstéen added.