Tissue sales boost: Navigator Company’s acquisition of Gomà-Camps Group’s Spanish and French consumer tissue business in February 2023 increases tissue sales by 49%
Tissue sales boost: Navigator Company’s acquisition of Gomà-Camps Group’s Spanish and French consumer tissue business in February 2023 increases tissue sales by 49%

Portugal’s Navigator Company has reported a “strong industrial performance” in its 2023 full year results, as its recently expanded tissue division reports sales up 49%.

Turnover for the pulp and paper business in 2023 was €1,953m, which it said was the second-best result in the company’s history – 11% up on its average turnover for the past five years (2018-2022), and compared with the all-time record of €2,465m in 2022.

Following the Navigator Company’s acquisition of Gomà-Camps Group’s consumer tissue business in Spain and France in February 2023, it said the expansion of its tissue business made it possible to offset the drop in international demand for paper and the reduction in demand for cellulose pulp in Europe, with pulp sales growing by 26% and tissue sales up by 49%.

In 2023, the tissue segment increased its output (up 24% for reels and up 70% finished products) in relation to 2022, following the acquisition of the Ejea plant.

Navigator said that the takeover of the unit enabled it to position itself “as Iberia’s second largest manufacturer of tissue paper.”

EBITDA for the company was €502m with cost management and resilient prices offsetting the downturn in demand.

The EBITDA margin stood at 26%, compared with an average margin of 24% in the past five years.

Annual net income totalled €275m, down by 30% on 2022 but 29% higher than the average for the past five years.

The company said 2023 was “a challenging year” for the pulp and paper sector and added that the first half was marked by “a sharp drop in benchmark prices for pulp, down from record high levels in 2022, with a downturn in demand, especially in Europe.”

However, it said that in the tissue paper segment, shorter supply chains created less tendency to accumulate stocks, which the company said resulted in a performance that “remained considerably stronger”.

The sector also benefited from the increased market share brought by integration of the new tissue mill in Zaragoza.

Tissue sales volume currently stands at 40,000 tons, down by close to 2% in relation to the previous quarter due to the decreased availability of paper (reels) for sale, and up by 64% year-on-year.

The company added its takeover of the Zaragoza mill “is part of Navigator’s ambitious plan for growth and diversification, and has bolstered its strategic position in the tissue market, where in just eight years it has established itself as the second largest player in Iberia, with total annual production capacity of 165,000 tons and annual converting capacity of 180 thousand tons.”

In 2023, tissue sales proved significantly resilient, and there was sustained growth in demand for Navigator’s finished products, despite the contraction of demand in Western Europe (down 2.9%, first eleven months), especially in the second half.

The volume of tissue sales (finished product and reels) totalled 142 thousand tons in 2023, representing an increase in volume of 40% in relation to 2022, whilst the value of sales grew by 49%.

This success was boosted by the integration of the new mill in the second quarter, changing its name to Navigator Tissue Ejea.

The company said: “We nonetheless remained committed to investment and innovation in all the sectors in which we operate and have continued to exploit opportunities for growth with distinctive value in tissue, packaging and energy.”