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Smurfit Kappa Resumes Some Operations At UK Plant Hit By Fire

Smurfit Kappa has resumed some operations at a packaging plant in central England after a large fire ripped through the facility overnight, the local fire service said on Monday.

West Midlands Fire Service said more than 100 firefighters from across the region around Birmingham had made progress containing the blaze that they were alerted to at 1840 GMT on Sunday. It said there were no reports of any casualties.

The fire was declared a major incident after 8,000 tonnes of compressed cardboard caught fire.

Pictures and drone footage posted by the fire service online showed bales of cardboard on fire across a large area of the site.

Fire Services 

The Fire Service said its fire investigators will begin working on Monday to try to establish how the fire started.

Smurfit Kappa, Europe's largest paper packaging producer, had no immediate comment.

Its Birmingham plant is one of two paper mills it operates in the UK and it produces 500-700 tonnes of packaging paper every day, which is later converted into cardboard boxes.

The Irish company has the capacity to produce 8.3 million tonnes of paper and board a year globally and handle more than 7 million tonnes of recovered paper for recycling, its website says.

Packaging companies have faced a surge in demand for their products over the last two years, first due to the boom in e-commerce at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and then from the broader recovery that followed the reopening of economies.

Sold Out Product Range 

Smurfit said earlier this year that its product range remained effectively sold out in almost all of the 36 countries it operates in.

Smurfit's London listed shares SKG.I were 2.2% lower at 0730 GMT.

The wider FTSE 100 .FTSE index was down 0.9%.

The fire service said that at the height of the blaze it had more than 30 fire appliances in use, including two aerial hydraulic platforms, multiple fire engines, a high volume water pumping unit, and a drone.

It said it expected to be in attendance in some capacity for at least the next 48 hours.

Read More: Smurfit Kappa Invests Over €35m In First Moroccan Plant

News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern Checkout. For more Packaging stories click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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