Finland’s pulp boom gathers steam, offering new opportunities

Long fibre pulp production is currently booming in Finland as a result of new investments and strong demand especially from the Asian packaging industry, creating interesting opportunities for international companies and investors. Pulp exports from Finland are expected to grow by 4-5% in 2017 and by an impressive 15–17% in 2018, according to Pellervo Economic Research, an independent applied economics research institute.

“In addition to major investment by established Finnish forest industry companies, there are currently three major bioproduct plant projects planned in Finland by new actors. Each project has attracted interest from international investors. This demonstrates the high level of interest in Finnish pulp as well as the capacity of the sector to renew itself,” says Vesa Koivisto, Head of Industry, Cleantech & Bio-economy at Finpro’s Invest in Finland.

Finnish-Chinese collaborations

Finland offers excellent conditions for pulp production thanks to its vast forest reserves and high-level technology and know-how. In April this year, Boreal Bioref Ltd. signed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract with China CAMC Engineering Co., Ltd. (CAMCE) to build a biorefinery in Kemijärvi, Finnish Lapland.

KaiCell Fibers and Chinese textile industry giant CHTC Group signed an investment pre-agreement in Beijing on 29 June 2017, for establishing an Arbron™ plant in a new bioproducts mill that KaiCell Fibers is planning to construct in Paltamo, Northern Finland, in an investment worth EUR 900-1000 million. According to the companies’ joint statement, “Using new technology developed in Finland, KaiCell targets to produce Arbron™ as an intermediate viscose raw material that can be used by existing plants in a way that bypasses and eliminates health and environmentally problematic stages. This means that existing viscose plants can produce an environmentally friendly viscose, and they can do it at competitive cost.”

Metsä Group inaugurates bioproduct mill

Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö inaugurated Metsä Group next-generation, EUR 1.2 billion bioproduct mill in Äänekoski, Central Finland, on 18 October 2017. The mill is the largest investment in the history of the Finnish forest industry. With a nominal capacity of 1.3 million tonnes, the mill will make Metsä Group the world’s largest producer of softwood market pulp.

According to Metsä Group, the mill is a leading facility globally in terms of energy efficiency. It uses no fossil fuels and has a bioelectricity self-sufficiency rate of 240%. The mill will also serve as a platform for the manufacture of bioproducts, including product gas, sulphuric acid, biogas and biofuel pellets. Key bioproduct development projects include lignin products, textile fibres and biocomposites. Japanese company ITOCHU Corporation is involved in the development of textile fibres from softwood pulp at Äänekoski.

Stora Enso invests EUR 94 million

Finnish company Stora Enso announced on 25 October 2017 that it is investing EUR 52 million to increase the dissolving pulp production capacity at Enocell Mill and EUR 42 million to enhance the availability of chemi-thermomechanical pulp (CTMP) at Imatra Mills. Both mills are located in Finland.


Finland has vast forest reserves and high-level technology and know-how.

Enocell Mill will have a total annual capacity of 430 000 tonnes of dissolving pulp which is used as a raw material to replace cotton and fossil-based materials, such as polyester. According to Stora Enso, there is increasing demand for non-woven applications, and viscose-type fabrics in the textile industry.

“We aim to improve our pulp mix to differentiate and secure competitiveness in the long term. At our Nordic pulp mills, this means focusing on special grades, such as fluff and dissolving pulp. The investment also supports Enocell Mill to become an integrated biorefinery plant for new bio-based chemicals,” says Markus Mannström, head of Stora Enso’s Biomaterials division.
According to Stora Enso, the investment at Imatra Mills aims to drive the commercialisation of micro-fibrillated cellulose (MFC) which is designed to outperform fossil-based materials, such as plastics, in a variety of applications due to its high strength and 100% renewable raw materials.

Finnpulp plans record investment

Established in 2013, Finnish company Finnpulp’s first project is to realize the world’s largest softwood pulp mill investment in Kuopio, Eastern Finland. The EUR 1.4 billion plant will have an annual capacity of 1.2 million tons. In addition to softwood pulp, According to Finnpulp, the mill will also produce 1 TWh of bioelectricity per year to the national grid and a significant amount of various biochemicals, such as tall oil and turpentine.

Finnpulp was granted an environmental permit for the bioproduct plant in May 2017 and is currently continuing its investor negotiations. The investment decision is scheduled for the second half of 2018 and the company is aiming to start production in the early 2020s.

VTT expands research facility

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has invested EUR 3 million to accelerate the development of new kinds of fibre products by extending its research environment in Jyväskylä, promoting the development of porous materials, insulation products and nonwovens made from fibres by means of foam technology.

“The scale of our bioproduct development environment, which we use to promote the development of the forest industry, makes it unique in the world,” says Jussi Manninen, Executive Vice President at VTT.

According to VTT, foam technology enables the production of lightweight and porous products with less raw materials and lower energy and water consumption, and also makes it possible to combine different kinds of materials to optimise product properties.

The business and investment opportunities based on high-quality pulp from Finland are currently on a rapid growth curve across several industries.

“Innovative Finnish companies like Paptic, Spinnova and Sulapac are global forerunners in developing new uses and technologies for wood fibre, creating more environmentally friendly products and packaging that will replace paper, oil-based plastics and hazardous processes in the future. The considerable enthusiasm for using Finnish forest biomass in the development of new biofuels and biomaterials is definitely worth noting,” says Finpro’s Koivisto.

Interested in hearing more about investment opportunities in Finland? Please contact:


Vesa Koivisto
Head of Industry, Cleantech & Bioeconomy, Invest in Finland
Tel: +358 50 453 6322


Read more about Bioeconomy in Finland.