Stora Enso Says No Ongoing Talks About Newsprint Merger

Sept. 2, 2010 - Stora Enso said that it refutes a story published today in the Finnish daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat about a possible newsprint joint venture between Stora Enso, Holmen and Norske Skog.

"There are no discussions ongoing concerning the matter mentioned in Helsingin Sanomat," Stora Enso said in a written press statement.

The story in Helsingin Sanomat said that "three major Nordic paper manufacturers are planning to implement arrangements aimed at cutting excess capacity in the production of newsprint."

The newspaper said that it has learned that the Finnish and Swedish-owned Stora Enso, Sweden’s Holmen, and Norway’s Norske Skog are planning the partial or complete merger of their newsprint business units.

"No single company would have a majority holding in the new enterprise, as none of the manufacturers want to bear the full burden of the relatively unprofitable newsprint manufacturing business," according to the article. "The first task of the new company would be to shut down the most unprofitable installations," the article said.

Helsingin Sanomat speculated that no new capital would be needed to set up the venture, and if the companies were to merge their newprint operations, the venture would be met by opposition from printers who would fear price increases.

Norske Skog issued a statement saying that on several occasions it has stated the need for restructuring of the industry, and the company is willing to contribute to such an initiative. However, "Norske Skog does not wish to comment speculations and rumors about strategic processes."

Holmen has not issued a statement about the article.

The full Helsingin Sanomat article is available on: www.hs.fi/english/.

SOURCE: Stora Enso, Norske Skog, and Helsingin Sanomat

PaperAge. Copyright © O'Brien Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.