Markets for OSB products have been more challenging in recent months. The lofty heights of 2021 and the first half of 2022 saw incredible margins for OSB producers and some record-breaking financial results.

It was inevitable that such large demand could not continue forever and with the multiple challenges of energy and raw material price inflation coupled with a weaker economic environment and geopolitical challenges such as the Ukraine conflict, OSB demand has fallen and markets have been correcting.

As we saw in our North America Focus on OSB preceding this article, when times are good in the OSB sector then profits are very high, but that can change relatively quickly. Still, the product is widely expected to play a leading role in wood-based panels growth in the years to come and number of expansion projects in Europe and beyond are currently planned.

This report deals with Europe and the Rest of the World, namely Asia, South America, the MENA region and Oceania.

At the end of 2021, we estimate OSB production capacity for these regions at just under 16 million m3.

North American installed capacity is estimated at 22.5 million m3, broadly the same as a year ago. So total combined world OSB installed capacity we estimate at approximately 38.5m3.

Chinese capacity expansion remains difficult to verify accurately and without a press size for some of these new projects, it’s difficult to give an estimation for their capacity. But we are aware of activity in the Chinese OSB sector and predict growth in the country’s OSB capacity.

The European Panel Federation’s most recent OSB production stats are contained in its EPF annual report 2021. It says OSB production in EPF member countries climbed by 2% to 7.2 million m3 in 2021, a much smaller growth compared to softboard and plywood for that year. The EPF’s new figures for 2022 will be out in June.

The UNECE figures for 2022 and estimation for 2023 do not include data for several countries that did not provide information, such as France, Hungary, Romania and Ireland, while Ukraine and Russia are also not included so it’s difficult to draw conclusions from this. For what it’s worth, the 18 European countries it includes, it rated OSB production and consumption as marginally up in 2022.

As always, it’s important to remember there is not an exact correlation between production rates and installed capacity.


It is clear from financial updates from leading European panel producers that OSB markets weakened in the latter half of 2022.

Egger described the second half of its financial year (ended October 31, 2022) as “subdued”, citing “many uncertainties and crises” impacting on the energy and raw materials markets as well as the massive inflation and the associated loss of purchasing power causing a “noticeable drop in demand”.

Egger’s Building Products division – including OSB – had record results in the previous financial year and said the yearon- year decline in demand for OSB was therefore expected. The division (which also includes sawn timber) saw revenues down by 6% to €256m and EBITDA down by 65% to €35m for the period. It also referenced volume problems for European OSB plants since the summer of 2022, with some reductions in capacity. “Forecasts point to a decline of roughly 15-20% for OSB products in Europe during 2023,” it said.

The world’s largest OSB producer West Fraser saw a sharp moderating of its performance in the fourth quarter of 2022 as more challenging market conditions started to bite.

Its European EWP business achieved EBITDA of US$30m in Q4.

German OSB production saw a dip in 2022 of around 9%, though the production value held up due to pricing. In Q4 of 2022, German OSB production dropped by a staggering 17.7%.

Swiss Krono CEO Martin Brettenthaler told WBPI in February that the OSB market is facing challenges from a stuttering housing market, with high interest rates an unhelpful background factor. News from the likes of large German housing contractor Vonovia recently deciding not to commence new construction projects in 2023 was a sign of a weakening market, he said.

As a result, he said demand for OSB was down considerably.

Now onto specific projects. Kronospan’s OSB mill plans at Tortosa, Spain has been added to the list of future capacity, with an expected capacity of 360,000m3. We’re not sure on the timetable for this but assume it will be beyond 2024.

The project follows the completion of a new 720,000 m3/year particleboard project involving Siempelkamp at the same location.

Kronospan’s investment commitment to the Tortosa site is €400m.

In the UK, we have reported previously on Kronospan’s plans for an OSB line at Chirk with an annual capacity of 600,000m³. Although some preparatory work has been done on site, there remain no concrete updates on this project.

Planning permission was previously granted, though environmental permits were still required. This project will be left on our list of future capacity.

Swiss Krono is increasing capacity at several of its plants in western Europe. It has already boosted capacity at its Heiligengrabe facility and is also doing so at the Sully-sur- Loire plant in France.

The company’s CEO Martin Brettenthaler reported earlier this year that the demand for OSB is strong, especially in France, where there is considerable room for growth in the timber construction industry. He also said Sully is expanding its OSB production capacity.

Mr Brettenthaler also said to WBPI in February that Swiss Krono has plans to invest in OSB capacities in western Europe but these are not advanced enough where it can publicly talk about them yet. He referenced a potential greenfield plant and also said it could no longer expand OSB capacity in Russia.

“Our strategy is with our existing OSB mills and we have started or already completed investments to increase capacities on existing lines,” he said.

“We target a capacity of 500,000- 600,000m3 per line as being the optimum. We have worked really hard over recent years to get all our mills to this level. When this is concluded the only option would be building new plants.”

We have adjusted some of our future capacity planned increases in Table 2 for Swiss Krono plants since last year, including for Sully, to bring it up to these Swiss Krono targets. And we await further indications for the company as to new site investments.

We can also report that the Büttner drying system upgrade at SmartPly in Ireland was completed last year, though it’s not clear what specific extra capacity this has added.

Speaking to technology suppliers, there are several further OSB projects being considered in Europe, with supplier negotiations currently taking place on several of these. We will update during the year on these, but we expect details for a couple to be made public in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, turning to main plant supplier IMAL-PAL Group, the company reports it is working on two new large OSB projects but these are currently at the early quotation/ negotiation stages.

IMAL-PAL Group’s blending system for OSB production is installed in several OSB plants in Europe. After installing the system on the Radauti line in Romania, Egger has now confirmed their plan to install it on their Wismar OSB line in Germany. IMAL-PAL has also reported interested in its belt dryers from OSB producers.


Küpeliler Endüstri AS produced the first board on its new OSB line at Kutahya on December 31, 2022 and in the process became the first company in Turkey to start OSB production on a continuous line.

The new Siempelkamp OSB line features a ContiRoll press in the 4ft x 33.8m format, extendable to 48.7m. This project has been added to the main listing.

Küpeliler Endüstri AS places the product primarily in the construction industry, for example, in the form of cladding.

Swiss Krono’s OSB plant at Vásárosnamény in Hungary is also undergoing expansion plans in a €47m project. The plant is believed to be raising its capacity to approximately 600,000m3, which is near doubling the current capacity. The Hungarian State is supporting the investment.

This is significantly higher than production increase we were previously expecting at the plant.

About 30% of the planned excess volume will be sold on the Hungarian market, while 70% will be exported. The company is going to expand its special 28.8-metre OSB production line to 38.7m, with the implementation of wood shredding and drying units, as well as related energy developments.

Swiss Krono has shelved its Sharya OSB project in Russia due to the Ukraine conflict so this project has now been removed from the list of future capacity. The supplier managed to find an alternative project for the ordered press.

A Russia project completed in 2022 was the Monolit-Story OSB mill (Latat brand) in Tomsk. The complete OSB line is running with a continuous 2.65m x 30m press. IMALPAL Group supplied the entire green field plant, starting from the strander through to the automatic store. This 250,000m3 plant has now been moved to the main listing.

Interestingly, the most recently available UNECE Market Review stats say the value of OSB exports from the Russian Federation almost tripled from US$71m in 2020 to US$207m in 2021.

The top ten importing partners accounted for 80.4% of OSB exports by value. China, Chile, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, which accounted for 27.8% of OSB exports (by value) in 2021, are the trading partners among the top ten who will allow imports of OSB from the Russian Federation in Q4, 2022 and onwards.

Publicly available information suggests Russia’s production of OSB grew by 15% in 2021.

Visibility on other known Russia OSB mill planned investments planned is currently poor due to the Ukraine conflict and it’s possible some have been shelved.

Kronospan’s OSB mill project at Rivne in Western Ukraine, which follows an already completed PB line at the same site, has been progressing.

Situated in the west of the country and largely away from the war zone, there are photos of construction on the website of project architects AMBK. The project is listed there as having a capacity of 1.3 million m3 / year, though this does seem high and we await further clarification. Delays due to the conflict make it difficult to estimate a completion date.


Chinese wood-based panel producer A Beautiful Family Plate Making Co Ltd (BFP) has ordered a Fine OSB plant from Dieffenbacher for its plant in Guangxi, China.

Installation of BFP’s new plant is scheduled for the second quarter of 2023. The first board is to be produced in the autumn, 2023.

Dieffenbacher is to supply everything from chip flaking to raw board handling. The contract includes the dryer, screens, particle preparation and material recovery, glue preparation and dosing, gluing system, forming station and forming line, CPS+ continuous press system and electrics and plant automation. The plant will be able to produce 500,000m3 of Fine OSB per year.

“Fine OSB is increasingly popular in China,” said Matthias Rübsam, area sales director at Dieffenbacher.

“The lower cost of the raw material makes OSB an economical alternative to plywood for almost every application. Fine OSB, however, overcomes traditional OSB’s poor laminating capability, caused by its uneven board surface.”

In Fine OSB, the OSB core layer is covered top and bottom by layers of particleboard to give a better structure to the top surface. This enables further processing, including laminating or coating on both sides with melamine or phenolic paper in a short-cycle press.

Dieffenbacher has been working on a further plant for its customer Wanhua Ecoboard in Lankao, Henan Province. The Fine OSB project saw the first board produced on March 31, 2022 on a CPS+ measuring 8.5ft x 33m, with a 250,000 m³/ year annual capacity. This has now been added to the main listing.

WBPI is aware of a number of other Fine OSB / OSB projects in the Asia/Asia Pacific region received during 2022 but specific details have not yet been confirmed by equipment suppliers. As a result, we expect OSB capacity in China to increase in the future.

Siempelkamp said while it had seen some decrease in market demand from Asia in 2023, it reported some promising projects at an early stage which might come to fruition in the second half of the year.

IMAL-PAL Group has received a request for a complete OSB plant to be installed in Asia and it is currently in the process of preparing the proposal.


There has been some activity in South America – Paneles Arauco is believed to be talking to equipment suppliers about an OSB mill investment in Cholguán, Chile. The company currently operates an MDF mill at the location.

Annual production capacity will be approximately 300,000m³.

And lastly, far away in New Zealand, it looks like the country may be going back into OSB production with plans by Laminex New Zealand to invest in a new facility.

The mill is planned at Taupo, with capacity thought to be around 400,000m3. This project has been added to our list of future capacity, despite no timetable yet being available.