Spain's pulp, paper industry grows 6.5% in 2021, with revenue at €5.21B--mostly recovering to pre-pandemic levels--but growth stops in first four months of 2022 on rising costs; cellulose production up 7.7% in 2021, up 6.2% in paper, paperboard: ASPAPEL

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July 14, 2022 (press release) –

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ASPAPEL PRESENTS THE ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PULP AND PAPER SECTOR

THE PULP AND PAPER INDUSTRY GROWS 6.5% IN 2021 AND LARGELY RECOVERS PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS, BUT GROWTH STOPS IN THE FIRST FOUR MONTHS OF 2022


PRODUCTION

  • The production of the paper sector grows as a whole (cellulose + paper) by 6.5% in 2021.
  • Production in 2021 stands at 6.7 million tons of paper and 1.8 million tons of cellulose, with an increase of 6.2% in paper and 7.7% in cellulose.
  • All types of paper increase their production in 2021 and all, except graphic paper, are above pre-pandemic levels.
  • In the FIRST FOUR MONTHS OF 2022, the short-term situation is complicated by the rise in energy prices and the increase in the cost of raw materials and transport, which is reflected in an increase in paper production of barely 0.4% and a drop in cellulose of 8.3%”.

EXPORT

Exports grew significantly (7.9%) to far exceed pre-pandemic levels, after a very modest growth of just 0.9% in 2020.

JOB

Employment in the sector in 2021 grows 0.4% and stands at 16,705 direct jobs. In the last five years, it has increased by 2.6%.

BILLING

The turnover of the sector in 2021, after a 14% drop in 2020, grows in 2021 to stand at 5,209 million euros, clearly above pre-pandemic levels.

INVESTMENTS

  • With investments of 1,754 million euros in 2017-2021, the Spanish paper industry is a heavily invested sector, with an investment to turnover ratio of 8%.
  • The global production of the pulp and paper sector grew by 6.5% in 2021, clearly above pre-pandemic levels, after a moderate drop of 2.2% in 2020. 46% of production is destined for foreign markets, which account for 56% of a total turnover of 5,209 million euros. Exports also grew significantly (7.9%) to far exceed pre-pandemic levels, after a very modest growth of just 0.9% in 2020, according to the Annual Report on the Pulp and Paper Sector.

"The unbeatable environmental characteristics of paper and its potential to substitute other materials, together with the rise of electronic commerce and the great effort of the sector in research and development in new products and in the improvement of manufacturing processes, open up a whole new range of possibilities for the future —explains Elisabet Alier, president of ASPAPEL—. However, the short-term situation has been greatly complicated by escalating energy prices and the rising cost of raw materials and transport. And it is already reflected in the first quarter of 2022 with an increase in paper production of just 0.4% and a drop in cellulose of 8.3%”.
 
PRODUCTION GROWTH IN 2021 ABOVE PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS, CONTRIBUTING TO THE RECOVERY OF THE ECONOMY

The paper industry registers in 2021 a growth in production of 7.7% in cellulose and 6.2% in paper and cardboard. In this way, after a modest fall of 0.4% in pulp and 2.6% in paper during the year of COVID-19, paper production is clearly above pre-pandemic levels with 1,777,000 tons of cellulose and 6,658,900 tons of paper.
 
Indeed, if we extend the time frame of the comparison to 2019, the year prior to the declaration of the pandemic, paper production (2021/2019) increased by 3.5% for paper and 7.3% for cellulose, thus contributing to the recovery of the economy.
 
PAPER PRODUCTION

  • With an increase of 6.2%, production in the sixty-nine Spanish paper factories amounts to 6,658,900 tons of paper in 2021. Paper for corrugated cardboard (3.69 million tons) accounts for 56% of production total, followed by toilet and sanitary paper (12% and 0.81 million tons), graphic paper for the press and printing and writing (11% and 0.74 million tons), other containers and packaging such as sacks, bags , tubes, molded cellulose products, etc. (8% and 0.55 million tons), special papers for very diverse applications (with 8% and 0.54 million tons) and coated cardboard (5% and 0.32 million tons).

 
All the large paper groups see their production increase in 2021. The greatest growth is experienced by special papers and graphic papers, which register two increases of 15.9%. Following are paper for corrugated cardboard with 5.1% and paper for other containers and packaging with 4.6%, hygienic and sanitary paper with 1.3% and coated cardboard with 0.9%. .
 
Likewise, all of them, except for graphic papers, are above pre-pandemic levels. With 7% of total European production, Spain is the sixth largest producer of paper in the EU, after Germany, Sweden, Italy, Finland and France.

PAPER PRODUCTION 2021 SOURCE: ASPAPEL  
AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY Thousands of tons % of the total number of factories
Aragon 2,333.5 35.0% 8
Catalonia 1,391.1 20.9% 23
Basque Country 960.3 14.4% 10
Navarre 518.8 7.8% 6
Castile and Leon 459.3 6.9% 7
Valencian Community 231.3 3.5% 7
Andalusia  
 
 
 
764.6
 
 
 
 
 
11.5%
 
two
Galicia 1
Canary Islands 1
Castilla la Mancha 1
Madrid two
Murcia 1
Total 6,658.95  

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PULP PRODUCTION
The production of the ten pulp mills in Spain grows by 7.7% in 2021 to stand at 1,777,000 tons in 2021. With 5% of European production, Spain is the fifth largest producer of pulp in the EU , after Sweden, Finland, Portugal and Germany.
 
Market pulp production grew by just 0.2%, while integrated pulp manufacturing (for self-consumption in the same factory) increased by 22.8%. In both cases, production is above pre-pandemic levels.
 
*In the Communities in which there are less than three factories, the production data is grouped, in compliance with the Competition regulations.
 
BRAKE IN THE FIRST FOUR MONTHS OF 2022
However, the strength that the paper industry showed during the pandemic as an essential industry, keeping practically all of its factories open, despite the difficult and unusual situation, has been suffering since the last months of 2021 the onslaught of the energy escalation , which is deteriorating the situation of the sector. A promising environment is being seriously compromised fundamentally by energy costs, but also —to a lesser extent— by the cost of raw materials, freight...
 
Indeed, in January-April 2022 there was a slowdown in the recovery with an increase of paper production of just 0.4% and a drop in cellulose of 8.3%.
 
EXPORTS GROW AT A GOOD RATE IN 2021
The Spanish paper sector increases its exports in 2021, with a growth of 8.9% in paper and cardboard and 5.6% in cellulose, exceeding in both cases the pre-Covid levels of 2019. 56% of its turnover in 2021 comes from foreign markets, to which it allocates 46% of its total production.
 
The EU continues to be the largest export market for paper (60%) and pulp (73%) produced in our country. The rest of the countries of the European Union are the main destination for Spanish pulp and paper exports, mainly Germany, France, Italy, and Portugal.
 
Exports to the United Kingdom, now as a non-EU country, have come to account for 9% in the case of pulp (three percentage points more than in 2020), and 5% of paper exports (one percentage point more than in 2020).
 
FOREIGN PAPER TRADE
In 2021, paper exports increased by 8.9%, clearly above the increase in production, which was 6.2%. Total exports amounted to 2,823,300 tons (just over 42% of paper production).
 
The rest of the EU is the main foreign market for paper manufactured in Spain (60%) and more specifically the neighboring countries Portugal and France, which account for 41% of total exports, followed by Italy and Germany. While exports to Africa remain at 15%, Asian exports break the trend of recent years, accounting for 8% of the total (compared to 14% in the previous year).
 
For its part, paper imports increased by 6.6% to 3,067,700 tons. The coverage rate (export/import) is 92%, two percentage points above that of 2020 and six points above the pre-covid figure.
 
The rate of exports (export/production) is 42.4% and the participation in the domestic market is 55.6%.
 
FOREIGN TRADE OF PULP
Both the export and import of pulp registered significant increases in 2021.
 
Pulp exports grew 5.6% to reach 1,084,400 tons and imports increased 3.5% to 1,129,300 tons.
 
73% of the more than one million tons of pulp exported went to other EU countries (Basically Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Italy and France). Outside the EU, the United Kingdom (9%), China (9%) and Turkey (4%) are the first destinations.
 
The coverage rate (export/import) grows two points to 96%. And the rate of participation in the internal market also grew almost two points (38%).
 
TURNOVER AND EMPLOYMENT GROWTH AND TALENT CAPTURE
After a 14% drop in 2020, turnover grew to 5,209 million euros, clearly above pre-pandemic levels.
 
Employment, which had been maintained in 2020, grew by 0.4% in 2021 and stands at 16,705 direct jobs. In the last five years employment has increased by 2.6%. The circular pulp and paper bioindustry is the engine of a powerful value chain that accounts for 18.5% of industrial employment. Innovation and sustainability are the two basic characteristics of a sector in constant technological renewal, which offers qualified and stable employment and great possibilities for professional development.
 
Companies in the sector work to attract talent and maintain, for example, a scholarship program for students on the Master's Degree in Paper and Graphic Technology from the UPC's School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering.
 
SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENTS AND BET ON THE FUTURE
The pulp and paper industry is a sector that believes in its future and in the last five years has made significant investments amounting to 1,754 million euros (an amount close to 8% of its turnover) , fundamentally in capacity expansions and in technological renewal and innovation.
 
It is a sector in continuous transformation that is focusing on markets with greater growth potential, such as containers and packaging, and on products with greater added value, such as special papers for a wide and growing range of applications.

______________________________________________________________________________________ 

ASPAPEL Press Office (Spanish Association of Pulp, Paper and Cardboard Manufacturers):
Information and Image | Paseo de la Castellana, 140 | Tel: 915616826
Angeles Alvarez | Email: aalvarez@informacioneimagen.es 609904877
Eva de Santos | Email: evadesantos@informacioneimagen.es
www.aspapel.es
 

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