The RISI Top 50 Power List 2011: 21 - 30

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The RISI Top 50 Power List 2011: 21 - 30

July 07, 2011 - 21:00

BRUSSELS, July 8, 2011 (RISI) -The RISI Top 50 Power List 2011: 21 - 30

21. Gary McGann,Smurfit Kappa

The Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) is Europe's biggest producer of containerboard, corrugated containers and some other paper-based packaging products such as solid board. With its headquarters in Ireland, the group has a multitude of operations around the globe with 349 operating facilities in 30 countries predominantly making and converting containerboard and corrugated packaging. In the latest PPI Top 100 published in September 2010, the company came in at eighth largest globally in terms of turnover at over $7 billion with a production output of around 5 million tonnes paper.

Gary McGann, CEO of Smurfit Kappa continues to receive mentions from financial analysts due to his successful management over recent challenging times. McGann joined the Jefferson Smurfit Group in 1998 as CFO, but has had a varied and high profile career in other industries in Ireland, including CEO of Gilbeys and the Aer Lingus airline.

22. Son of Black Liquor

Riding close behind the first wave of payouts for the use of cellulosic biofuels, (the industry has been burning black liquor for decades) the pulp and paper industry in the US finds itself the receivers of yet another tax windfall in the shape of Cellulosic Biofuel Producer Credits.

The first payout added up to somewhere in the region of $6 billion, making some struggling paper industry companies' profit and loss accounts look quite healthy as they received the tax breaks. The second payouts can be applied in future years, and could slash tax bills once more up to 2015.

The Son of Black Liquor became briefly famous this year when it hit the headlines in the Washington Post, which described the giveaway as a "new binge of tax breaks" for the US pulp and paper industry.

23. Chen Hongguo,Shandong Chenming Paper

Shandong Chenming Paper is one of those companies that the RISI news team in Asia is constantly trying to keep up with.... and the company's fast expansion pace doesn't make it easy to keep track. The company was recently named on PPI magazine's "Five Companies to Watch" list for 2011, mainly because of the ongoing ambitious growth plans being carried out by Chen Hongguo and his team.

The company started out as a state-owned enterprise with just one mill, and is now a state of the art operation with fully owned facilities in various locations. In 2008 it announced the world-scale Zhanjiang pulp project, a 700,000 tonne/yr BHK mill in Guangdong province. The pulp mill will also see the integration of a 450,000 tonne/ yr fine paper machine, both set to come on stream this year. The mill will be fed by the company's own fast growing plantations of eucalyptus. The company took over the pulp project in 2005 after Finnish giant UPM abandoned the scheme.

Another new area of expansion is into tissue production in China. The company has recently begun trial runs on a large tissue machine, supplied by Andritz at its mill in Shouguang city, Shandong province. The unit is part of Shandong Chenming's first foray into tissue production. The company has also install a variety of converting equipment which will see it supply toilet rolls, kitchen towel, facial tissue and napkins for the growing market domestic market.

24. Teresa Presas,CEPI

As described elsewhere in this article, the fear of food being contaminated due to packaging is a great concern to the industry. In her role of managing director of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) Teresa Presas has always been up front with issues of concern.

In early 2011, the issue of mineral oils migrating out of packaging arose. Presas said that the industry was taking the issue seriously. Speaking to, she said: "Eliminating the root cause is the most sustainable option and we have been in dialogue with stakeholders about phasing out materials containing mineral oils by taking steps such as the reformulation of inks."

Presas also presides over the European pulp and paper industry responses to EU climate change policies. In the short term, the industry has to work hard on the 2020 policy which means an increase in the use of 20% more renewable fuels, 20% increases in energy efficiency, and a 20% reduction in carbon emissions. CEPI is also looking at the long term, 2050 and beyond, as the EU implements the Copenhagen accord which aims to reduce global warming by 2 degrees.

CEPI continues to grow under Presas' leadership with Slovenia recently becoming the latest country to join its ranks.

25. Matias Domeyko,Arauco

Having led the company through perhaps its worst crisis ever, the severe earthquake that rocked Chile in 2010, president and CEO Domeyko has his sights set firmly on the future. Still, Arauco's efforts in helping the communities cope with the disaster and in helping rebuild cannot be underestimated. With all mills now repaired and running, the focus is on new projects.

Preparatory work has started on the new Arauco:Stora Enso joint venture pulp mill in Montes del Plata, Uruguay. The $1.9 billion project is scheduled to start up in 2013 and produce 1.3 million tonnes/yr of bleached hardwood kraft pulp at capacity. The company will invest $850 million this year covering investments in forest operations, its panel mill as well as the Uruguayan project.

Arauco is also looking to expand the Valdivia mill, adding 20% more capacity, to 660,000 tonnes/yr. Arauco ended its challenging year last year by winning RISI's Business Strategy of the Year predominantly due to its remarkable turnaround from the earthquake, restarting all of its mills and continuing its expansion plans.

26. Marcelo Castelli,Fibria

Coming up through the ranks where he held myriad responsibilities, most lately paper business, strategy and supply, foresty operations and technology, Castelli should be well-prepared to take over the reins of the world largest market pulp producer with a capacity of more than five million tonnes/yr of pulp. Castelli was also instrumental in overseeing the merger of the two giants, VCP and Aracruz, which made up Fibria. He was set to take over the seat of power on July 1 from Carlos Aguiar who moves to the board of directors.

Under Castelli, Fibria is prepared to grow further with pulp projects both expansion of existing mills and greenfield. The company is also looking to sell its paper assets. Castelli acknowledged that becoming CEO is a "tremendous challenge", but his more than 25 years of experience in the pulp and paper industry stands him in good stead.

Former leaders of Fibria, Jose Luciano Penido and Carlos Aguiar also continue to be hugely influential in the Latin American pulp and paper industry."

27. Randy Nebel,Longview Fibre

Longview was honored with last year's PPI Managing Risk and Safety - Company of the Year Award, a recognition that was as much for the company as for Nebel, its president. Acquired by Brookfield Asset Management in 2007, Nebel took over leadership in 2009 after joining Longview as mill manager a year earlier.

Overseeing a complete restructuring, Nebel implemented a culture of safety that produced remarkable results at the mill. "We no longer make products that don't make money," said Nebel. Nebel trimmed the number of products from about 220 to 70 grades, and moved into producing higher value grades, helping to solidify Longview's hold as North America's largest kraft paper producer and a regional West Coast containerboard power. But Nebel also began looking at new markets that bring profits, such as exploring biomass energy.

Earlier this year, Brookfield announced their intention to sell the Longview mill. A sale, in hopes of returning the acquisition investment, would represent a major turnaround for Longview. For Nebel, it would mark an exceptional accomplishment of growing a business in one of the toughest economies.

28. Hernán Rodríguez,Empresas CMPC

Hernán Rodríguez is the new CEO of Chilean producer Empresas CMPC, however, he is not new to either the company, or the industry. Rodríguez left university 24 years ago and went straight into a career at CMPC, 24 years later he is still there, and at the top.

Taking over from Arturo Mackenna, the former CEO of the company, Rodríguez now heads a company where new projects abound. The company has been working to start up its Santa Fe pulp line 2 by the end of this year which will see capacity rise to 1.4 million tonnes/yr as well as the expansion of its Laja pulp mill where capacity will increase to 360,000 tonnes/yr. There are also expansion projects ongoing that will see capacity increase at the Guaiba mill, Brazil which will see capacity increase to 1.5 million tonnes/yr.

In an exclusive interview with RISI recently Rodríguez said: "It is an enormous responsibility to take on, but I have assumed the role with conviction that we will be able to successfully continue what is in progress". The company is also expanding in the areas of tissue and plywood.

29. Chad Wasilenkoff,Fortress Paper

A self-described contrarian investor, Fortress Paper CEO Chad Wasilenkoff is reaping the benefits of his business philosophy. "Forest products was out of favor," he told PPI, "which is a good time to invest." Already the owner of two security paper mills in Europe, he jumped in with both feet when he saw an opportunity to get into the rapidly expanding dissolving pulp market, by buying the bankrupt Thurso, QC, market pulp mill for a song and is now converting it to make DP. The accolades have piled up recently for Wasilenkoff.

As one wag said, he did something no one thought was possible from forest products: he made money (and not the banknote paper that comes off his paper machines in Europe). Among the honors he has achieved recently: 2010 Pacific Ernst &Young Entrepreneur of the Year; selection as one of BNN's top newsmakers of the year, which recognizes game changing business leaders in Canada; and 2010 BC Business Overall Entrepreneur of the Year. Wasilenkoff and Fortress are still on the lookout for other acquisitions and as he has shown, he is not bound by geography.

30. Wolfgang Palm,Paper Paper

A visit by the Queen of England to the King's Lynn mill may not be the most important moment for CEO Wolfgang Palm and his company, but it certainly ranks as one of the most memorable. Home to PM 7, the widest newsprint machine in the world and a market changer for the European region, Palm helped push newsprint imports down by nearly 13% in 2010.

Stepping in last year to acquire former Abitibi Bowater-owned assets, Palm Paper created Palm Recycling, which now supplies more than 50% of the raw materials needed for the King's Lynn mill. To meet a future goal of 80%, Palm hopes to expand in both commercial and local authority markets. Dr. Palm, who is the fourth generation of his family to run Palm Paper, is also president of the German Pulp and Paper Association.

The RISI Top 50 Power List: Introduction

The RISI Top 50 Power List: 1 - 10

The RISI Top 50 Power List: 11 - 20

The RISI Top 50 Power List: 31 - 40

The RISI Top 50 Power List: 41 - 50