The reason for the drastic action is the cessation of the long-year business relations with its customer, Fujifilm. At the end of August, completely out of the blue, the Japanese imaging company announced the signing of a cooperation agreement with Schoeller’s competitor, Mitsubishi Paper Mills, which will become Fujifilm’s exclusive supplier of photographic base papers. Since it was founded more than 25 years ago, the Dutch Fujifilm plant in Tilburg has been supplied with these specialty imaging papers exclusively by Felix Schoeller. As a result of Fujifilm’s decision, Schoeller will lose 30 percent of its photo paper business within two years – equivalent to around 40,000 tons a year. The repercussions will be confined to Schoeller’s headquarters in Osnabrück with its paper machine 1, which has been specially designed to produce photo base papers. When the business with Fujifilm finally ends in 18 months, Felix Schoeller will be left with only one major customer for photographic base paper – the Eastman Kodak company.
For the conversion of paper machine 1, which went into operation in 1986 as the world’s largest photo base paper machine, Felix Schoeller intends to invest 30 million euros over the next two years. The company produces not only photo base paper but also inkjet and thermal paper for the imaging industry and high-tech decor papers for the furniture industry. Felix Schoeller claims to be the world market leader in these specialty decorative papers, which are used among other things for laminate flooring.