Like its competitors UPM has been buying and divesting businesses as it adjusts to a more competitive market in the paper and packagingindustry. Over the past six weeks the company has been caught up in a crippling lockout at Finland's pulp and paper mills.
With the sale of Loparex, UPM will focus on developing its paper converting business on pressure-sensitive labels, radio frequency identification tags (RFID), paper packaging and insulation.
UPM will remain Europe's leading supplier of pressure-sensitive labels, which includes a new product that indicates the freshness of a food. The company's labels are produced at plants in Europe the US, Australia, Malaysia, China and South Africa. The company's converting unit also develops RFID transponders at a plant in Finland.
The company's speciality papers are used for flour and sugar bags, high-performance sacks, fashion and carrier bags, envelopes and for flexible packaging. The company is the third largest producer of packaging papers in Europe.
Loparex will be sold to Mountaintop Investments, a capital investment unit of ABN Amro, for about €230m. The unit is a leading producer of silicon materials for hygiene products, labels andindustrial applications. The company's production plants are located in Finland, the UK, the Netherlands, the US, China and India.
In August 2004, UPM sold Brooks Group, a Irish building material merchant, for € 213m. In September 2003, UPM sold its bulk container operations for a loss of €4m. In October 2002, the groupsold its packaging films business for a gain of €14m. During the same period the group made acquisitions amounting to €36m.
UPM is focusing its businesses on magazine papers, newsprint, fine and speciality papers, converting materials for labels and packaging, and wood products. The company has plants in 16 countriesand had a turnover of €10bn.