(Adds Bueno's statement in paragraph 5, details of Council's
presentation in paragraphs 6-7)
SAO PAULO, April 20 Finland's Stora Enso Oyj
, Europe's biggest paper maker, may consider expanding
in Brazil depending on whether the government eases legal and
regulatory uncertainty for pulp and paper producers, a company
executive told Valor Econômico newspaper.
In an interview published on Thursday, Juan Carlos Bueno,
Stora Enso's executive vice president for biomaterials, told
Valor that growing the Veracel Celulose venture hinges on how
the government deals with issues like landless peasants'
activism or existing limits on foreign land ownership.
Veracel is owned equally by Helsinki-based Stora Enso and
Fibria Celulose SA, the world's largest eucalyptus
pulp producer. A recent gain in Brazil's currency, the real
, has mostly annulled the impact of price hikes that
pulp producers implemented in previous months, Bueno told Valor.
Bueno's remarks underscored the importance of Latin America
for Stora Enso’s strategy to obtain low-cost pulp from tree
In an email to Reuters, Bueno confirmed remarks made to
Valor. "My quotes are correct, but as we always look for
expansion opportunities globally it is a hypothetical statement
and should thus be interpreted as such," Bueno wrote.
Brazil's pulp and paper industry could potentially lure $23
billion in investments between 2012 and 2020, the Swedish Trade
& Invest Council said in a February 2016 presentation, citing
2015 figures from Ibá, the Brazilian tree association. The
Council could not provide a more recent estimate, saying that
adverse economic conditions and a different exchange rate could
affect the estimate and investment decisions.
Those investments could help double Brazil's forestry base,
increase existing plants and build new ones. In Brazil,
Veracel's average annual pulp production is 1.1 million tonnes.
(Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Frances Kerry and Alistair