Sappi North America has concluded a $165m rebuild of Paper Machine 1 at its Somerset Mill in Skowhegan, Maine, US, to gain a foothold in paperboard packaging.

The development marks the diversification of the paper-based packaging solutions provider’s product packaging portfolio with entry into the paperboard packaging space.

The year-long rebuild is part of Sappi’s investment at the Somerset Mill to pursue growth in paperboard packaging, while maintaining its strong position in the graphic paper market.

With the investment, the mill’s annual production capacity increased to nearly one million tonnes per year.

The new paperboard grades are set to provide luxury packaging and folding carton applications.

Sappi North America president and CEO Mark Gardner said: “We are excited to bring Paper Machine 1 back online after a successful rebuild over the last year.

“Thanks to an extraordinary amount of work and effort by everyone involved throughout the year, we now look forward to bringing new, innovative paper-based packaging solutions to the market.

“Somerset is a world-class mill, and this rebuild will allow us to continue providing high-quality packaging and graphics solutions to the market as the standard Sappi is known for.”

“This rebuild will allow us to continue providing high-quality packaging and graphics solutions to the market.”

The company noted that the new product lines will be available to clients around the globe and are expected to provide convertors with better colour consistency, printability and downstream performance.

Sappi North America Packaging and Specialties Business vice-president Deece Hannigan said: “We are committed to bringing high-quality, innovative and sustainable products to the market that meet a variety of packaging needs.

“This diversification of our packaging line brings us closer to meeting the goals set in our 2020Vision, while continuing to meet customer needs around the globe.”

Sappi’s product offering spans four categories, including, coated printing papers, specialised cellulose, release papers, and speciality packaging.