Visy ready to begin $450 million Tumut mill expansion project

April 11, 2007 - Visy last week said that it is set to move ahead on a $450 million expansion project at its Tumut Pulp and Paper Mill in New South Wales, Australia.

Visy's chief executive, Harry Debney, said work on the expansion, which will more than double the mill's current output of kraft packaging paper to almost 700,000 tonnes a year, will begin as soon as the company receives formal planning approval and details of a regional roads assistance package from the NSW Government.

A regional forest industry group, The Murray Riverina Softwoods Working Group, is pushing for increased funding to upgrade roads around Tumut saying traffic on regional arterial roads has increased fourfold in last 10 years as the industry has developed.

Construction is expected to take 18 months with the new paper machine expected to be operating by 2009, Debney said.

According to the company, most of the mill's increased production will be bound for export, supplying paper customers in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. The balance will supply Visy's Australasian corrugated box factories.

"We are continuing to increase capacity in our Australian corrugated box business to cater for market share growth," Debney said.

"This year our share of the Australian box market has passed through the 60% level and that continues to expand. We have recently opened a new $60 million box factory at Yatala in Queensland and have undertaken a $25 million extension of our four year old Wodonga box factory in order to supply this increased demand from our customers," he added.

Debney said Visy will also undertake a 12 month feasibility into a possible $300 million plus expansion at its Smithfield packaging and recycling facility in Sydney.

The study would examine the case for a new paper recycling machine to further improve Visy Paper's quality and cost competitiveness as well as adding to the company's existing recycled paper making capacity. A decision on whether to proceed with the project will be made next year and the feasibility study will include a comprehensive analysis of waste paper availability in New South Wales, the company said.


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