In this, the first part of our annual survey of the global MDF producing industry, independent consultant Geoff Rhodes looks at the MDF mills and their capacities in Europe and North America in 2019 and at the prospects for the industry generally. The current dynamics and realities of 2020 linked to the Covid-19 pandemic are not broadly considered in this piece of work.

In 2019 and looking at Europe first, it was generally a positive year for MDF manufacturers.

The news of all upcoming new European MDF mills are listed in Table 1, European capacity development for 2020 and beyond. Included are the major investments by Yildiz Entegre of Turkey, overseas in Vladimir, Russia, along with the Kronospan MDF development at Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. Also, we show Germany’s fibreboard maker Homanit, who unveiled plans last year to invest some €115m in constructing a new MDF production facility in Lithuania.

In North America, the significant investment by Swiss Krono for its new HDF/MDF plant at its facility in Barnwell, South Carolina, to support its existing laminated flooring business started production in August 2019. This expansion will now allow Swiss Krono to produce 300,000m3 of HDF per year, which the company will use for laminate flooring manufacturing operations and sell to furniture, cabinet, fixture, door and other wood-based manufacturers.

The MDF facility in Columbia Falls, Montana, well-known formally as Plum Creek and as a quality producer of MDF for so long, has been fully integrated into Weyerhaeuser’s portfolio of wood-based panel products and Roseburg Forest Products Inc extended its significant MDF reach with the acquisition of the Potlach Deltic Corp, 265,000m3 MDF mill at El Dorado, Arkansas. This, alongside the Canadian Pembroke, Ontario MDF mill with a capacity of 280,000m3 and the world famous Medite MDF mill in Medford, Oregon producing 250,000m3, gives an interesting geographical spread for this Oregon based company. Roseburg now has a total annual MDF/HDF capacity of close to 800,000m3.

Building on last year’s report, the CalPlant 1 (formerly CalAg) project rice straw-based MDF plant in California is close becoming a production reality, with start-up likely mid- 2020. The plant is covered in more detail later in this article.

In Canada, the MDF business and markets remained strong and, in Mexico, the positive capacity developments outlined previously progressed well, with the South America based wood-based panel giant Arauco buying Masisa’s Mexican mills in a US$245m deal that included the MDF operation in Durango.

We suggested last year that a value recovery across Europe was evolving and this has certainly been seen in some cases, but not across all markets, due to varied economic and socio-political dynamics.

This year’s survey once again provides listings of design capacity in the two regions as at the end of 2019. We also show the changes to capacity expected during 2020 and beyond.

Total all-European installed capacity reached 28,606,000m3 in 2019, compared with 27,614,000m3 in 2018, with growth seen across Russia, Romania, and Turkey.

MDF mills continue to work hard to optimise their installations and look for continual production refinements and always new product developments, to maximise the opportunities that exist within their individual facilities.

This survey continues to be published in two parts; the second part will deal with the rest of the world outside Europe and North America and will be published in the August- September 2020 issue of WBPI.

The author and the editor of WBPI remain grateful to all those organisations and manufacturers as well as other industry professionals, who made valued contributions to help us build this narrative.

We are always pleased to receive new information regarding design capacity changes at any time during the year, whenever it is most convenient.

European Capacity

Significantly, ongoing investments in Turkey continued, with the second AGT MDF plant, with an additional 300,000m3 capacity at Antalya starting up in September 2019 and this has now been added to the main listing.

AGT ordered this second line from Siempelkamp at the beginning of 2018 and as a part of the Siempelkamp project, Büttner supplied and installed the fibre dryer and energy plant with a heat capacity of 64MW. This was the second plant provided from Büttner for this site.

The technical features of this project are the diverse heating options of the new dryer, the size of the energy plant, the thermal oil heater that supplies the new ORC plant with heat, which in turn produces electricity and supports the parallel decision to install modern electro filters for cleaning the flue gas. The first Büttner plant in Antalya was also refitted with an electro filter during the construction work of the second plant. In Turkey, the progressive dynamics seem to continue strongly, although financial issues have had negative bearings on some loan arrangements. With large markets available both domestically in Turkey and into the Middle East and former Soviet states, the MDF growth there continues.

Also included in the main listing is Balkanlar MDF at Kirklareli with 64,000m3, which we understand is operational. In contrast, the Yildiz Sunta two MDF lines in Izmit, Turkey stopped working during 2019 and the facility is currently closed, having had to apply for bankruptcy procedures. Kronospan, Kastamonu Entegre and Sonae Arauco have all been linked with the possibility of buying the company.

Included within our future capacity table, Germany’s Homanit is planning to boost its manufacturing presence in the Baltic states by investing in Lithuania. Homann Holzwerkstoffe is producing MDF successfully at both its Krosno and Karlino sites in Poland, each producing 250,000m3, and now is expanding its reach within the Baltic states, with its plans to invest €115m in constructing a new MDF production facility in Lithuania, with a planned capacity of 250,000m3.

The project was announced in 2019 by the country’s investment promotion agency Invest Lithuania. Under the plan, the new facility, which is to make MDF/HDF, will be operated by 440 employees. The jobs at the factory, located in the region surrounding Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, are to be created in the first five years of the plant’s operations. The move is related to the growing demand from local users, who are currently supplied from the output of Homanit’s two Polish factories located in Karlino and Krosno Odrzanskie according.

to senior company representatives. “Transport costs from Poland have been taking their toll on the bottom line of the manufacturers and our strategically placed new plant will solve this issue,” said Andrius Ostrauskas, the chief executive of local subsidiary Homanit Lietuva UA quoted in a press release. The factories in Karlino and Krosno Odrzanskie are part of Poland’s growing wood-based panel industry, which has reported considerable growth over the past years. Between 2000 and 2016, local production facilities in Poland expanded all types of wood-based panel products with production of MDF/HDF, reaching more than 2,800,000m3 per year, according to data released by the Czarna Woda – Wood Based Panel Producers’ Association in Poland.

Located in the country’s north western region, the plant in Karlino makes MDF/HDF with an average thickness of 3mm and it has a production capacity of some 250,000m3 per year. The factory is currently operated by 588 employees, according to data released by the Homanit group. The second plant, located in Krosno Odrzanskie in the countru’s western region, also makes MDF/HDF with an average thickness of 3mm and has a slightly lower output capacity of some 240,000m3 per year. The factory is run by a workforce of 525. It is noteworthy that both production facilities are near Poland’s border with Germany.

The new Lithuanian facility should expand Homanit’s foothold in the three Baltic states, but also allow the manufacturer to export a larger share of the group’s production beyond Europe.

Commenting on the holding company’s plans, Fritz Homann, the managing director of Homann Holzwerkstoffe, said the group had “strong free cash flow for further international expansions”, for which Lithuania provided “a good and realistic basis”.

In 2020, Lithuania is forecast to report a GDP growth of 2.4%, which, in comparison with 2017 and 2018 when this rate stood at 4.1% and 3.6%, respectively, would represent a significant decrease.

In the last year we added to our main listing the new Romanian MDF plant from Yildiz Entegre. The plant, which was built in the Pitesti/Oarja Region of Romania, has a production capacity of 401,000m3 and is successfully producing MDF, melamine faced MDF, laminate flooring and MDF doors.

Products produced in this facility, which has a production capacity of nearly 15 million m2 of laminate flooring and 30,000 doors per month, are exported to many countries in Europe and Africa. Yildiz Entegre was awarded an acknowledgement as the largest investor in this country for the last 10 years, with over €170m investment placed in Romania since 2009.

Kastamonu Entegre also operates a 115,000m3 fibreboard door skin plant at Reghin, Romania producing 3.2mm moulded panels, but this is not included in the main MDF capacity listing, as moulded door skin production in all other countries is not included in this survey documentation and statistical analysis.

Italy continued to be caught up in the challenges caused by the ongoing decline in furniture production locally, coupled with the construction sector’s reduction in activity. However, we can report that the Fantoni SpA Osoppo €60m investment in Italy has progressed well and is fully operational. The project there reflects the company’s long-term solid commitment to the MDF sector, both as a pioneer and as an innovator.

But sadly Novolegno, a Fantoni group company based in Montefredane in the province of Avellino, Italy ,which has been entirely dedicated to the production of MDF panels has had to close in 2019.

Founded in 1980, the plant covered an area of 140,000m2 and had three production lines for a total annual volume of 220,000m3. Located in a strategic position, the company, together with the Osoppo plant, contributed to maintaining global productivity at the highest levels in Europe, capable of fully satisfying the most diversified requests of the domestic and foreign markets.

Novolegno historically combined the production of standard MDF panels with an important production of special panels, but unfortunately market situations with irreversible prospects, linked to the changes that have taken place in the type of packaging required by large retailers (historically an important market for this plant) has led to the final decision to close the facility down .

We should note that Paolo Fantoni, as chairman of the European Panel Federation (EPF), continues to drive a focused and positive forward-looking agenda on MDF.

Looking at Austria, the acquisition by Egger of the Masisa MDF plant in Concordia, Argentina, in September 2017 from the Chilean Masisa SA, has now consolidated.

This was the first time this wood-based material manufacturer is represented with a production site outside Europe.

Headquartered in St Johann in Tirol, Austria, the company is consistently pursuing its strategy of continuing to grow on its own terms and to make itself future proof through increasing internationalisation.

In France, the MDF market has remained relatively stable with small growth reported in the trade-related sector. It has been noted that the market for thin MDF was particularly strong in 2019. Kronospan has consolidated its investments in France and the privately owned Panneaux de Corrèze, continues to develop its added value MDF offering successfully.

In Spain and Portugal with latest updates and adjustment on design capacities since last year, the Intasa mill in San Saturniño has been changed to read 208,000m3 whilst in Portugal, the Valbopan at Nazaré, which continues to produce its unique and popular coloured MDF for specialised markets, has been re-calibrated to 25,000m3.

Kronospan has emerged in recent years as a powerful player in the Iberian Peninsula and they now compete seriously, with the long established and locally based groups. One of the company’s goals remains to increase its market share in Spain and Portugal by 20%-30% whilst still consolidating its export markets.

In Spain, Kronospan previously had purchased the two MDF facilities Interpanel in Benavente and Unopan in Salas (part of the Interbon group) but they subsequently closed down the plant at Benavente and exported the plant and equipment to Bulgaria for potential installation in the future. The Austrian wood-based panels manufacturer is now reported to be expanding its whole production facilities in the northern Bulgarian city of Veliko Tarnovo. Apart from adding further particleboard investment it will ultimately start the production of MDF, which has never been made in Bulgaria up to now.

An investment plan worth BGN300m has already been launched by the company, which also plans to create a zone where furniture manufacturers using panels made by Kronospan will also be able to set up production sites. Kronospan runs two particleboard plants in Bulgaria, one in Veliko Tarnovo and another in Burgas, giving employment to some 400 people.

The expansion is expected to add 100 jobs and may create hundreds more in affiliated industries.

In Germany and in the Benelux, the market generally remained strong but the fact remains that HDF as a substrate for laminate flooring is gradually losing volume as fashions change in western Europe, although in eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey this product is still growing in popularity. The growth trend in flooring still appears to be with thin vinyl flooring (PVC) – also with a click system. All the major HDF flooring players in Europe have invested in this type of flooring

In the UK and Ireland, we see no new capacity investments or change from the three main MDF players – Norbord, Kronospan and Medite, all of which had strong order books in 2019.

Medite (Coillte) continues to pioneer, develop, and bring to market various new added value products. With the intriguing fibre modified Medite Tricoya Extreme Durable MDF for external use, the company is certainly making further interesting market penetration, competing in many cases with non-wood elements, particularly in the construction sector.

Updating the news from last year, we can report that Accsys Group which announced the entry into and successful completion of several agreements to create a consortium for the financing, construction and operation of the world’s first dedicated Tricoya wood chip manufacturing plant and sales facility, in Saltend Chemical Park in Hull, UK is now looking at plant commissioning there in Q3- Q4 2020. The acetylated chips are used to manufacture high performance MDF panels.

The panels exhibit outstanding durability and dimensional stability which allow them to be used in exterior and wet area applications once limited to products such as concrete, plastics or metals. With the added benefits of lightweight, sustainable raw materials and a guarantee of up to 50 years above ground and 25 years in ground, these panels provide architects, specifiers and designers with an entirely new construction material, allowing great design flexibility and endless opportunities for creativity.

Accsys also has a Tricoya user licence agreement with Finsa to produce Tricoya modified wood-based panels. The agreement with Spanish-based Finsa is a breakthrough for Accsys, with Finsa set to become the second producer of Tricoya panels. Ireland based Medite is of course the other existing producer. Under the agreement, Finsa is granted exclusive rights for manufacturing Tricoya panels in Spain and Portugal, with non-exclusive distribution rights in other territories.

Following this, Tricoya Technologies also entered into an agreement with PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad (“PCG”) to evaluate the feasibility of jointly funding, designing, building, and operating an integrated acetic anhydride and Tricoya wood elements production plant in Malaysia. It is envisaged that Tricoya wood elements produced at the plant would use acetic acid from PCG’s existing joint venture in Malaysia. The plant would then supply the wood panel industry within South-east Asia, under licence, as the key raw material for the formation of Tricoya panels for the use in the construction industry in the region.

The evaluation is expected to include preliminary engineering studies, regional customer and market feasibility assessments and financing arrangements. Under the terms of the agreement, the parties have agreed to carry out the evaluation exclusively for a period of at least 18 months and this continues.

In the Nordic region (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland) there are no production facilities for MDF, but the influence of well-known Swedish furniture group, IKEA, in terms of global design trends in the competitively-priced self-assembly sector, remains influential and interesting. We understand that MDF will still generally be used where very high-quality core and faces allow detailed machining and high-quality finishing, but weight issues continue to dominate selection of materials. For certain components, MDF with a density of less than 500kg/m3, whilst maintaining high quality, is finding favour alongside higher density items of 700kg/m3+, for special use. Also, products produced as sandwich elements (core honeycomb with surface 2.5mm or less HDF) are helpful when weight issues need to be addressed in the final furniture product.

The issue of recycling MDF at the end of use remains an important topic of research in Scandinavia and elsewhere and the wood sector will probably benefit commercially and technically from new recycling methodology, currently being developed by other industries. This is all still yet to be satisfactorily resolved but is now evolving in different places, with interesting pioneering developments being seen at MDF Recovery Ltd in the UK.

Trends in furniture production from the Baltic states, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Romania were all reported to be up in 2019 – all good news for the MDF sector.

For Russia, respected industry experts newsletter EUWID and WBPI’s Russia correspondent, Eugene Gerden, have all provided helpful information. We have updated and now included in the main listing the new 250,000 MDF mill at Novosibirsk to the east of the Ural Mountains, Pavlovsky DOK by Altailes, one of Russia’s largest woodworking enterprises. The mill opened officially on June 25, 2019.

The facility is a part of a large wood processing combine and will specialise in the production of MDF and HDF, creating one of Russia’s largest mills offering panel sizes of 2440x1220mm, 2440x1830mm and 2620×2070, with thicknesses ranging from 2.5mm to 40mm. According to the press service of Altailes, the plant installed equipment from leading manufacturers: Siempelkamp, Holtec and Andritz.

Some 80% of the Russian wood resources can be found east of the Ural Mountains. Nevertheless only 20% of the wood harvested in Russia comes from this region, while a highly modern wood-based materials industry has established itself primarily in the west of the country. This is changing with the construction of this facility by this Russian timber group approximately 2,000km to the east of the Urals, thus opening previously unused potential.

The MDF plant is close to Barnaul, an administrative centre and important transport hub and with more than 600,000 inhabitants, it is the largest city in the Altai region. Altai Krai is one of the largest regions in Russian Siberia, bordering Kazakhstan.

The company plans to produce a variety of products including high density panels, together with fine boards that will be specially designed for the Asia Pacific states and the Siberian market of Russia and will compete with imports from China and the EU. Products are to be sold under the new brand – Altaidecor. Investment in the project is estimated at six billion rubles (US$120m).

The Istanbul-based wood-based panel and building product manufacturer Kastamonu Entegre which purchased the former Pfleiderer planned Novgorod mill in Russia from IKEA, and which has a design capacity of 475,000m3/year of MDF/HDF, has now become operational and is also added to the main listing. The plant is in Alubuga in Russia’s free economic zone, Republic of Tatarstan, one of Russia most economically developed regions and sits alongside the existing original MDF facility that they constructed there some years ago.

Also, in Russia, the MDF/HDF investment at Vladimir (capacity 424,000m3) by the Turkish wood-based panel and laminate flooring manufacturer Yildiz Entegre Agac Sanayi Ve Ticaret AS, is under construction and may be operational in 2021.

Russia has, for some time, been the centre of attention for panel investment and development in eastern Europe, but with important political sanctions now in place, trade with Russia is restricted, and whilst this is limiting the scope for traditional suppliers of furniture (such as Italy) to the Russian market, it is actually driving up domestic production, and demand, for furniture in the country.

So, looking ahead for expanded and new capacity in 2020 and beyond in Europe as a whole, we have the lines mentioned in Russia at Vladimir (424,000m3), Kronospan’s transfer of the plant from Spain into Bulgaria (265,000m3) and the MDF investment from Homanit (250,000m3) in Lithuania.

Taking our main table listing from 2018, which showed a total installed capacity of 27,614,000m3, and then fine tuning information with adjustments and corrections and with new capacity already installed in 2019, we reach the total of 28,606,800m3. Then, with the future new mills listed in Table 1 European capacity development, we now have a forecast figure of 29,545,000m3 as the total European capacity for 2019/2020 and beyond.

North America Capacity

In the US and Canada, production and sales of MDF showed continued momentum in 2019. The industry reported virtually every MDF mill running at capacity, driven particularly in the US by the strong dynamic of the domestic housing market. Imports into the US of Asian furniture continue and while furniture manufacturing in North America has been growing again, it appears it will be some years before it returns to turn-ofthe- century levels. Housing starts were still improving, the remodelling market remained strong, consumer purchases growing, and hospitality sectors and manufacturing were generally on the up.

The Georgia Pacific MDF mills at Monticello and Mount Jewett continued to run well, as did all formerly listed Flakeboard MDF mills in the US and Canada, now renamed Arauco North America in our listings.

The Medite MDF mill in Medford Oregon (Roseburg) has operated well under the new owners in 2019. The Medford, Oregon plant is a well-run facility and the acquisition represented a key strategic move for Roseburg in their evolving composite panel business, ahead of the Pembroke, Canada acquisition and then the Potlach Deltic Corp, 265,000m3 MDF mill at El Dorado, Arkansas.

Arauco North America announced in early 2020 it would be closing the 154,000m3 MDF facility that it owns in Eugene Oregon on April 30 and we will naturally report further on this reality, in next year’s issue. It also announced in April that it would be closing its 251,000m3 MDF production facility in Bennettsville, South Carolina, as of May 18. Arauco stated that it will continue to support customers from its other MDF facilities.

The Bennettsville mill is currently offline related to market conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision was made to close the facility permanently based on a broader assessment that the older manufacturing platform is no longer competitive in the prevailing MDF market compared to the company’s other more advanced MDF platforms.

In contrast, the investment project by Swiss Krono for the new HDF/MDF plant at its facility in South Carolina has progressed successfully and on August 24, 2019 the first MDF board was produced at Barnwell.

For site manager Erik Christensen, this was a very special milestone. “It’s an exciting time here in Barnwell as we successfully ran our first boards this weekend,” he said. “We’ve got an incredibly dedicated and energised team here and it was great to share this big milestone in the project together. We are now focused on getting the line into production mode as quickly as possible to supply our growing flooring demand and our newly developing HDF/MDF customers. Our new plant is a significant game changer for us in the US market, enabling us to profitably grow our market position.”

Since spring 2016, the Swiss Krono plant at the Barnwell site has been expanded extensively in order to strengthen the HDF and laminate divisions throughout the Group.

The new plant has a production capacity of around 300,000m3 of HDF, which is intended primarily for laminate production in the company’s own plant. The new plant will add an additional 26 million m2. With these actions, Swiss Krono Group is responding to the growing demand on the American market for high-quality laminate flooring.

Roland Kovacic, chief technical officer (CTO) and member of the group executive board, was delighted. “The project implementation in the US was extremely demanding for everyone involved,” he said.

“I would like to wholeheartedly thank the entire project team, which also mastered difficult challenges well.”

US rice straw MDF plant set to debut this summer

Certainly, the new CalPlant 1 (formerly CalAg) rice straw-based MDF plant in Willow, California is still the most dynamic new feature for us to report on this year from the US and it will be very interesting to provide more of an overview in future issues of WBPI.

As a further update and building on last year’s report, the plant in California is close to becoming a reality. The project has been in the works for more than 20 years, since the principals first shipped California-grown rice straw to England for testing. Since then, the endeavour experienced a series of ‘almosts,’ until the successful financing came together, which includes US$228m of tax-exempt private activity revenue bonds priced through the California Pollution Control Financing Authority, and US$87m cash equity.

The project is expected to bring several environmental advantages, including water use reduction, methane emissions reduction, fungicide, and chemicals reduction. And obviously it provides a new recycling market for roughly 275,000 tons of rice straw annually. MDF is moving on now from only using wood fibre as a raw material.

The plant will boast a production capacity of around 250,000m3 when fully operational. Thicknesses will range from 3-32mm and in addition to commodity MDF, production will include ultralight and high-density fibreboard. Some traders have expressed doubt in the past that an alternative-fibre panel could compete with the breadth of applications of traditional wood-based panels.

Many believe the latest endeavour is the first serious attempt of its kind, noting the investment, research and development, and roster of industry veterans throwing their weight behind the project.

“The overarching message related to this MDF is that it’s going to be a high performance MDF that will go head to- head with wood-based MDF,” said Elizabeth Whalen, vice-president of sales, marketing, and sustainability for CalPlant 1.

The US$315m plant will feature a 10ft wide continuous press, supplied by German based manufacturer Siempelkamp. Columbia Forest Products, a long-time backer of the CalPlant 1 project and a minority investor will act as the exclusive sales agent for the finished MDF products.

Whalen said the rice straw-based panel will be marketed consistent with traditional wood-based panels, and that prices will be in line with the current market. First Boards from the line are anticipated to be seen in June – July 2020.

Finally, there are no other consolidation moves currently that we have heard about in this part of the world, but consolidation has certainly been a theme for the North American industry over the past number of years.

In Mexico and to complete our North American overview, we see the three new projects there that we highlighted previously, progressing well, with all of them becoming fully operational.

And with the South America based wood based panel giant Arauco buying Masisa’s Mexican mills in a US$245m deal, which included the 220,000m3 MDF operation in Durango, it completes the ownership picture.

In addition to its North American headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, Arauco has 10 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada, with an additional US$400m particleboard and TFL plant under construction in Grayling, Michigan.

Total nominal production capacity of the MDF plants in Mexico has been adjusted up to 809,000m3/year, such a significant change from the small capacity of less than 80,000m3, which had been stable, for such a long time previously.

The main incentive for these three companies, that together have invested more than US$400m in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, is the very promising outlook in the Mexican market.

As a reminder, until recently, no continuous process plants existed in Mexico and per capita consumption remained very low compared to most countries.

Also, the Mexican furniture industry is characterised by a comparatively high use of solid wood and plywood in relation to particleboard and MDF. Therefore, the perceived opportunities towards the continual future increase of MDF in the Mexican furniture manufacturing industry remain extremely positive.

For Duraplay de Parral, a long-established Mexican plywood and particleboard producer with a name for service both sides of the US border, the move into MDF production with an investment in a new plant with a capacity of 235,000m3 per year, is truly felt to be a natural expansion.

The new plant has been installed within its manufacturing premises in the northern silver mining town of Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico. This investment is also positive news for all the relatively local wood suppliers as this will ensure them the long-term sustainable harvesting of their forest.

The Mexico City-based PROTeak Uno, (Pro MDF) which specialises in plantation teak and solid wood products, previously unveiled its plans to establish a (280,000m3/ year) MDF plant in Mexico’s south-eastern sub-tropical Tabasco state, utilising eucalyptus wood from plantations in the south of the country.

The company built the plant on a greenfield site at Huimanguillo, 67km from the state capital Villahermosa, which is now operational. PROTeak announced that it signed a Cooperation Agreement with Financiera Maderera SA (Finsa), the largest Spanish producer and seller of wood panels, resins, melamine, and veneer, among other products, in the Iberian Peninsula.

The Agreement includes the joint operation of PROTeak’s MDF plant, technology transfer and the marketing of FINSA products in Mexico.

Looking ahead, the company intends to increase its own eucalyptus plantations to at least 15,000ha, through planting and improved growth rates, over the next four to five years, which it hopes will not only secure its long-term raw material supply, but also assist in delivering its quest to become the lowest-cost producer in Mexico.

Mexican wood panel producers are now driving several market development initiatives which are gaining momentum and are at the forefront of a campaign to promote wider use, particularly of MDF, by the national furniture industry.

The panel makers are continually educating Mexico’s furniture designers (both current ones and young students) and manufacturers in the potential and versatility of working with MDF which, with its workability, is a natural substitute for traditional solid wood.

Total North American installed capacity for 2019, is now recorded at 6,129,000m3 building on top of 5,829,000m3 showing and recorded for 2018.

Now, with the significant new Mexican capacity and mills, along with the Californian rice-straw project, our table showing future capacity we have a forecast figure of 6,379,000m3 as a total capacity for the North American area, including Mexico, for 2019/20 and beyond.