Sappi North America, a leading global producer and supplier of diversified woodfibre products, has announced the approval of a $418 million capital project to convert Paper Machine No. 2 at its Somerset Mill in Skowhegan, Maine to increase its capacity and produce solid bleached sulfate board (SBS) products. The project will be funded from free cash flow.  

“This move complements our long-term Thrive25 strategy, which focuses on growing our portfolio in packaging and specialty papers, pulp and biomaterials,” said Mike Haws, President and CEO of Sappi North America. “By investing in our business to pursue growing areas of demand, we can remain profitable and competitive in the global marketplace”  

Demand for packaging and specialty papers in North America is particularly robust, especially since SBS is a more environmentally sustainable alternative to plastic packaging, and customers are actively seeking to increase their volumes with Sappi North America. SBS is used in premium packaging for cosmetics and perfume, health and beauty care, consumer electronics, confectionary, luxury drinks and more. Foodservice items such as plates, dishes and cups also use SBS as a sustainable alternative to plastic.  

“Somerset’s existing world-class infrastructure and success in producing high quality SBS products, together with its talented workforce, make the mill an excellent and obvious choice for this investment,” said Haws. “Increasing our flexibility and expanding the paper mill’s capability and capacity will ensure that we continue to make superior products at Somerset for years to come.”  

The planned project at the Somerset Mill in Maine is slated to come online early in 2025.