The long-awaited opening of the KASTAMONU facility in the SEZ "Alabuga" has taken place.

26 december 2014

The long-awaited opening of the KASTAMONU facility in the SEZ "Alabuga" has taken place.

On September 24, 2014, the ceremonial opening of the KASTAMONU Company’s woodworking facility in the SEZ "Alabuga" (Tatarstan) took place. This event turned out to be a long-expected for the business world of Russia, the opening ceremony being attended by more than 1,000 people, including employees, partners, companies, representatives of authorities and the media. Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, speaking to those present, called the coming of KASTAMONU to Russia a significant event not only for the Republic of Tatarstan and SEZ "Alabuga", but for the entire of the Russian Federation ... "Today we are opening a modern woodworking enterprise which will turn out products demanded in the domestic and foreign markets – pointed out Rustam Minnikhanov.– The KASTAMONU enterprise creates new jobs, added value and, most importantly, is a consumer of forestry products of Tatarstan."

Currently, the first phase of KASTAMONU project in Russia has been completed, the company's plant in the SEZ "Alabuga" launched a MDF production line for 475 thousand m3 per year and a production laminated flooring line for 20 million m2 per year.

In 2016, provision is made for launching production of chipboard for 725 thousand m3 per year, and in 2017-2018 an OSB production line for 575 thousand m3 per year is to be started. As a result, the total capacity of the KASTAMONU plant in the SEZ "Alabuga" is to reach 1.8 million m3 per year; it will be the largest wood processing facility in Europe. A group of KASTAMONU companies as a whole, upon reaching the production level of 6 million m3 per year, will join the four largest wood-processing facilities in the world.

The company has managed to achieve such high performance thanks to using modern production technologies. The plant has the best German equipment installed. The plant is equipped with the largest MDF main press in Europe. "The width of its working surface is 2800 mm," - revealed one of the advantages Ali Kilic, executive director of the Russian KASTAMONU factory during a tour of the factory.

Construction of the plant began two years ago, in 2012. During 24 months, construction, installation and commissioning works were completed; at the construction site 1000-1500 people were working at the same time. According to the KASTAMONU company president Haluk Yildiz, the SEZ "Alabuga" was chosen by KASTAMONU leadership out of the three regions. The final choice was made in favor of Tatarstan thanks to favorable tax and infrastructure conditions created here, as well as to the logistical advantages of the region. In addition, the long-standing cultural and historical ties between Turkey and Tatarstan were of certain influence. "We had apprehensions that Russia has a ferocious bureaucratic system, the procedure for obtaining documents, paperwork, lasts long and sometimes inconclusive. But we are glad that we were able to make this decision, and our first project was implemented in the Republic of Tatarstan, because from the first minute we were assisted, all the promises that were given in terms of assistance in the project execution have been met,"- said Haluk Yildiz at a press conference.

The first MDF batch was sent to Turkey by four ships. Later, however, the lion's share of KASTAMONU production (70%) was intended for use in Russia, 10% - in the CIS markets and only 20% is to be exported.

In the production processes the KASTAMONU facility uses only low-grade wood: deadwood, damaged trees, windbreak - all that built up for years on end in the forests of Tatarstan and waiting for SOM. In their place the fast-growing breeds of the same trees with improved properties will be planted. For these purposes, in Tatarstan a seed production complex has been created.

"Thanks to our factory there appeared an opportunity to save the Tatarstan forests from destruction. Before nobody wanted diseased untended trees or deadwood - told the reporters Haluk Yildiz. - Now, for us it is precious raw material, and thus, our factory is beneficial both economically and environmentally. The old, diseased trees are cut off using high technology solutions, and in their place the new ones are planted."

The need for low-grade wood is caused by the technological process itself. Four tree species are used in the production: birch, aspen, pine and lime, - said Ali Kilic during a tour of the plant. After preliminary grinding, these species are mixed according to special formulas and fed to the main press. For such a technology program commercial timber is just not needed because its grinding will entail additional costs, which, in its turn, will be borne by the commercial units.

Apart from the production, the KASTAMONU project serves another purpose which can be defined as "an increase in the area of industrial forest plantations and the annual planting of fast-growing species of trees on about 300 hectares of forest."

KASTAMONU has an international environmental FSC certificate. This certificate is issued on the basis of an independent audit conducted annually on the plots where logging is directly carried out. As is known, the FSC logo on a product indicates that it comes from forests which are under environmental and socially responsible care. In Russia, KASTAMONU intends to spread the traditions of responsible forest management among other private entrepreneurs. The company already has such experience: it is one of the founders and the second largest shareholder of the ENATA.S. company.

The coming of KASTAMONU to Russia was praised by the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Minister Georgy Kalamanov: "We really need to think about how to make good use of forest resources. And in this we are helped by foreign colleagues. I think that the creation of such facility is a special contribution to the development of forest complex of the Russian Federation."

KASTAMONU company creates in the region 500 jobs; another 2,500 people will be needed in related and servicing industries such as transport and lumbering. Currently, 95% of factory workers are the residents of the Republic of Tatarstan - according to the data cited by Ali Kilic. All of them were trained for almost a year at the company’s operating factories, - he said.

"We will work with the citizens of Tatarstan, thereby increasing the number of jobs in the country," - said Haluk Yildiz answering the journalists' questions. He added that the need for specialists is to be very high, not only in the KASTAMONU facility, but in the SEZ "Alabuga" as a whole, because it is "very favorable area and other foreign investors will also open their businesses here ... Therefore, I propose to provide for a possibility of social projects, such as housing or other attractions to encourage people to come here to work not only from in Tatarstan, but also from neighboring regions", - said the president of the KASTAMONU company.