APP affiliate Solaris Paper to review economic viability of Australian conversion facilities following Greenpeace allegations, says it will risk loss of over AU$20M in investments, campaign will damage Australia's future relationships with Asia

NORTH RYDE, Australia , December 9, 2011 (press release) – Australian trade relations with Asia under pressure as campaigns by Greenpeace and others force Solaris Paper to review manufacturing operations in Australia

Solaris Paper, an Australian managed tissue paper supplier, has been forced to review the economic viability of its local conversion facilities in New South Wales, risking the loss of more than $20m in investment in the NSW economy and the future of its good Australian hard working employees.

The decision to review and restructure its operations followed a series of unwarranted and unsubstantiated attacks by NGOs, led by Greenpeace, Unions and those threatened by the introduction of quality, competitive products.

Solaris Paper arrived in Australia in 2007 and since then has invested more than $20m in a state of the art converting facility at its Greystanes plant in Western Sydney. The company, an affiliate of Asia Pulp and Paper Group, planned to further increase investment in jobs and quality tissue and paper products for Australian consumers as it built market share.

Steve Nicholson, Director Corporate Affairs, Solaris Paper said he was greatly disappointed that Solaris Paper’s arrival in Australia has been met with so much hostility.

“When we invested in Australia we hoped to offer Australian retailers and their customers quality tissue paper products that took advantage of the efficiencies we had in our supply and production process to offer an extremely competitive range.

“Instead we have been met with a coordinated campaign by groups intent on driving us out of the country using a range of spurious environmental and local competition arguments based on incorrect or misleading information.

“We are committed to staying in Australia for the long run to help safeguard our local workers and the investment we have made. We can’t do this alone, and need consumers, government, unions and other interested parties to stand up to the actions of a radical few who jeopardise the future of paper industry in NSW and hardworking workers in Sydney.”

Solaris Paper is currently in the process of restructuring its Greystanes conversion facilities in order to continue serving Australian consumers with quality, competitive tissue paper products. Local manufacturing options will be re-examined once the climate for foreign investment in the tissue industry improves.

“For too long Australians have been forced to live with an extremely uncompetitive tissue paper market controlled by a small number of international suppliers. Australians deserve the right to access new products from sustainable sources. We will continue to serve our existing customers with the products they have come to expect from Solaris Paper and we hope to re-build our customer base, once conditions allow.”

Despite the misleading campaign waged by environmental groups, all of Solaris Paper’s retail products are sustainably-produced and PEFC certified, demonstrating the environmental credentials of its products.

“Sustainable pulp and paper supply is the cornerstone of our production process. Our traceability systems are accredited by the world’s largest forest certification scheme and we have opened our doors to show stakeholders our operations to see our supply process for themselves.”

Mr Nicholson added that the campaign against an Asian company comes at an unfortunate time for Australian trade relations.

“It’s a pity that an Asian company has been treated this way at a time when Australia is looking to strengthen trade relations with its Asian neighbours. The difficulties we have faced since we arrived in Australia do not bode well for developing this partnership.

“Those interested in developing a strong trade relationship between Australia and its closest trading partners need to look carefully at how such a situation can be avoided in the future and how a market can be created that benefits both local and overseas investment.

“The extreme tactics we have witnessed damage the market by reducing competition and limiting the choice of Australian consumers. Consumers should be able to choose the products they want.”

The review of the conversion facilities will take place over the next few months.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.