The Schumacher Packaging Group, one of Europe's leading manufacturers of corrugated and solid board packaging solutions, is planning its largest investment program since it was founded in 1948. Around 700 million euros are to be invested by 2025 - 300 million euros in Germany alone. While investments in the packaging industry and in medium-sized companies in general are currently at a very low level due to global raw material shortages and price increases, the company is taking an unusual approach: despite the difficult economic situation on the world markets, the packaging specialist is investing in the construction and expansion of corrugated board plants and paper mills as well as in sustainable future technologies, thus setting the course for the future. With the investment package, the company also aims to create around 500 new jobs by 2025, more than half of which will be at German production sites.
The aim of the ambitious investment offensive is to be able to meet the growing demand for customized packaging solutions in the short and long term as a result of the e-commerce boom and to further increase the company's competitiveness. For 2021, the Schumacher Packaging Group expects sales of around 800 million euros - by 2025, it anticipates a significant growth to 1.3 billion euros.
Fit for the future
More than half of the planned investments (around 400 million euros) will go into expanding existing plants. The corrugated board plant in Greven, in the immediate vicinity of Münster-Osnabrück Airport, will be expanded into a next-generation multi-mega plant faster than originally planned. By 2022, it will be one of the world's largest production facilities and, with a production capacity of 600 million m2 per year, will replace the Ebersdorf headquarters as Europe's largest corrugated board plant to date. The planned expansion of the company's own paper capacities will also be brought forward to 2022/2023. About 300 million euros of the investment sum will be invested in new plants.
Investments in sustainable technologies of the future
The modernization offensive also includes investments in sustainable technologies of the future. The packaging specialist is planning to build several state-of-the-art wind and solar energy parks in Poland and Germany with a total capacity of ten megawatts in the short term and expansion to up to 40 megawatts in the medium term. All of the company's German plants, as well as those in Wroclaw, Poland, and Breda, the Netherlands, are already certified for sustainability by EcoVadis.
Boom in online retailing continues
The main reason for the booming demand in the packaging industry is the growing online trade. As retailers had to close temporarily due to the pandemic, there was a massive increase in e-commerce. In Germany alone, B2C online retail sales in 2020 were 72.8 billion euros - an increase of 23 percent on the previous year (59.2 billion euros). The trend appears to be unbroken: the German Retail Association (HDE) expects a further increase in 2021.