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HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish forestry firm Stora Enso is considers investing around 400 million euros ($428 million) to convert one of its two existing paper lines to a containerboard line in Belgium, the group said on Tuesday.
"Aligned with Stora Enso's strategic focus on renewable materials, the investment would support the growth opportunity created by the increasing demand for recycled packaging board," the company said in a statement.
Stora Enso's site in Langerbrugge, Belgium, currently has two paper lines in production, one for newsprint and one for magazine paper and the feasibility study will focus on the conversion of the newsprint paper line, it said.
The European federation for print and digital communication, Intergraf, warned in February that a general reduction of graphic paper production capacity had driven newsprint paper prices up significantly since mid-2021, leaving media organisations struggling with rising costs.
The company expects to complete the study in the first half of 2023, with the converted line potentially being in production during 2025, with an annual production capacity of 700,000 tonnes and sales of around 350 million euros ($373.98 million).
"A conversion in Langerbrugge would establish a competitiveposition for us in Western Europe as well," said Hannu Kasurinen, head of Stora Enso's packaging materials division, referring to the company's existing presence in the Eastern European market via its containerboard production in Poland.
($1 = 0.9359 euros)
(Reporting by Anne Kauranen, Editing by Louise Heavens)