Hygienic-Products Maker Sprouts Up in Finland Pulp Project
Personal-hygiene products-maker Hengan International Group Co. Ltd. said it will buy about a third of a Finnish company that is planning to build a major pulp-producing facility, as Chinese companies extend their investment abroad under a mandate from Beijing.
The company said it will initially pay about 11.7 million euros ($14.3 million) for newly issued shares of Finnpulp, equal to about 36% of the company, according to a Monday filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Finnpulp is currently planning to build a 1.4-billion-euro pulp mill in the Finnish city of Kuopio, which will be financed with 60% debt and 40% equity.
Preparations for the massive facility are still underway, with actual construction set to take place between next year and 2021, Hengan said. Upon completion, the plant will be able to produce 1.2 million tons of northern bleached softwood sulfate kraft pulp per year, as well as other bioproducts.
Following completion of the current engineering phase, Hengan will have the right to subscribe for additional Finnpulp shares that could ultimately give it up to 49% of the Finnish company.
“The board believes that the entering into the transactions contemplated by the initial investment agreement and the shareholders’ agreement will allow the group to expand its business to the upstream pulp and bioproduct manufacturing industry to stabilize the supply of wood pulp in the future, and therefore enhance the group’s long term development,” Hengan said.
“Accordingly, the board is of the view that the entering into of the initial investment agreement and the shareholders’ agreement and the transactions contemplated thereunder are in the interests of the group and the shareholders of the company as a whole.”
The deal would be at least the second such major investment this year by a Chinese firm in Finland, a Northern European country known for its wood resources.
Last month, Anhui Shanying Paper Industry Co. Ltd. said it will invest in a major new pulp and organic products manufacturing facility in partnership with Finland’s Boreal Bioref. Under that partnership, Shanying will become the majority shareholder, operational partner and major buyer for the new facility, which will have an annual capacity for processing about 500,000 tons of wood pulp and reportedly cost more than $1 billion.
China has been pushing its companies to take their expertise to other countries under its Belt and Road Initiative, which encourages them to export their products and services to developing markets. Many projects under the fledgling program are being financed by Chinese policy-lenders and other financial institutions linked to China.
A related deal saw China’s first Belt and Road asset-backed security approved last month for Sinar Mas Paper (China) Investment Co. Ltd., which planned to issue 5.5 billion yuan ($872 million) in such securities to fund its China operations that export to countries like Egypt, India and Turkey.
Contact reporter Yang Ge (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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