The Pulp Division comprises all Lenzing Group business activities from wood procurement through to the production of dissolving wood pulp and biorefinery products. In addition to the production activities in Paskov (Czech Republic) and Lenzing, the focus of the division in 2022 was on the start-up and ramp-up of the pulp mill in Brazil. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, this investment project largest – the largest in the company’s history – was completed on time and within budget. Lenzing holds 51 percent of the joint venture LD Celulose, which was established for the construction of the plant.
The new pulp mill, which is the world’s largest of its kind with a nominal capacity of 500,000 tonnes per year, strengthens Lenzing’s self-sufficiency in dissolving wood pulp and thereby also its growth in the specialty fibers area in line with the company’s strategy. It is also one of the most productive and energy-efficient plants in the world and feeds surplus electricity into the public grid as renewable energy. To provide the biomass, LD Celulose secured over 44,000 hectares of FSC®-certified commercial forest, and leased additional land, in order to have approximately 70,000 hectares of FSC®-certified forest area when completed.8 These plantations operate in full accordance with the Lenzing’s guidelines and high standards for wood and pulp sourcing.
In October, the pulp project of Lenzing and LD Celulose was awarded a special prize in the category “Transformative Solutions for Climate Change” at the Transformational Business Award 2022, an award endowed by the Financial Times and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group.
In line with the corporate strategy that it has further developed, Lenzing will further strengthen the topic of recycling and thereby accelerate the transformation of the textile and nonwovens industries from a linear to a circular economy model. Lenzing has proactively developed and promoted innovations in recycling for several years (such as the REFIBRA™ and Eco Cycle technologies) in order to provide solutions to the global textile waste problem. Since 2021, Lenzing has been working with Swedish pulp producer Södra to jointly develop new processes for the recycling of used textiles. The two companies are planning to expand their capacities to recover pulp from waste textiles. The aim is to be able to recycle approximately 25,000 tonnes of used textiles per year by 2025. In order to accelerate the transformation, Lenzing signed a multi-year supply agreement with Swedish recycling pioneer Renewcell in the year under review. The agreement is for a period of five years and includes the purchase of 80,000 to 100,000 tonnes of Circulose® brand 100 percent recycled textile pulp.
The Pulp Division’s external revenue reached a level of EUR 466.9 mn in 2022. Divisional earnings (EBITDA) amounted to EUR 310 mn, and operating earnings (EBIT) stood at EUR 221.1 mn.
The negative trends in energy markets due to the Ukraine war also had a significant impact on the wood market. Higher demand for firewood, pellets and forest biomass significantly limited the availability of industrial wood, which also caused prices to rise sharply.
It was not until the end of the year under review that prices began to stabilize slightly.
The Lenzing Group’s current procurement strategy entailing long-term master agreements achieved a good stabilizing effect on volumes and prices. As a consequnce, Lenzing was able to supply its pulp sites in Lenzing (Austria) and Paskov (Czech Republic) with sufficient wood during the reporting period.
In 2022, audits in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) forest certification systems confirmed again for both sites that, in addition to stringent forestry laws in the supplier countries, all wood used derives from PEFC™ and FSC® certified or controlled sources.9
The Pulp Division supplies the Lenzing Group’s fiber production sites with high-quality dissolving wood pulp and operates its own fiber pulp plants at the Lenzing, Paskov and Indianópolis (Brazil) sites. The new pulp mill in Brazil was successfully started up in 2022. The ramp-up of production took place as expected by the end of 2022. The extent of self-sufficiency thereby increased to more than 75 percent and Lenzing also established itself as a structural supplier in the global pulp market. Most of the dissolving wood pulp sourced externally is purchased on the basis of long-term contracts. A total of approximately 790,000 tonnes of dissolving wood pulp was produced at Lenzing’s pulp plants in 2022.
The price of imported hardwood-based dissolving wood pulp in China increased by 6 percent in 2022 to an average of around USD 1,045 per tonne. This year-on-year price increase was particularly due to high demand in the first half of the year, capacity shortages and continuing problems along the supply chain.
In addition to dissolving wood pulp, the Lenzing Group’s biorefineries also produce and market biorefinery products so that further components of the valuable raw material wood are utilized. Renowned customers from the food, animal feed, pharmaceutical and chemical industries increasingly rely on biobased products from Lenzing.
Lenzing continued to benefit from the trend towards greater sustainability and regional supply chains in 2022. A lifecycle analysis performed by the research institute Quantis confirmed that the carbon footprint of LENZING™ Acetic Acid Biobased is more than 85 percent smaller than that of comparable products based on fossil resources.
Revenues generated with the biorefinery products LENZING™ Acetic Acid Biobased and LENZING™ Furfural Biobased performed well, in line with the general price trend. High energy prices also led to an increase in prices and demand for LENZING™ Magnesium Lignosulphonate Biobased. Lenzing thereby strengthened a further pillar of its product portfolio in the year under review.
1 FSC license code: FSC-C175509, FSC-C165948
2 License code: FSC-C041246 and PEFC/06-33-92