High interest rates and low demand for products have presented a largely negative picture for European producers of particleboard in 2023.

The poor market situation followed a 2022 which saw markets change after the long Covid period boom when demand for furniture products exploded.

When the European Panel Federation (EPF) met for its AGM in Spain this summer, its chairman – Martin Brettenthaler (also CEO of Swiss Krono) – said that economists’ predictions of a quick rebound in business prospects after the 2022 second half reverse had been inaccurate, with interest rate reductions “nowhere in sight”.

For manufacturers it has been a case of reduced earnings and a need to manage costs and production.

Clearly, persistent high interest rates and other economic factors combined with global geo-political uncertainties have impacted consumer spending habits.

A return to growth levels is going to take longer than was originally envisaged. This WBPI survey is Part One of our annual Focus on Particleboard and concentrates on Europe and North America, primarily dealing with industry capacity but also giving market commentary.

The main survey listings feature mills’ installed capacity as at the end of December 2022.

New plants that came on line during 2023 will be added to the main listing tables next year, while plants in Asia and the rest of the world will be covered in our Part 2 survey in the following issue.

Much of the current economic background for North America can be found in our Focus on North America report featured.

Our headline statistics for installed particleboard capacity for the EU27 + the UK remain largely unchanged for the year ending of December 2022 at just under 40 million m3, while non-EU capacity has risen to 18,954,000m3.

North American capacity was down slightly to 9,137,000m3, giving a Europe and North America capacity of 67,909,000m3, slightly up on 2020 & 2021. With several new lines being completed in 2023, the capacity is on track for further improvement.

EU27 + UK

Earlier this year the EPF released its annual stats, which showed European wood-based panel production reduced by 7.8% in 2022, with consumption following a similar trend (-7%), compared to 2021.

EPF said 2022 H1 had an “OK” performance, but H2 was “not quite a catastrophe, but nearly”, with the furniture industry in particular suffering in H2 with a 5% reverse.

The report said European particleboard production reduced 6.9% in 2022 to 32.1 million m3.

The EPF said it was difficult to predict production output because of various geopolitical pressures and economic headwinds, but it expected the contraction in European PB production to slow down to 1.2% in 2023.

With reduced demand and production at many of the manufacturing customers which PB mills supply, it’s clear that mills are needing to adjust their production operations to manage the situation.

Turning to specific European PB mill capacity investment news, we find that Kronospan is currently the most active of the large international wood-based panel production groups.

Kronospan started production of a new PB mill in Tortosa, Spain in April this year. The overall €400m investment has seen a 720,000m3 annual capacity line installed, using 100% recycled wood feedstock. It is one of the largest-ever investments in the region.

The factory has been producing 600m3 per day since April. This line remains in our list of future capacity (for 2023) and will be added to the main listing next year.

Kronospan is about to complete another large project at its site in Sanem, Luxembourg, with production expected to begin in Q1, 2024.

The Siempelkamp ContiRoll 9ft x 58.7m press will have a particleboard capacity of around 3,000m3 per day or an estimated 900,000m3 annually.

Kronospan has existing MDF and OSB lines at Sanem.

Moving over to Italy, two large PB projects have been mooted for a while now. The first is another Kronospan project – a new PB mill at Kronospan Italia’s laminating site in San Vito al Tagliamento, north-east of Italy, a region with a strong concentration of manufacturers of furniture and furnishing.

The plan, first mooted in 2020, involves a 612,500m3 annual capacity PB line (1,750m3 daily) facility that would be served with recycled wood feedstock.

Originally, the mill was planned for 2023 but it has been bogged down in consultations and negotiations, with some local citizens opposing it on environmental grounds.

In the Italian newspaper Pordenone Today in March this year, the Regional Administrative Court (TAR) rejected objections from the Municipality of San Vito al Tagliamento to the plans. The latter had requested investigations, challenging the documents that allowed the expansion of the site on the Ponterosso industrial area.

The judges of the administrative court of Trieste rejected the challenge made by the municipal administration. The municipality had maintained there had not been sufficient analysis of environmental impacts such as emissions, traffic and odours.

Therefore, this project looks like it’s going ahead and from the best available information we’re estimating a completion date of late 2024 to early 2025. The other large plant in Italy which has been on the drawing board is from the Saviola Group.

Its plan is for a new PB plant at its Viadana site in Northern Italy. This project is listed in our future capacity table and we are waiting to hear more news on its timetable.

A year ago, in November 2022, the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced a €115m loan to the Saviola Group to support its research and development activities over the period 2022-2025.

The EIB’s support will help Saviola to reduce its energy consumption by 22% and promote the circular economy through the production of eco-friendly panels and 100% green furniture. The loan further helps improve the sustainability of the production phases of the company, which annually recycles some 1.5 million tonnes of postconsumer wood.

Staying in Italy, many people may have noticed at the Sicam international fair in Pordenone during October that Egger and Italian particleboard producer SAIB exhibited jointly on an 180m2 stand. SICAM focuses on finished furniture parts, accessories and semi-finished products for the furniture industry.

Their closer relationship stems from Egger taking a majority 60% ownership in SAIB in December 2022. SAIB, based in Piacenza, has two production lines with a total capacity of 600,000m3.

Egger said its investment in SAIB was an ideal match and offered great development potential for both companies.

“With the majority shareholding in SAIB, we are broadening our market access, increasing our capacity and expanding our product portfolio with Italian design expertise,” said Thomas Leissing, speaker of the Egger Group Management.

The members of the SAIB owner family are continuing to manage the plant in Caorso. At Sicam, Egger showcased its matt lacquered PerfectSense products, while SAIB presented the Premium / S collection and the Mathera collection.

Moving onto France, bio-based resins producer Evertree announced earlier this year a partnership with French panels manufacturer Seripanneaux to launch what they claim is the first 100% Made-in-France bio-based particleboard.

The move, the partners say, is a muchanticipated development for the furniture industry that will help accelerate its shift toward sustainability.

The new product is called PANTair and is made at Seripanneaux’s production site in Saint-Vincent-De-Tyrosse, south-west France. Seripanneaux specialises in the manufacture of raw and melamine-coated particleboard and has operated since 1962.

It operates out of a 10ha site in the Landes department, employing a workforce of 90, producing 120,000m3 of product each year and generating €35m in annual turnover. Seripanneaux has two production lines, with one of these producing PANTair.

Evertree told WBPI that Seripanneaux is not fully using the PANTair capacity as it’s a new range for them.

This development may not be significant in terms of additional capacity, but these environmental product trends will sure only increase in the future.

In Germany, Kronospan undertook some modernisation work at its Steinheim- Sandebeck site earlier this year, including the expansion of two PB lines, though we are currently unaware of the exact change in capacity.

Back in 2021, the manufacturer signalled a €100m investment in the site, also to involve value-added technologies such as a coating plant.

More recently in Germany, Egger announced in September the purchase of the Rauch particleboard plant in Markt Bibart (DE).

Rauch took over the chipboard plant in 1958 and produced its own chipboard for furniture manufacturing. The chipboard plant now supplies not only Rauch furniture plants but also other national and international furniture and door customers.

After the sale of the chipboard plant, the Rauch Group will focus fully on the further development of its furniture plants in order to further expand its strong market position.

The Markt Bibart location has a 650,000m3 designed capacity and will be Egger’s 22nd production plant.

“We are successfully continuing our strategy with this additional location in our core market Germany. The many years of expertise of the staff in Markt Bibart, together with the synergy effects resulting from our Group presence, enable great growth potential for the location,” Egger said.

Moving on to Sweden, there is news from Pervanovo Invest, whose focus is R&D, IP and licensing of flooring and furniture technologies.

Its business units are centred on flooring production and sales under the Bjelin brand; production of veneer for Woodura and furniture industry; manufacture and sales of mainly oak based furniture with click systems; and the production of oak components such as lamellas, elements and glued boards.

Its annual report published in June 2023 reported that development work of a new advanced wood-based core HDPB (High Density Particle Board) had been very successful. The report said ordering of production machinery and equipment to make this core could take place as soon as financing is secured.

The investment is estimated at approximately SEK2.2bn (€193m). A new production method has been developed and patented which allows the core and the veneer layers to be integrally formed in one production step and not in two steps where the core is produced in a first pressing line and transported to a second pressing line where the veneer is applied. It says this “revolutionary” integrated production method will decrease production costs and energy consumption.

Own production of high-performance and moisture-proof core materials also enables large-scale commercialization of the company’s Nadura technology where a decorative very strong wood powder layer is applied on a wood-based core.

Last not but least, West Fraser announced in September that it intends to close its particleboard plant at South Molton, Devon.

The decision has been made due to the current economy which has had a “significant impact” on the housebuilding and kitchen sector.

The value-added kitchen assembly and associated business is being sold to Benchmarx Kitchens and Joinery which will continue it on the factory site.

“The current economic climate has had a significant impact on the housebuilding and kitchen sector, and we have been forced to review operations at South Molton,” said a spokesperson for West Fraser.

“Options for the remaining parts of the South Molton site continue to be considered, however, we anticipate that a phased closure of the residual business will need to take place over the coming months.

We are committed to a full and proper consultation with employees and trade union representatives before any final decisions are made.”

West Fraser said customers would continue to be supplied from its other sites.


Turkey has been a big focus for wood-based panels investment over many years and the most recent investment is Kastamonu Entegre’s commissioning of a new PB plant in Kastamonu City. Siempelkamp says it has now achieved a hat-trick of commissionings with Kastamonu Entegre in the last three years.

The PB line produced its first board at the end of August. Nine days after this, Siempelkamp says the line was running in stable three-shift operation. This means that the total time taken from the start of installation in January 2023 to three-shift operation was around eight months.

Kastamonu ordered a forming and press line with a 7ft x 37.1m ContiRoll press. The automation, cooling and stacking line and sanding line were also included in the specification.

Other Siempelkamp lines installed for Kastamonu in the past three years include the particleboard operation at Samsun in 2020/21 and an MDF plant at Balikesir earlier this year.

Staying in Turkey, a further new particleboard plant is expected at Küpeliler Endustri’s Eskisehir site, where the installation of a Siempelkamp ContiRoll press in the format 7ft x 23.8m, extendable to 28.8m, is being installed. Annual production is estimated at about 230,000m3.

This was originally announced in 2021 and scheduled for completion in 2023 and we are awaiting further confirmation of the project’s progress.

Küpeliler has already installed a new OSB plant in late December 2022.

This new investment is intended to replace an older single-opening line, which has been in production for 40 years.

In Russia, there has been investment taking place, despite the fact that Western European technology suppliers are effectively out of this market due to the Ukraine conflict and EU sanctions on Russia.

Chinese plant supplier Yalian has been involved in supplying projects in Russia, receiving an order in 2021 for a very large particleboard line at Kaluga with a daily capacity of 3,100m3.

Peter Kaindl, director of Kronospan Holdings East Limited, declared at the opening ceremony of an MDF plant at the site in early 2022, that the company intended to start producing decorative paper and particleboard at the site in 2022. We expect to add this project to the main listing next year.

Another Russian project is that of Uvadrev-Holding, which posted plans in 2021 for a second particleboard line at Uva with a 500,000m3 capacity.

Machinery supplier Siempelkamp Russian received the order for the line, featuring a Generation 9 ContiRoll in the format 9ft x 32.1m.

But the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict last year meant this and other projects in Russia have difficulty being realised with the current EU sanctions.

One further update from Russia is the changing of hands from IKEA to Invest Plus of the former’s particleboard plant in Veliky Novgorod in March this year. The plant had not been in production for a year prior to the takeover.

Invest Plus is the owner of the Slotex group of companies, a market leader in the production of decorative paper and laminated materials in Russia. Slotex is believed to have restarted the mill during 2023.


In North America, Dieffenbacher is supplying Canadian wood-based panel producer Uniboard’s third phase of its modernization project in Val-d’Or, Quebec.

A new CEBRO smart particleboard plant is under construction, with an expected startup date in 2024.

CEBRO is designed to combine digitalization and advanced plant engineering with operational excellence and sustainability solutions.

When Uniboard’s final phase is completed in 2025, capacity at the modernized plant will increase by almost 50% versus the multi-opening particleboard line whose main components were supplied by Dieffenbacher in 1988.

The Uniboard contract includes a 10ft x 35m long CPS+ continuous press, two EVOjet P glue-saving systems, the new Forming Station PB and new Wireless STS storage system.

Uniboard will also use the MyDIEFFENBACHER digital service platform and Dieffenbacher’s smart digitalization solution EVORIS to better understand and control their new plant.

Dieffenbacher is also delivering technology for dust and material preparation, glue preparation and dosing, the press exhaust system and raw board handling system.

The plant is designed to significantly improve board quality and expand the range of board formats and thicknesses, also allowing Uniboard to enter the market for thin panels, which is in high demand in North America.

Elsewhere, Roseburg announced it was shutting the Taylorsville particleboard mill in August 2023. From 2024 this will be removed from the main listing.

The mill, which is equipped with a WIW multi-daylight press has an annual capacity of about 330,000m³.

As WBPI was going to press word was breaking about Kronospan announcing plans to buy Roseburg Forest Products’ Simsboro, LA, particleboard facility.

The asset purchase agreement with Roseburg Forest Products is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals. After approval, the Simsboro plant will accelerate the growth of Kronospan’s wood panel production in North America.

“The acquisition of the Simsboro mill, along with its talented and experienced team of managers and associates, will allow us to bring products to market more efficiently and will improve service to our customers,” said Hans Obermaier, CEO of Kronospan’s North American operations.

Kronospan says it is committed to modernizing the Simsboro particleboard facility in the post-acquisition period.

One other change made to our main listings is the reduction of Roseburg’s Missoula plant’s current capacity to 280,000m3, as our previous higher number still included a second press which is no longer running.