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Finnish Forest/Paper Industry Sees Better Volumes in 2nd Half '09

Feb. 12, 2010 - The global economic downturn cut demand for Finland's forest and paper products industry in 2009. However, production volumes increased in the latter half of the year after bottoming out in the spring.

According to the Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF), the estimated value of the industry's production was about EUR 15 billion in 2009, of which some EUR 4 billion was generated by the wood products industry and EUR 11 billion by the pulp and paper industry.

The value of the industry's production in the final quarter of 2009 was around EUR 4 billion, FFIF said.

FFIF said that structural change has strengthened companies as markets slowly recover.

“The forest industry of Finland has modernized its structures and increased the efficiency of its operations powerfully, providing the industry with good opportunities for success as the recession abates,” said Timo Jaatinen, Director General of the FFIF. “Work to enhance cost-competitiveness and improve possibilities for future success continues.

"Domestic political decisions shape the operating environment of the export industries to an extensive degree. The forest industry's electricity needs are growing, which is why decisions regarding energy policy affect the future of both the industry and our entire nation,” Jaatinen said.

“It is also important that labor market parties conclude agreements that help improve productivity. As markets recover, the steady availability of domestic timber at a competitive price will become an increasingly important issue,” Jaatinen added.

FFIF pointed out that in relative terms, the forest industry uses a larger amount of domestic factors of production than any other industry branch, which means that the costs of other sectors have a substantial effect on the forest industry's competitiveness.

In a written statement, FFIF said there is “an acute concern for the industry are the unlawful industrial actions of the Transport Workers Union, which are hampering export deliveries, causing extra transport costs for companies and could very well lead to production activities shifting from Finland to other countries that can deliver goods more reliably.”

FINLAND'S FOREST/PAPER INDUSTRY

FFIF said there are 50 pulp, paper and paperboard mills, some 170 industrial-scale sawmills and 15 panel products factories in operation in Finland. Throughout the forest cluster, wood processing provides employment for some 200,000 Finns and its economic footprint affects around 500,000 Finns in total.

Finland has an abundance of wood raw material that can be exploited sustainably, one of the most modern forest industry production machineries in existence, a well managed environmental policy and state-of-the-art competence and expertise as well as a strong forest cluster and a functional innovation environment, FFIF said.

The forest industry of Finland manufactures paper products for almost 100 million Europeans and wood products for 50 million consumers worldwide. Finland's ample timber resources, sustainable forestry practices and world-class expertise in the forest industry provide our country with a unique opportunity to lead the way into the bioeconomy of the future, FFIF concluded.

SOURCE: Finnish Forest Industries Federation




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