Whakatane Mill (WML), a New Zealand-based coated paperboard supplier, has received a substantial private investment to boost its future growth.

The company has secured total funding of NZ$70m ($43.4m) from its shareholders, a report by Scoop noted.

This is the most significant capital expenditure for WML since 2004.

The new investment will be used to provide major upgrades to the company, allowing it to reinforce its commitment to growth.

As part of its upgrade plans, WML will focus on boosting its overall production capacity from the existing 150,000 tonnes (t) to 200,000t, with the addition of 50,000t of premium folding box boards.

This increased production capacity will lay the foundation for the supplier’s future plans to manufacture up to 300,000t of folding box board.

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The company also said it will ensure that the production process is more environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, and consumes fewer raw materials in its operations.

WML executive chair Ian Halliday said: “As the largest private employer in Whakatane, with an 80-year history of exporting, this moment is a significant step towards a bright, positive, and sustainable future for WML.”

The expansion plan will also involve the establishment of a fully automated Finnish-made paper wrap line, as well as the upgrade of various equipment imported from Europe’s highly specialised manufacturers.

The company has sourced core equipment for its board machine, specifically a water removal/drying section from Germany while a crucial heat recovery system has been procured from Italy.

WML has already started construction of the new wrap line, with full production capabilities expected in November this year.

A total of 50 contracting companies from across the Bay of Plenty are involved in this upgrade, alongside 400 on-site contractors for the installation of approximately 45km of cable and 5.5km of piping.

Once complete, the upgrades will allow WML to enhance its sustainability efforts, with 30% less gas consumption, make a significant decrease in its water consumption from the local river, and achieve 30% energy efficiency per tonne of board.