Mr. V. Välimaa
Kalliotie 2
tel. +358  30 624 2424
faxnr. +358 30 624 2420

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Papermerchanting in Finland in 2012


Economic situation


In 2012 the economic growth was on a very low level. Continuing euro-zone difficulties and increasing structural problems of the manufacturing industries will challenge the national economy also during the coming years. When adding to this equation very unfavourable age pyramid, both private and public sector are inevitably facing fundamental structural changes. Public sector deficit (=borrowing) has been cushioning the poor private sector development so far but this cannot continue for too long. Former biggest manufacturing industries ICT and paper have been cutting down considerably their production capacity in Finland (e.g. paper industry 25% during the past seven years). In general, manufacturing industries are mainly specialised in investment goods and when main export markets have been traditionally EU-countries and due the low investment growth in Europe, the demand has naturally been on a low level. Statistically the biggest export industry sector for the first time in history during 2012 was chemical industry. For the competitiveness of the industries the higher salary increases than in the competing countries have worsened the situation.

Rising unemployment (presently 7,8%, forecast for 2013 8,4%) and rapidly increasing pension costs are putting pressure for the change of present unemployment benefit system and for the change of retirement age (officially starting from 63). Politically both issues are difficult but unavoidable to neglect.



Paper merchanting


The four paper merchants operating on the Finnish market are Antalis, Papyrus, Pyroll (member of Igepa) and Turun Kirjekuoritehdas (owned by Intermail). These cover more than 99% of the Finnish folio sheet merchant market in Finland.  Eugropa statistics include  approximately 95% of the total merchant volume (Turun Kirjekuoritehdas is missing).

Further declining total market volumes ( 2012 decrease of 7-9%) and strongly increasing transportation costs are putting pressure towards merchants' operational models. The trend is within public sector and big corporations to move to e-services and e-billing using even environmental argumentations to expedite the process. Also a major drop in the end use areas has taken place in advertising brochures when internet advertising (banners, catalogues) have caused the demand for WFC drop the most during the past few years. Also the public sector has successfully moved most of the documentation and significant part of the services to e-solutions. In order to have needed critical mass the paper merchants have been redefining their operational models to match the permanently declined paper demand and entering into complementing business areas. In order to continue do profitable paper business in the long run the industry has to start to challenge seriously present operating models and service levels.


Printing industry


The turnover of the Finnish printing industry (sheet-fed offset) stayed flat during 2012 which must be considered positive as such for the printers. However, the price war still continues causing significant financial stress to all players in the graphical chain, especially paper merchants and printing ink manufactures, due to declining printing volumes. At the same time the number of printed jobs has been even increasing due to print-on-demand based on better data base management. Successful printers have also widened their offer to other areas than just printing whilst traditional printers are stuck with the low price level and the consequences following.