Lucca’s paper sector confirms its international vocation, comprised of exports as well as acquisitions on foreign markets, with the new operation in the United Kingdom by Sofidel, Europe’s second producer of tissue (paper for hygienic and domestic use).
The group announced the purchase of the Ntg Limited paper company, which further strengthens the group’s presence on that market, where it already counts three plants in Briton Ferry, Horwich and Leicester. The English market, according to the company’s 2012 books, represented approximately 17% of Sofidel’s turnover, making this market its third largest sector after Italy (22%) and Germany (17.4%). The Ntg operation will allow for an additional 32,000 tons to the current yearly productive capacity of one million and 20 thousands tons, bringing the group to the sixth rank, globally, in the tissue sector. The group’s – whose best known brand is “Regina” – total profits exceed 1.5 billion Euros, and the goal for 2013 is – as stated by managing director Luigi Lazzareschi to the Sole 24 Ore – is to exceed 1.7 billion.
The British purchase completes a 2013 that is still focused on acquisitions on foreign markets to widen the productive perimeter and the outlet markets: indeed, in April Sofidel took over – still in Britain and Ireland – the Thirst Pockets, Kitten Soft, Inversoft and Nouvelle brands, as well as the processing plant in Horwich, located between Liverpool and Manchester. Additionally, it obtained a commercializing license for the Lotus and Lotus Moltonel brands in Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg. The year 2012 had been the debut on the American market through the acquisition of Cellynne. In Tuscany, and specifically in the Lucca province, Sofidel has been present with plants at Porcari, Valdottavo, Capannori, and Bagni di Lucca, whereas another plant is located in Montefalcone, in the Gorizia province.
The Tuscan plants are located in the heart of the paper district in the Lucca province, which extends over a dozen municipalities and that – according to the statistics by Lucca’s Chamber of Commerce – includes more than one hundred companies for a comprehensive turnover of 3.5 billion Euros and 6,500 employees, both figures exclude the businesses involved in the production of machine tools for the paper sector. The production is largely comprised of tissue (approximately 1 million tons yearly) and paper for corrugators (900,000 – 1,000,000 tons yearly). Paper, alongside mechanics and shipbuilding, represents one of the primary drivers of Lucca’s exports, which are mainly geared towards European markets, beginning with France, Germany, and Holland.