Stora Enso division US headquarters move to Raceland, Louisiana

By Katie Fletcher | October 27, 2015

Finnish papermaker Stora Enso announced it is making the demonstration and market development plant it is building in Raceland, Louisiana, the Stora Enso Biomaterials divisions’ U.S. headquarters. Plans to build the Raceland plant were made following the acquisition of Virdia, a developer of extraction and separation technologies for conversion of cellulosic biomass into highly refined sugars and lignin, in 2014.

The upfront debt-free transaction value of the acquisition was approximately $33 million with additional potential payouts totaling approximately $29 million following completion of specific technical and commercial milestones by 2017. This acquisition followed the company’s lignin extraction investment at Sunila Mill in Finland.

The Raceland plant uses technology developed by Virdia and enables cellulosic biomass, such as wood or agricultural waste, to be converted into highly refined sugars. It is located in the vicinity of existing sugar cane plantations and will use bagasse waste as feedstock. Sugar cane bagasse is a sustainable, non-genetically-modified feedstock that does not compete with food. Stora Enso expects production to start in 2016.

“Stora Enso is very happy with the activities and working relationships at Raceland,” said Juan Carlos Bueno, executive vice president of Stora Enso Biomaterials division. “By moving the headquarters to Louisiana, we are increasing our presence and helping further develop biomass-based technology.  We are committed to the long-term success of the Raceland plant.” 

This news follows Stora Enso’s announcement in December that it will concentrate its new biomaterials business development in an innovation center that will be located in the Stockholm area in Sweden. According to the company, the center will boost innovation by identifying business opportunities in the renewable materials market and linking them with leading innovation and research centers in business and academia.