Paper firm announces huge losses

Tullis Russell paper mill
Tullis Russell paper mill

There will be little in the way of festive cheer for the management of Tullis Russell after the company announced an opperating loss of £1.7 m.

The employee-owned paper manufacturers based in Markinch announced a pre-tax operating loss of £1.7m for the year to March 2013, compared to losses of £1.3m the previous year.

The company is now hoping the £200m investment into the construction of a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Biomass plant will start to bring a return when it is completed early in 2014.

Chris Parr, group chief executive, told the Gazette it had been a difficult year for the industry.

“As expected, market conditions remained exceptionally challenging over the past year, with the ongoing paradox of lower global demand but higher input costs,” said Mr Parr.

He added: “Beyond building sustainability for the future through the CHP biomass plant, we have responded decisively to these pressures by expanding our global footprint.

“Sales in Asia are up by 46 per cent and 40 per cent in North America, which has helped deflect falling sales in the UK and in wider Europe.

“We expect the market conditions facing our 
industry to remain extremely difficult in the year ahead which, coupled with the global economic uncertainty, 
will make for another challenging year.”

The new biomass plant will provide Tullis Russell with all its steam and electricity requirements, which the company said would allow it to compete more effectively in international markets.

Mr Parr is now looking for the new plant to reverse fortunes.

“The benefits which our biomass plant will bring, our commitment to tight cost control, efficiency improvements, strict pricing and strategic focus should restore the business to profit,” said Mr Parr.