Smurfit Kappa's 540,000 tonnes/year Facture containerboard mill near Bordeaux, France, shut down since July 6 after black liquor tank ruptures; Ireland-based company uncertain when the mill, one of its largest, will come back online

LOS ANGELES , July 11, 2012 () – Smurfit Kappa Group’s Facture containerboard mill near Bordeaux, France, has been shut down since July 6 due to a black liquor tank bursting, according to a July 11 research note from paper and forest products industry analyst Mark Wilde of Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.

The mill is one of the paper-based packaging company’s largest containerboard mills and accounts for an estimated 15% to 20% of kraft linerboard production in Western and Central Europe, said Wilde in the note.

It is uncertain when the mill will resume production, said company executives in Europe when contacted by phone on July 11, reported Deutsche Bank.

Prolonged downtime at the Facture mill could tighten world markets for containerboard, according to Wilde, noting that order backlogs are already long at kraft linerboard mills in the U.S.

Europe usually relies on recycled containerboard and is a net importer of kraft linerboard. The Facture outage could help U.S. linerboard exporters, such as RockTenn Co., International Paper Co., Packaging Corp. of America and KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp., said Wilde.

Smurfit Kappa, which is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is an integrated producer of paper-based packaging, with operations in 31 countries employing some 38,000 employees and generating sales of €7.4 billion (US$9.0 billion) in 2011, according to its website.

The primary source of this article is Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., New York, New York, on July 11, 2012.


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