Tissue World Magazine

(News from RISI) Clearwater Paper, North America’s second largest private label tissue product player, announced an August price increase on its consumer products, contacts said this week.

The company alerted customers in June. The amount of the increase was unclear, but it would be the first consumer price increase since First Quality Tissue’s 8% consumer hike last summer.

No others announced consumer tissue increases last summer. Also, Away-from-Home tissue prices increased up to 10% since last summer in North America.

If major producers such as Georgia-Pacific (GP), Procter & Gamble (P&G), and Kimberly-Clark (K-C) announce price increases, it would be the first broad-based consumer products’ increase on a list basis in North America in four years.

In the summer of 2011, P&G, K-C, Clearwater, and Cascades set 5-7% increases for their consumer products, and AfH increases were out from GP, K-C, SCA Tissue, Wausau Paper, and Cascades, according to PPI Pulp & Paper Week.

US capacity since last 2010 has continued to expand quickly, competition for retail and grocery store shelf space has heated up between big brand and private label players, and the broad price increase attempts rare.

“While business in general is in favour of the producer right now, I don’t see it strong enough based on what I’m hearing on the finished product side to warrant a price increase,” said a contact with a smaller producer this week.

“Then again, September is two plus months away, so perhaps someone is taking early steps to try and set the table in their favour,” the contact added.

Contacts also noted elevated pulp prices were impacting producers, related to price increases. Some companies reduced the number of sheets in their products that effectively gained them higher pricing per unit. K-C first announced publicly that it was de-sheeting in second quarter 2013.

This February, Clearwater executives said they were working to increase the company’s consumer products earnings by at least 50% in the next two to three years.