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Smurfit shares hit after blaze damages packaging factory 

Smurfit shares hit after blaze tears through packaging factory destroying 8,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard

Around 8,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard were destroyed in a blaze at a packaging plant in Birmingham.

More than 100 firefighters tackled the blaze at the Smurfit Kappa SSK paper mill in the Nechells area of the city on Sunday.

The fire started at 7.40pm at the premises next door and spread to the mill’s yard in high winds.

Paper loss: The huge blaze at the Smurfit Kappa SSK paper mill in Birmingham destroyed around 8,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard

Pictures and drone footage posted by West Midlands Fire Service showed bales of cardboard on fire across a large area of the site, but fortunately there were no casualties.

The plant is one of two paper mills operated by Smurfit Kappa in the UK and produces 500 to 700 tonnes of packaging paper every day, which is later converted into cardboard boxes.

The Irish company has the capacity to produce 8.3m tonnes of paper and cardboard a year globally and handle more than 7m tonnes of recovered paper for recycling. 

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

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

Smurfit shares – which are listed on the FTSE 100 index – fell 2.2 per cent, or 65p, to 2892p.

A spokesman for the firm said: ‘Smurfit Kappa would like to thank both West Midlands Fire Service staff and the SSK team for their swift and professional response in controlling the fire within a few hours and ensuring the safety of all.

‘The paper mill itself is unaffected and we do not expect any material impact on production.’