Tissue World Digital Days

Three day online platform examined key trends across Asia, Yankee Dryer developments, the emerging dynamic in the Turkey region, Latin America and the US market … all seeking new business models under the ongoing pandemic.

Tissue World Digital Days – held online between 11 – 13 November 2020 – was the first truly global event that brought the world’s tissue industry together, digitally, during times of Covid-19.

The three-day event brought you a live online platform to keep you informed of all things tissue, until we can meet you again on Tissue World’s show floors.

The sessions offered an entirely new experience of content, analysis and deal-making, connecting the world’s tissue regions with peers around the world looking to discuss new solutions, innovative technology, market outlooks and insight in consumer trends.

Five focused live panel discussions and webinars took place with a deep and broad programme and pre-recorded sessions, featuring 44 speakers, moderators and panellists.

The five session themes were:

• Asia in the Spotlight: Managing in Crisis, Planning for the Future;

• Yankee Dryer Workshop: Troubleshooting and Problem Solving;

• Turkey: Your Gateway to Key Markets – Developments and Outlook for this Dynamic Region;

• Latin America’s Prospects – Drivers for Sustainable Success;

• Senior Management Symposium, North America: Market models for a new reality. The keynote address was followed by a live interview between Kimberly-Clark North America Group President Kim Underhill and Fastmarkets RISI’s Esko Uutela.

A live Q&A in the Senior Management Symposium session included questions such as what the future is for the AfH market, and whether North American tissue paper brands will be impacted in the same way it happens in Europe and in Latin America.

Tissue World is the world’s leading exhibition and conference organiser for the global tissue market with events in Düsseldorf, Miami, Bangkok, Istanbul and São Paulo.

It is supported in print and online by Tissue World Magazine (TWM), the tissue industry’s leading independent trade magazine and website.

Tissue World Düsseldorf is now scheduled for 21-23 September 2021, Tissue World Bangkok is scheduled for 16-18 June 2021, and Tissue World Miami is slated for 16-18 March 2022.

Our events in Istanbul and São Paulo are pending.

Below, TWM summarise some of the key points raised during the webinar.

Tissue World Digital Days


Panel Moderator: Andy Chua, Event Sales Manager, Tissue World, Informa, Singapore


• Ray Somnath, Principal, AFRY Management Consulting, Indonesia;

• Danny Kristono, Marketing General Manager, PT. Sun Paper Source, Indonesia;

• Tim Woods, Managing Director, Industry Edge, Australia;

• Ronaldo Parucker, Sr. VP, Strategic Technical Mgr Tissue, Voith Paper, Germany.

Keynote Presentation: Ray Somnath, Principal, AFRY Management Consulting, Indonesia

The region saw an increased demand in the consumer segment driven by hoarding and people staying at home. There was a severe drop in AfH. In the first quarter of the year, panic buying also impacted South East Asia (SEA), although local suppliers in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia managed hoarding better, whilst regions without local suppliers such as Singapore and Hong Kong experienced temporary shortages.

Stringent lockdown measures in several SEA countries impacted tissue consumption positively in the consumer segment, with people staying at home more it negatively impacted the AfH segment.

Covid-19 has changed consumer habits; some of the changes will continue to reshape the markets after the breakout is controlled. The new Covid-19 consumer increasingly practices social distancing and working from home, has less disposable income, has increased hygienic awareness and is increasingly ordering online.

We have seen an economic rebound in SEA, driven by China’s regrowth. We expect that AfH will be negatively impacted for a long time and to see the continued growth of e-commerce, larger tissue package sizes and one-time purchases. Innovations in tissue will consist of new, multi-task categories.

The new “work from anywhere” model will benefit the consumer segment at the expense of AfH.

Despite low AfH, an increased consumer segment demand and low pulp prices have boosted most tissue companies, which have reported strong economic results during the pandemic:

• NTPM reported declining sales. However, decreased raw material costs offset sales decline and helped the group restore its EBITDA margin to 19% level. The company is actively seeking ways to widen its customer base and expand distribution channels;

• APP reported sales surge due to panic buying, followed by steadier growth driven especially by demand in the Chinese market. The company was able to increase and arrange supply to meet the demand and is temporarily re-tasking some production lines;

• Berli Jucker reported increased consumer goods sales in Q1-20, partly attributed to tissue consumption. It announced a one million THB project to increase production by 50%. It also launched a new multi-purpose category of tissue paper.

The Southeast Asian tissue market is expected to grow by 5.2% per annum through 2025 despite the headwind in the AfH segment. Consumption in SEA totalled 1.1 Mt in 2019, corresponding to a per capita consumption of around 1.7kg/a. The consumption per capita is very low compared to, e.g. Western Europe, at over 15kg/a, indicating good potential for growth in SEA. Increased consumer segment demand and hygiene awareness are expected to compensate for the experienced drop and continuing headwinds in AfH.

Overall, economic and population growth continue to be the main growth drivers when Covid-19 settles. Indonesia is the main country driving the growth in the region; good growth rates are expected also in many other countries, such as Vietnam and the Philippines.


• Rapid fall of graphic papers due to Covid-19, causing decline in pulp;

• High demand from tissue;

• Paying capability of Chinese buyers improving after first wave;

• Limited supply increase; thin project pipeline in 2020/2021.


• Upward price pressure experienced before Covid-19 faded as a consequence of weak demand;

• High producer inventories do not support price increases;

• Stronger USD puts downward pressure on prices;

• Strong tissue demand has hindered BHKP price drop;

• Economic recovery expected for 2021, which can pull up prices.

Projects are expected to go forward without major obstacles despite COVID-19. As demand continues healthily, the investments are expected to continue as planned, despite the regional overcapacity.

Limited access to site for foreign machine suppliers may have caused some delay in ongoing projects. Investment activity continues strong driven by APP’s massive expansion plans in OKI and Perawang mill. In addition to shown plans, even further investments are considered.



• Overview of Yankee Diagnostics, John Holton, Technical Support, Toscotec NA, USA;

• Steel Yankee Dryer Lifetime Management, Franz Harrer, Product Mgr, Andritz AG, Austria;

• Crepe Blade Wear Modelling, Ian Padley, Global Solutions Team Mgr, Tissue, BTG, Switzerland;

• Troubleshooting Thermocompressors, Mike Soucy, President, Kadant Johnson Systems, USA;

• Tissue Machine Vibrations, Manfred Jaeger, MD, Jaeger, Germany.

TURKEY: YOUR GATEAWAY TO KEY MARKETS – Developments and outlook for this dynamic region

Panel Moderator: Jonathan Roberts, Industry Consultant and Conference Chair, Tissue World


• Alp Öğücü, CEO, LILA Group, Turkey;

• Lütfi Aydın, Global Tissue Production Director, Hayat Kimya, Turkey;

• Ahmet Seğmen, Chief Sales Officer, Eczacıbaşı Tüketim Ürünleri, Turkey.

Alp Öğücü: “We have never experienced anything like the speed of digitalisation that we have in the past few months. Adaptability has never been more important.

“Our strategy has adjusted. Now it is all about risk management. All of us have thought about our supply chain, and increasing the number of suppliers was a key issue of risk management. It became a must to maintain production 24/7.

“E-trade will continue to be very important, particularly important if hygiene is also here to stay. Spending more time at home with family and friends could also be a continuous trend which could see an increase in tonnage for hospitals and airports … more time at home will also have an effect on the tissue industry. We hope we continue to see more consumer tissue at home!”

Lütfi Aydın: “Despite pandemic, we are happy to be on track with our new Russian and Turkish investments. In Russia, with the additional 70,000tpy, we will become Russia’s largest tissue producer, and in Turkey, with the new 70,000tpy capacity, we will maintain our leadership as the largest tissue producer.

“We have taken decisions quickly, and been transparent to everyone about the steps we have taken.

“Sustainability is one of the main principles for our company and it will continue to be a key strategy for us both during and after the pandemic.”

Ahmet Seğmen: “We have experienced the safety net of being in an industry that helps people. Because consumer products serve basic needs, we have seen smaller jumps in these times of economic crisis than other industries. The tissue industry has actually been positively impacted because of an increased hygiene awareness from consumers; the consumer products industry has proved itself to be a safe bet and it’s a good place to be. The tissue industry is resilient!

“No one could have been ready for this pandemic. Awareness for hygiene has increased and digitalisation – especially e-commerce – will continue to grow even faster. Shoppers are shopping more purposefully for brands that are sustainable and consumers have started to respect the world and the environment more. The biggest trend is that some of these trends will go away after the end of the pandemic, and some will stay, so we need to figure out which will stay. This is a big challenge for the whole of the industry.”

LATIN AMERICA’S PROSPECTS – Drivers for sustainable success

Panel Moderator: Lairton Leonardi, Managing Director, Solvocon Business Consulting, Brazil


• Nestor de Castro Neto, Executive Advisor, ABTCP, Brazil;

• Daniel Signori, Technical Director, Mili SA, Brazil;

• David Mackinson, Research Manager, Euromonitor, Chile;

• Marcello Moraes, Commercial Director, Softys Brazil.

Keynote Presentation: Nestor de Castro Neto, Executive Advisor, ABTCP, brazil

Outlook of Covid-19 influence in the Latin America tissue market and supply chain

Key challenges: keep production running! Reduce maintenance shut downs, postponing them as much as possible and developing further digital connections for maintenance and auditing; learn how to work with remote office; social distance for people classified

as risk area, and how to respond to impacted distribution and management.

Challenges: Innovation is necessary. Connectivity technology between people is available in all markets; a new mind-set is needed; Covid brought a sense of urgency that is accelerating the digital process.

Tissue factories have learned to protect their workforce and production, ensuring the supply of the product that was considered first need; restrictions on access to factories motivated the use of technologies, such as virtual presence technology, mainly by maintenance, inspection; pre-Covid digital products have been amplified with the pandemic.

There has been a boom in consumption: somewhat irrational for two months during the early Covid-19. Global tissue demand growth (excluding China) normalised in July but still at high levels at 4% YTD. According to PPPC, global tissue demand growth was stable (-0.5% y/y) which we believe reflects signs of consumption normalisation following the buying frenzy at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis. Change in hygienic and healthy habits came to stay, and this will have a permanent impact in tissue consumption.

In the third quarter of 2020, Softys Tissue reported volumes normalising, but personal care remains solid. CMPC highlighted that consumer tissue volumes are normalising, but AfH recovery is still slow. On the positive side, personal care has remained solid, and that’s a market where returns are better. No guidance on sustainable margins has been given due to macro uncertainties.

The fiscal stimulus in Brazil was exaggerated high (USD 217bn), causing market misbalance, started creating inflation (0.81% only in October), also influenced by Real devaluation.


Kim Underhill, Group President, Kimberly-Clark, USA
Kim Underhill, Group President, Kimberly-Clark, USA

Retail is being redefined and has been accelerated by three to five years

Keynote address: Delivering Growth Through Disruption​
Kim Underhill, Kimberly-Clark North America Group President

“Our world is being disrupted – let’s embrace it! It has created lots of new opportunities for us in tissue and many of these changes are here to stay. The way we shop has changed for the good; 50% of the people who started to shop online this year had never shopped online before.

“Finding profitable growth is going to be an important innovation. Consumers are willing to pay premium prices for premium products.

“Retail is being redefined and, overnight, has been accelerated by three to five years. The world has shifted to online. Consumers want more personalised experienced, but also want these products showing up on their doorstep.

“In a matter of days, we had a massive surge of volume in March/April. The surge couldn’t be handled in many ways and we have had to re-think our supply chain.

“New competition is challenging retailers; growth will come from online and discounters, scale is being redefined through direct-to-consumer brands. Supply chain cost will become a more significant pinch point.

Kim Underhill, Kimberly-Clark, North America Group President

“Retail is being redefined and, overnight, has been accelerated by three to five years. The world has shifted to online. Consumers want more personalised experienced, but also want these products showing up on their doorstep.”

“All of us are getting more comfortable to purchase products from our phones or tablets and 67% of shoppers now use technology to simplify their life. Amazon has set the pace in terms of next day deliveries. Expectations of “frictionless” shopping will grow, and same day delivery will reach 25% market share by 2025. “However, I still think many of these shoppers will want to go back into the store. I believe that same-day delivery will reach 25% market share by 2025.

“Finding growth – and profitable growth – through innovation. Consumers will pay for value-added innovation, but innovation must be more than just product. 70% of spending will be focused on service by 2025.

“The tissue industry’s supply chain is more global than ever; 74% of Millennials say it is important companies are clear about their values and purpose. Sustainability is no longer an after-thought. We are looking at lots of exciting new ideas for the use of different raw materials to make tissue. In our lifetimes we will make a significant difference to sustainability. The question for the tissue industry is: How do you create profitability in an industry that could easily become commoditised very quickly?

“Innovation can be much bigger than the product itself. We will seek innovation in packaging, innovation in the supply chain. How do we move product quicker, how do we move it cheaper? We know that consumers will pay for value-added innovation. As the pandemic has settled in, the idea of wet wiping products has seen great growth. Also what is new at this time is that private label hasn’t really taken off. We haven’t seen a surge here. We have actually seen more consumers move to trusted brands. That is promising and it gives us hope.

“Walmart has really flourished in the ‘Click and Collect’ model. So we have seen a real shift in how we think about this vital component of the supply chain. We have a lot of work to do to ensure that the service is there.

“As for the tissue industry, the supply chain is now more global than ever. The surge in demand has been much greater than the supply can be in the US. In some cases we have also brought in finished products from outside of the US. This creates a whole lot more opportunities.

“We’re also learning much more about the next generation. Millennials want to buy products from companies that have clear purpose and transparency. Sustainability is our responsibility.

“It is a wonderful time to be in the tissue industry. It’s one of the most exciting times for us, not only in the US. What we saw in many parts of the world was a significant up-tick, and we need to embrace a mind-set change.”

“The things that made us successful in the past will not make us successful in the future. Every step of the supply chain will now be important to manage speed and cost.  

 “The pandemic has given us a gift to challenge inventory. Not without risk. But it has been a big social experiment; I wish we hadn’t needed to go through it, but it has given us a very different frame on how to run our business in the future.”

Quality Shifts and Capacity Limits Changing North American Tissue Supply Patterns

Esko Uutela, Principal, tissue, Fastmarket RISI
Esko Uutela, Principal, tissue, Fastmarket RISI

Esko Uutela, Principal, Tissue, Fastmarkets RISI

What does COVID-19 mean for the tissue business?

• Panic buying quickly emptied tissue aisles;

• Hoarding of tissue products happened in different regions, but North America, Europe and Australia were hit the hardest as capacities were already in high use. In China, overcapacity helped to produce more despite the fact that many mills were out of action for six to eight weeks or even longer, especially in Hubei;

• Tissue is one of the daily necessities needed in a modern society and during the coronavirus pandemic this has become very clear;

• Violence also erupted with customers fighting for the last pack of toilet paper;

• Tissue mills turned out to be strategic assets! Tissue deliveries were hijacked in Hong Kong and Germany.

“Toilet tissue sales skyrocketed but then went back to normal, the second wave caused a new peak again. In calendar week 12 of 2020, German toilet paper sales were more than three times the normal range, but this high season only lasted about five weeks and sales suffered in weeks 14-16 as mills were not able to fulfil all requests by retailers due to empty mill stocks.

“Tissue mills were running at full capacity and often added additional shifts for converting to produce the maximum volume at practically every mill. But the AfH tissue business collapsed, and AfH mills began to produce some parent rolls and/or SKUs that were able to be sold through distributors to households.

“The second wave caused another sales peak in week 43 (cumulatively, 2020 up by 15%).

“Effects on tissue are likely to be more positive than negative. In the short term, the impact is definitely positive for the consumer tissue business but negative for the AfH business. US shipments for consumer tissue rose by 37.4% in March, 28.1% in April, 23.5% in May, 15.4% in June, 9.9% in July, 12.2% in August and 10.7% in September. 

On the other side, AfH shipments started to contract in April (-14.0%) and this continued in May (-19.0%), June (-13.1%), July (-13.9%), August (-14.7) and September (-13.4%). The trend in Europe has been very similar, while life in China has more or less normalised, and the effect of the pandemic was weaker than in North America or Europe.

Esko Uutela, Principal, Fastmarkets RISI

Consumer tissue will reach higher-than-average growth rates in most regions. Households are likely to maintain higher stocks at home than they had been—reports are saying at least two weeks’ worth instead of one. And folded hand towels are also being found in households for hand drying. Globally, the general awareness of the importance of good hygiene for protecting health is expected to have positive effects for tissue, and the number of tissue users will likely grow in countries with no tradition in tissue use.

North American tissue consumption, 2019: Market is well developed but still growing.

“The US tissue market is now the second largest in the world as China passed it in size in 2018. Canada accounts for less than 10% of North American tissue consumption but largely follows US patterns in quality developments. Total consumption: 9.7m tonnes (2019): USA 91.5%, Canada 8.5%.

“The North American tissue market has been strong recently. The AfH sector in particular benefitted from the robust economy boosting all outside activities in recent years. However, in 2020 the outcome will be totally different: good At-Home tissue growth but the AfH sector nosediving.

“Pre-Covid-19, converted AfH tissue product shipments showed growth rates double or even greater than those in consumer tissue, which grew rather steadily with only small monthly variations.

“The first half of 2020 was a very busy time in the US At-Home tissue sector. Shipment volume grew by 18%, a record in US tissue history! However, the AfH sector began to suffer in April, and the first half showed a decline of 6% in AfH tissue shipments. In the second half of 2020, At-Home demand growth will stay high as the pandemic continues to rage, while AfH will continue to struggle. Total volume of shipments in 2020 will record very good growth of around 7%.

“This year will be very positive for the North American tissue industry, and substantial growth of around 8% can be expected despite the decline in the AfH sector. It is likely that the AfH sector will not fully recover even in 2021 as working from home will continue to some degree and other public traffic will remain lower than in past years. This will reduce total growth, while At-Home growth will be good.

“US tissue imports show a growth trend of about 4.2% per year, while exports have recorded much lower growth of 1.2% per year on average. In the past few years, exports have stagnated.

“In the US bathroom tissue business, ultra and premium qualities have increased their combined share from 50% in 2008 to 75% in 2020. The main loser in this development is the value category. The economy category has slightly increased its share due to the popularity of dollar stores, who mainly sell economy category bathroom tissue.  

“New products from tissue machines using new non-TAD, higher quality technologies cause confusion regarding where they should be classified in the quality range. In principle, they should be seen as an additional, intermediate quality category, but so far there is no good name for the new baby. Names used by new quality suppliers, such as Premium Plus, Ultra Premium or similar derivations are not very definitive. 

“So the game is on… who can come up with a smart name for these new products?”