Finland's prosperity rests on the pulp, paper and paperboard industry
The manufacture and export of pulp, paper and paperboard is still of crucial importance to Finland. Three products made by the pulp, paper and paperboard industry counted among the top ten Finnish export articles. The exporting of pulp, paper and paperboard brought in €8.5 billion in total last year.
Finnish paper and paperboard production falls 4% from 2010
Some 11.3 million tonnes of paper and paperboard were produced in Finland in 2011. This is down about 4% from 2010. 2011 was uneven for the paper and paperboard industry: the early part of the year went quite well, but, after the summer, the weaker world economy led to a powerful worsening in the paper industry's outlook.
Production of paper grades containing mechanical pulp (incl. newsprint) came to 4.7 million tonnes in 2011, about the same as in 2010. Production of fine paper totalled 2.6 million tonnes in 2011, down about 6% from 2010. Paperboard production came to 2.7 million tonnes in 2011, representing a decrease of around 4% from 2010.
Finnish pulp production totalled 6.7 million tonnes in 2011; this figure is almost unchanged from 2010. The price of long-fibre pulp exceeded US$1,000 per tonne during the early part of the year, but the price fell to about US$830 per tonne by the close of the year. Finnish pulp exports in 2011 were up an impressive 16% from the previous year.
Paper and paperboard industry undergoing a structural change
The structural realignment of the paper and paperboard industry in Finland continued in 2011. This also affected ownership relations within the paper industry, where factories or individual paper machines changed hands. The UPM mill in Myllykoski was shut down towards the end of 2011.
In January 2012, the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK published an investment survey, which examined developments in 2011. It indicates that the forest industry's investments in Finland started to grow in 2011, increasing to about €540 million. The level of investments is expected to remain almost unchanged in 2012.
Central factors to be considered when making investment decisions are the development of demand for the products of the pulp, paper and paperboard industry as well as the existence of a competitive investment environment. The greatest challenge to the competitiveness of Finland's paper industry is the Sulphur Directive, which is being prepared by the EU and deals with maritime transports. It threatens to burden the industry with additional costs amounting to €200 million annually. The national-level decision to amend industrial energy taxation has had a positive effect on the operating prerequisites of the Finnish paper industry.