One of the biggest investment projects ever seen in Russia has been officially opened by Kronospan Holdings Ltd.

The €180m laminate flooring and MDF plant in the Egorievsk district is the company’s first venture in Russia and is one of its largest projects in Europe. It is planned that further investment will bring capital expenditure to €300m.

Kronospan Russia was given the go ahead for the plant in January 2002 when investment agreement was reached with the Moscow Region government. The building was completed in July 2003 and construction of the first-stage production line began. In March this year, the Moscow Region governor Boris Gromov officially opened the facility in the presence of both Russian and foreign political and financial guests.

And an impressive project it is too. As well as producing laminate flooring and MDF with a wide range of products and decors, Kronospan Russia manufactures wall panels and laminated MDF. The design and layout of the plant and equipment are based on a model Kronospan has used around the world.

Hubert Weiss, a director of Kronospan Russia, said that at the time of the official opening, the annual capacity of fully operating equipment amounted to 12 million m2 of flooring and 200,000m3 of MDF. There are plans to put a second assembled MDF line and glue production plant into operation and on July 18 Kronospan held a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of the next phase of development at Egorievsk – a particleboard plant with an annual production capacity of around 750,000m3. This plant will mainly supply the furniture industry and a large furniture enterprise will be set up alongside, which the authorities believe will act as a magnet for investors.

Formed more than 100 years ago, the company which began as a sawmill in Austria now produces more than nine million m3 of wood panels in 18 countries. It employs more than 10,000 people and has an annual turnover of over €2bn. As well as processing products, Kronospan is involved in manufacturing raw materials such as adhesive agents and decor paper.


The production technology used at Kronospan Russia enables the company to process low-grade, technological wood and wood-processing waste. Mr Weiss said the company is careful to combine conformity to world production quality and norms with careful treatment of Russia’s natural resources.

Kronospan is keenly aware of sustainability and social issues and has Forest Stewardship Council chain of custody certification. Production in Egorievsk relies totally on the wood from thinnings from Russian forest.

Mr Weiss said special emphasis is put on environmental protection and ecology and both the products and the production methods meet high international demands and have been proved to be safe in every respect.

State-of-the-art air cleansing filters have been installed at the Egorievsk factory which also has a water plant meeting Russia’s highest standards.

Waste conversion

The plant operates without any waste products – all non-usable materials are thermally recycled and converted into heat energy.

All the installations at the plant – most of which come from Germany – are fully computerised and both MDF production and flooring lamination are continuous processes. Despite the large degree of automation, 350 jobs have been created.

But, said Mr Weiss, it is not only the manufacturing of the product that creates jobs – administration and marketing account for positions too, with sales taking place all over Russia and the CIS countries.

Kronospan Russia believes that for every job in the factory another 8-10 are created indirectly, and once all the expansion plans, including the new furniture factory, are in place, around 10,000 people could benefit directly or indirectly from the company’s Russian connection.