A $60 million expansion of the SCA Kawerau Tissue Site was officially opened by the Prime Minister John Key this morning, marking a new era for the iconic Eastern Bay of Plenty facility.
President of SCA Hygiene Australasia (SCA HA), Peter Diplaris says the expansion will secure a Kiwi-made future for the nation's favourite brands of toilet and towel tissue, and boost local exports of some products.
"Kiwis who have grown up with household names such as Purex and Handee as well as professional hygiene brands such as Tork, can feel good knowing the tissues are Kiwi-made under the highest quality standards while utilising the renewable forestry stocks of the Bay of Plenty and sustaining more than 200 jobs here in Kawerau," Mr Diplaris said.
The expansion includes a new 13,000 m2 tissue conversion hall, a 55 metre long state-of-the art Italian made tissue winding' machine and robotised packing and dispatch. This is a major strategic investment for the Australasian company, a joint venture of Swedish-based SCA - a global paper and hygiene company - and PEP - a leading Australian private equity fund with expertise in the FMCG sector.
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"This expansion secures a long term future for our Kawerau site as the sustainable supplier for the New Zealand and Australian markets. It also confirms the site's significant export role with an estimated 2,600 containers of product exported through the Port of Tauranga each year," Mr Diplaris said.
Total output from the site will initially increase by the equivalent of 66 forty foot containers each week with a further 11 per week to be added from the 2015 year onwards. The increased efficiency of the Kawerau site will add to the significant gains made in sustainability over recent years.
In 2009 the site converted its steam heat source for its papermaking process from steam generated by natural gas fired boiler to geothermal steam in a ground-breaking partnership with the Ngati Tuwharetoa iwi, contributing to a 45 per cent reduction in annual total CO2 emissions since the changeover to geothermal steam.
Mr Diplaris said that the skilled, knowledgeable and committed local workforce was a further factor in the company's decision to invest in the Kawerau facility.
"I wish to pay particular tribute to the project team, site employees and the army of local and international suppliers. We have kept everyone safe through more than 175,000 hours of work while also delivering this major undertaking on time and on budget."