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Finnish firm warns of toilet paper shortage as energy costs wipe out production

Metsä Tissue says rising energy costs are leading to temporary production stoppages.

High energy prices are leading to production stoppages. File photo. Image: Eleni Paspatis / Yle

Rising energy prices have led to Finnish paper firm Metsä Tissue cutting back on production levels in recent weeks, the company said in a statement released on Friday.

This curtailment could affect the availability of tissue paper products, such as toilet paper, the press release noted, with further halts on the production line likely.

Metsä Tissue has previously announced temporary production stoppages at its plants in Germany and Slovakia earlier this year, and the situation has deteriorated further since then.

The company sells its products under various brands — including Lambi and Serla — and has a total of nine paper mills in Europe.

However, the rising costs of production are hampering operations in all of Metsä Tissue's European markets, the company's Nordic Market Director Jani Sillanpää said, but particularly in Central and Eastern Europe.

"Electricity prices are historically high. The situation has been a little better here in the Nordic countries, but the price of electricity has started to rise here too," Sillanpää said.

He added that the production stoppages are especially having an impact on the production of toilet paper and kitchen paper.

The production slowdowns do not seem to extend to the Mänttä paper mill, located in south central Finland, with operations continuing as normal. However, Sillanpää noted, a lot of toilet and kitchen paper is exported into Finland from Central Europe.

"There is a risk that there will be problems with paper volumes if this situation continues," he added.

The rising cost of production may also lead to toilet and kitchen paper becoming more expensive, Sillanpää said.

Ultimately, retailers decide whether the price increase should be passed on to consumers.

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