CPH in the media

Newsprint is scarce and getting more expensive

Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Due to supply bottlenecks, newspapers in Switzerland are temporarily thinner.

The fire in the waste paper storage facility of a paper mill in Perlen near Root (LU) broke the camel's back. For three days, the supply of waste paper, by far the most important raw material for the production of newsprint, was interrupted. The mill, which belongs to Chemie + Papier Holding (CPH), had to stop both paper machines as a result. According to a CPH spokesman, the situation has returned to normal. Deliveries to Swiss customers were only affected to a limited extent by the interruption. In Switzerland, the agreed quantities had been delivered according to CPH.

The paper industry, which is mainly based in Northern Europe, has been in a structural slump for some time. The Perlen paper mill produced 15% less last year. In Western Europe, newsprint production fell by as much as 22% in 2020. And the figures are also down this year. The pandemic has accentuated the structural decline in demand that began after the 2008 financial crisis. Demand is also expected to decline next year and the year after. However, production capacities have not been reduced to the same extent during the same period. This is due to the fact that paper production is an extremely capital-intensive business.

Perlen Papier is likely to be among the survivors of this cut-throat competition. It operates a huge paper machine (annual capacity 500,000 t) that is probably the most modern and efficient plant in Western Europe; part of the process steam comes from the nearby Renergia waste incineration plant, for which it receives CO2 emission certificates.

The cut-throat competition results in a price war that has been going on for years. In the first half of 2021, prices for newsprint marked a historic low of €370 per ton. Now the tide seems to have turned. Currently, prices are at €440. According to experts, they should climb towards €550 to €600 next year, to a level last reached a decade ago. Paper suppliers have already raised prices and will continue to do so next year, according to the CPH spokesman. However, this is not enough to compensate for the higher costs for recovered paper and energy.

Read the entire article in Neue Zürcher Zeitung here (in German).

Among others, also the following media have covered the topic: