AU COEUR DES VILLES, France – Paper industry news outlet, ENP Publishing Company, recently interviewed Sylvamo chief executive officer, Jean-Michel Ribiéras, for the June/July issue of its French stationary and office supplies magazine, La Papeterie.
La Papeterie focused the questions on introducing Sylvamo and its European brands, REY ® and HP Papers. They also asked Ribiéras for his thoughts on the uncoated freesheet – high ink-retaining printing paper – market.
Read an interview excerpt in English below or in French on the La Papeterie website, courtesy of author Valérie Lechiffre*:
VL: At the end of 2020, International Paper announced it wanted to separate its graphic paper and packaging activities. What prompted this decision?
JMR: The spinoff enhances the strategic flexibility and focus for long-term success and value creation at both companies.
We are all-in on uncoated freesheet, the largest and most resilient paper segment globally with the highest number of end-use applications used in all sectors of the economy. That includes healthcare, education, finance, insurance and government. The total demand for uncoated freesheet exceeds all other printing and writing grades combined.
VL: What does Sylvamo represent today?
JMR: Sylvamo is the world’s paper company with mills in Europe, Latin America and North America. Our vision is to be the employer, supplier and investment of choice. We transform renewable resources into papers that people depend on for education, communication and entertainment. Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, the company employs more than 7,000 colleagues. Net sales for 2021 were $3.5 billion.
The name Sylvamo speaks to the company’s connection to trees and highlights its role as a steward of sustainable forests. Sylvamo combines the Latin words for forest, “silva,” and love, “amo.” Company leaders translate this unique combination as “love of forests.”
VL: What changes for customers who worked with International Paper before the spinoff?
JMR: We value the trusted relationships with our customers. We always do the right things, in the right way, for the right reasons. We leverage a deep understanding of end-use segments and customers’ businesses to help them succeed.
VL: More generally, how do you see the printing and graphics paper market in the years to come?
JMR: We feel we have the right plan to be successful as an independent, publicly traded company. We have a winning formula of competitive advantages.
Low-cost mills in the most attractive, highest margin regions
Iconic brands and strategic channel partners
Cross-regional synergies, unlike any other producer
Best-in-class commercial and operational teams
We’re confident we can generate robust free cash flow and create long-term value.
*Article from Valérie Lechiffre, published in “La Papeterie Magazine” – ENP Publishing Group – June-July 2022.