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25 years as part of the Felix Schoeller Group: the Weissenborn mill celebrates its anniversary

On 12 September 2015, 800 employees, their families and guests celebrated the fact that the Weissenborn mill has been part of the Felix Schoeller Group for 25 years. The Osnabrück-based manufacturer of specialty papers acquired the mill, which is near Freiberg in Saxony in the former East Germany, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Hans-Michael Gallenkamp, who was the company‘s Chief Executive Officer for many years and now chairs its advisory board, paid tribute to the mill’s evolution, calling it a great success story and thanking the employees for their support, commitment and huge loyalty to the company. Gallenkamp sees the purchase of the mill 25 years ago as a key component of the company’s strategy at the time, which involved concentrating fully on the production of photographic base papers. “We already held a leading position in the Western markets but we were not able to make inroads into the markets of Eastern Europe. The Weissenborn mill was already an established supplier in these markets,” Gallenkamp recalls.

During the last 25 years, the company has invested over 350 million euros in the Weissenborn mill. That has financed, for example, an expansion in the paper machine’s capacity and enabled two coaters and two extrusion coating facilities to be built, as well as an ultramodern slitting facility. “The fully-integrated production system, which comprises four value added steps under one roof - from base paper production and polyethylene or aqueous coating through to slitting - is unparalleled anywhere in the world and gives us an inestimable competitive advantage in the photo imaging and digital media markets,” Dr Bernhard Klofat, the Felix Schoeller Group’s CEO explains.

During the anniversary celebrations, the mill’s manager Volker Barth recalls the flood of the century that hit the mill and the workforce so severely in 2002. That event is so prominent in his mind because he had only just been appointed as manager of the Weissenborn mill at the beginning of the year. The support he received at the time from the employees made a lasting impression on him.

For Matthias Grössig, who chairs both the Weissenborn works council and the works council of the German Schoeller Group, the recruitment drive of recent years connected with the expansion of the mill into a fully integrated manufacturing facility for photo and digital media papers is one of the best memories of his entire career.

Concluding his comments, Bernhard Klofat called upon all the employees to maintain their willingness to embrace change and their determination to produce the very best performance possible – completely in line with the company’s motto: Best Performing Papers. Worldwide.