BSW invests €40m in Slovenian sawmill

25 May 2018

BSW Timber has announced its latest investment of €40m in Slovenia, constructing a new sawmill, CHP plant and pellet manufacturing facility.

Representatives from BSW, including Tony Hackney, chief executive officer, were in Slovenia on May 22 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for their development plans, together with their partners, the government of the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovenian Forest Agency and other stakeholders to launch the investment.

The investment will see construction on three sites, including a modern sawmill in Gomilsko with state-of-the-art wood processing technology, the development of pellet production and wood biomass cogeneration at the Šoštanj site, and a final site in Letuš, which will focus on the production of value added products.

“After seeing the success of our Latvian sawmill we were keen to explore new opportunities within The EU,” said Mr Hackney.

“Slovenia has some of the best forests in the EU and a largely undeveloped processing sector. We are delighted to be working alongside the Slovenian government to increase the competitiveness of the country’s timber supply chain, in line with their ‘Wood is Beautiful’ strategy.

“With the developing wood shortages in UK, Slovenia is a very attractive country for us to invest in. The Slovenian government has agreed a 15-year long term contract for 120,000m3 of roundwood, which will be backed up by supply from a very supportive private sector while working with domestic sawmills.”

The location of the new mill was decided following an extensive study completed by BSW and Tilhill Forestry, part of the BSW Group, and the Slovenian Forestry Institute.

“The site in Gomilsko is the ideal location for our new sawmill, providing us with access to high quality raw material, a good history of timber processing as well as the added advantage of the site’s geographical location, very good road links and with the Port of Koper offering excellent export links,” said Alexander Brownlie, BSW’s commercial director and chairman of BSW SI.

The new sawmill will have the capacity to process an annual input in excess of 300,000m3 sawlogs, making it the largest mill in Slovenia. Its products will be available for the Slovenian market, however BSW plans to build on its successful Latvian marketing model and predominantly export to international markets, such as the UK, southern Europe, North Africa, North America and Asia.

Co-products from the Gomilsko mill will be transferred to Šoštanj where the company will invest in CHP capacity and pellet manufacturing.

“From our experience, every direct job at BSW goes on to create an additional five across a range of relating industries, such as harvesting and logistics,” said Mr Hackney. “This would mean that from our 170 new roles, up to 850 additional jobs could be created across Slovenia.

“We are really excited about the new development, and look forward to a successful future, building relationships with suppliers, stockists and the timber professionals in Slovenia over the coming years.”

BSW is set to begin construction in September 2018, with the aim to start production in early 2020.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Slovenia on May 22