Tissue World Magazine

(News from RISI) – Two US AfH tissue paper producers this week identified or began work on efforts that aim to net them lower input cost and additional business.

Wausau Paper reported being in the midst of an offensive, looking for efficiencies on each machine in its two-paper-mill system and each converting line, president and chief executive Michael Burandt has said during an earnings call with analysts.

The push is to almost double earnings for the company, the fourth largest in the US AfH market, in the next 18 months.

In Mississippi, von Drehle said work started on a project to install by late next year a new 35,000tpy Metso tissue paper machine at its deinked pulp mill in Natchez, MS.

The Natchez Democrat quoted a site manager saying that the Metso PM is to be delivered in mid-June.

The von Drehle unit is reputed to be a NTT version, according to contacts. The first NTT was installed last year and runs at Fabrica de Papel San Francisco’s mill in Mexicali, Mexico.

The Advantage NTT technology is to produce “premium quality textured tissue with high bulk and softness using less energy and fibre” with virgin and recycled content furnishes, according to Metso.

The NTT is intended to be a flexible machine that can switch from conventional to textured tissue output.

Contacts claim the new PM’s pulp furnish will be integrated from the deinked pulp line already at the mill in Natchez.

In the US AfH market, von Drehle is the sixth largest.

Wausau’s Burandt expects to increase profits by reducing costs, and also increasing volumes in premium 100% recycled-content AfH products and its dispensers.

Burandt set the goal of adding $30 million in annual EBITDA. For the third quarter, Wausau’s EBITDA was $13.8 million.

He said the firm spent eight weeks so far on analysing company assets.

“There are no sacred cows here,” he told analysts this week. “We’ve identified the issues, and are developing plans and strategies to address them,” he said.

“This is not a one-time initiative. This gives us the confidence of growing the company profitably for years to come,” Burandt said.

Burandt said Wausau is the only producer with a100% recycled-content premium product in the AfH market.

It is made at the company’s Harrodsburg, KY, mill, where a new Atmos system machine was started up in late 2010.

Also, he pointed to the firm’s recent launch of Dubl Nature and Artisan brands, and the Alliance high-capacity towel dispenser that automatically feeds a second 1,000-ft roll.

“This is going to play very well in high-capacity washrooms (such as) airports and casinos, (and) it’s going to play very well in classy office buildings.

So there’s just a whole new winner that opens up to us,” Burandt said.

He said the firm can gain higher margin by moving its own paper through its dispensers.