Possible closure Biberist Mill

Brussels, 31 March 2011 - Sappi Fine Paper Europe envisages the closure of its Biberist Mill in Switzerland in response to market conditions and sustained increases in input costs and begins consultations

As a result of continued overcapacity in the European Coated and Uncoated Fine Paper markets, it has not proved possible to recover the sharply increased costs of raw material and energy over recent years. Sappi has therefore undertaken a review of its European production activities.

Despite our best efforts to curb costs and gain better margins, Biberist Mill has been unable to generate acceptable returns. Consequently, SFPE has today announced that it will enter into a consultation process with its Biberist mill employee representatives and social partners. The aim is to identify the best way of improving SFPE’s profitability, which may also include a full closure of Biberist mill. The continued unrelenting increases in input costs and the excessive local energy prices, combined with the overcapacity in the European market have led to unacceptable returns for Sappi Fine Paper Europe and it therefore became necessary to review production capacity.

In the event that production at Biberist Mill does cease, customers for the coated fine paper products would be offered comparable products and services from other Sappi sites in Europe and no supply interruption would be anticipated. The uncoated product lines consisting of the Cento family of brands would be discontinued.  The sales office in Switzerland will continue operations. 

If the closure of Biberist mill were to occur, Sappi would reduce its coated fine paper capacity by 435,000 tons and its uncoated fine paper capacity by 65,000 tons.  
Should the mill close, approximately 550 employees would be affected.


Issued by:

Brunswick South Africa on behalf of Sappi Limited
Tel + 27 11 502 7300
Fax + 27 11 268 5747

For further information contact:

With regard to the decision of Sappi Fine Paper Europe: 

Mat J.H. Quaedvlieg
Director Manufacturing
Sappi Fine Paper Europe
Tel  +32 (0)2 67 69 703
Mobile +32 (0)495 588 703

With regard to next operational steps in the mill: 

Nicolas Mühlemann
Mill Director
Sappi Fine Paper Europe – Biberist mill
Tel.: +41 (0)32 671 31 80
E-mail: nicolas.muehlemann@sappi.com