HELSINKI, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Finnish pulp producer Finnpulp announced on Monday that Chinese Heng'an Group has joined as an owner and investor for a planned major softwood pulp plant in Kuopio, Eastern Finland.
Heng'an Group will invest 11.7 million euros in Finnpulp and will in return obtain 36.5 percent ownership. The Chinese investor has the option of raising its ownership up to 49 percent, said Finnpulp.
The Chinese willingness to invest makes it possible to start planning of the plant, described as the "largest softwood pulp plant globally".
Earlier, Finnpulp said the production may start in 2021. The annual output of the plant would be 1.2 million tons of softwood pulp. The plant would also produce pine oil and other bioproducts as well as electricity.
The pricetag of the plan is 1.4 billion euros. The initial planning stage costs 15 million euros. The final decision to start the construction will be taken in early 2019 after the completion of the initial planning.
Niilo Pellonmaa, chairman of board of Finnpulp, told national broadcaster Yle Monday the company is looking for more industrial owners. It is possible that a public stock issue would be arranged.
The other two major owners of Finnpulp are the Central Organization of Finnish Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners(MTK), and the Finnish investment company Grizzly Hill Capital, both with 11.5 percent.