In January 2013, representatives of the Department of Eure made a bold gamble which had been carefully and discretely prepared over several months. They did not want to allow a destructive industrial strategy to dismantle one of the best performing paper factories in Europe, which would have resulted in the loss of 330 jobs at the site of Alizay, Eure.
As part of an exemplary industrial operation launched on 23rd January 2013 between the Department of Eure, employees of the workers’ union and Double A (1991) Public Company Limited; the Department saved the factory with the support of the State and Region. The Department made the acquisition from M-Real before reselling the paper factory on the same day to Double A. This was the first step in the reindustrialisation of the Alizay site.
The new owner immediately sought to ensure that the production equipment was fully functioning. Through the efforts of former employees of the Alizay mill hired by Double A, the plant restarted after just four months. The first paper rolls were produced in June 2013. The reams of paper from Alizay were distributed in France and also throughout the EMEA zone.
"Double A has stuck to its commitments, which it made during the sale of assets related to the paper factory, from the time it would take to restart the factory to the number of jobs created," says the President of the Department of Eure, Jean Louis Destans.
New development prospects
Negotiations with Double A, but also with the port authorities of HAROPA – Port of Rouen, for the development of a river platform in Alizay, continued to give full scope to this recovery operation. This negotiation is now a reality with the signing of an agreement for the takeover of the assets of the pulp mill and the cogeneration plant, on the Alizay site.
“In deciding to invest again in the paper pulp plant on the Alizay site, Double A confirms its lasting presence in our Department and its willingness to make Alizay its production base for the European market. This is proof that the political intervention in industrial matters can work. The bet we made was the right one: both in terms of jobs and growth prospects”, says Jean Louis Destans.
With this sale comes the commitment to new industrial projects. Restarting the pulp plant, through the purchase of land and production facilities held so far by the Department, will allow Double A to have a fully integrated pulp and paper mill in Alizay.
“Double A is pleased to announce the purchase of pulp, co-generation and land assets, two years after the revival of the Alizay paper factory production. The successes of the re-industrialization of the Alizay site and the support of our partners and local officials have given us the confidence to take this new step. France is a key market for Double A. This recovery marks again our willingness to develop Double A in France and Europe”, said Yothin Dumnernchanvanit, President of Double A (1991).
Alizay, a strategic site for Double A
Moreover, with the cogeneration plant, Double A's objective is to produce green energy on site using wood and regional sources of biomass and the residues of the pulp manufacturing process. The economic model of the paper maker will be strengthened through this development.
The purpose of restarting the pulp and the cogeneration plants is motivated by the desire to increase Double A’s competitiveness in Europe and confirm the key role of the Alizay site in terms of Double A’s expansion plans in Africa, the Middle East and the Americas.
Finally, in addition to these operations, Haropa – Port of Rouen will carry out the construction on part of the site, of a river terminal with a capacity of 2.5 million m3 per year. This future platform will supply the Double A Alizay site with raw materials: eucalyptus imported from Thailand. The goal is to supply the plant via the river and not by road, a relevant project because of the expected volumes. It also could transport products to or from the Paris region. This future river platform is included in CPIER plan (interregional State-Region contract plan) for €4 million.
This exemplary operation ultimately works out financially even on whole for the General Council. At the same time, it is a largely positive economically, in terms of jobs and future development prospects for this part of the Seine valley.
In the future, the Department of Eure will remain an attentive partner to Double A. With the services of the State, the Department has committed to supporting the Alizay team in navigating the administrative procedures that will be needed to launch the new industrial projects.
The reindustrialization of the Alizay mill has already created around 300 jobs on the Alizay site, including 176 permanent jobs. The resumption of the pulp mill and cogeneration plant should create another 50 jobs.