The supervisory boards of Laakirchen Papier AG and Heinzel Holding GmbH have decided to make extensive investments in the sustainable development of the Austrian paper mill Laakirchen for an environmentally friendly future. As part of an investment program of well over 100 million euros, paper machine 11 (PM11), which today produces supercalendered paper for magazines, catalogs, and advertising, will be converted into a highperformance machine for lightweight containerboard made from recycled paper. "Recycled packaging papers are the product of the future for the circular bioeconomy," says Kurt Maier, CEO of HEINZEL GROUP. "With a total of more than a million tons of production on two paper machines, Laakirchen will become one of the largest production facilities for these products in all of Europe."
Preparations for the conversion and for obtaining the necessary permits have already started. Containerboard products from the PM11 will be available on the market for the first time in mid 2023. “This also means that we will withdraw entirely from the publication paper market in 2023,” says Franz Baldauf, CFO of Laakirchen Papier AG. “Until then, we want to reliably supply those customers who purchase SC paper from us today. This is important, given the current paper shortage on the market,” says Baldauf.
With a width of 8.90 meters, the PM11 will produce lightweight recycled containerboard with a basis weight from 70 grams per square meter upwards. These so-called testliner and fluting products from Laakirchen will be marketed under the product name “starboard” and are particularly suitable for ecommerce packaging, but are also used for industrial packaging and packaging for agricultural products or consumer products. At full capacity the PM11 will produce more than 550,000 metric tons of paper per year. The production switch requires extensive investments at the company site in Laakirchen. For example, an additional anaerobic wastewater treatment system will be built to produce biogas, which will reduce the use of fossil fuels in the mill.
"With this investment, HEINZEL GROUP is further expanding its position as a leading producer of recycled packaging paper," says Sebastian Heinzel, shareholder of HEINZEL GROUP. “This market is expanding strongly, not least because of the increases in ecommerce and the growing displacement of plastic packaging. The Laakirchen paper mill has unbeatable advantages: its location in the heart of Europe and its efficient and modern machines.” The recycled fiber supply for Laakirchen will be ensured by Bunzl & Biach, the recovered paper trading company of HEINZEL GROUP. The papers from Laakirchen will be sold together with the Raubling Papier GmbH products via the group’s own heinzelsales network.
Laakirchen Papier AG, located in Laakirchen (Upper Austria) specializes in the production and development of eco-friendly publication papers and lightweight containerboard on basis of recycled paper for the European market. In 2020, Laakirchen Papier AG achieved sales revenues of about EUR 230 million and employed more than 400 employees.