Why mergers and acquisitions activity in the European pulp and paper sector boomed in 2022

We take a glimpse at the busy mergers and acquisitions activity in 2022

Last year was busy in terms of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the European pulp and paper (P&P) sector, with consolidation continuing apace, in line with the trend seen in 2021.

On the graphic paper side, one of the major events was Stora Enso’s decision to divest four of its five graphic paper mills. Among them, its Maxau super calendared paper mill in Germany was sold to the Schwarz group, while Sylvamo acquired the Nymölla uncoated woodfree mill in Sweden. Likewise, Sappi sold its Maastricht, Stockstadt and Kirkniemi mills in the Netherlands, Germany and Finland, respectively, to the asset management group Aurelius.

On the packaging side, Stora Enso was no less active, with the acquisition of De Jong Packaging Group in the Netherlands. Mondi acquired Burgo’s Duino lightweight coated paper mill in Italy, with plans to convert it to recycled containerboard production.

In the same vein, Billerud entered the US market with the acquisition of Verso for approximately $825 million and a potential plan to convert some of Verso’s machines from printing and writing paper to boxboard production. Elsewhere, Mayr-Melnhof continued its expansion in the pharmaceutical packaging segment, with the acquisition of Essentra Packaging and Eson Pac.

There was also considerable M&A activity in the specialty paper sector. All4labels went on a buying spree last year, taking over Limo Labels in Denmark in January, Olympus Print Group in the UK in April, Grafiche Pizzi in Italy in May, Relieves Egara in Spain in August and Romprix Exim in Romania in December.

A sample of our overview of the year’s M&A activity is outlined in the table below. Full table available in the news section of our platform.

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