SCA was founded in 1929 and has since then evolved from a pure forest company to a company that also offers personal care and tissue products. In 2017, the SCA Group was divided into two listed companies, SCA, a forest products company, and the hygiene- and health company Essity.
1929 SCA is founded
The SCA Group was founded on 27 November 1929. The man behind the formation of the company was Swedish financier Ivar Kreuger who merged some ten Swedish forest companies into a single group. The company consisted of forests, sawmills, pulp mills, machine shops and power companies. SCA had annual sales of approximately SEK 100 million and production was carried out in some 40 Swedish units with 6,500 employees.
1930–1949 Production focus on pulp
SCA's early years were marked by the international depression with lower prices and reduced exports.
Kreuger's death and the subsequent break-up of his company Kreuger & Toll in 1932, eventually led to Svenska Handelsbanken assuming full control of SCA.
Despite the harsh business climate, SCA invested in increased production of sulphate pulp with the construction of the Östrand pulp mill. The facility went into operation in 1932 with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes which in 1936, the year of its formal inauguration, was increased to 140,000 tonnes. This made Östrand one of the largest pulp mills in the world. A large portion of the pulp was exported to the United States, these exports accounted for about 50% of sales by the end of the 1930s.
The market situation for forest products improved towards the mid-1930s to reach a peak in 1937 followed by a decline up until the outbreak of war. The war drastically reduced export opportunities for the forest industry, mainly for paper pulp but also for sawn products. SCA was forced to cut its pulp production substantially during the war years. Production was changed and SCA manufactured products such as wood for producer gas, charcoal, wood tar, turpentine and pulp for the manufacture of cellulose acetate.
1950 SCA is listed
After the Second World War, SCA's sales and profits rose substantially. SCA's previously weak financial position strengthened and made it possible for Handelsbanken to list SCA on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 1950. The issue comprised 375,000 shares at a price of SEK 130 per share. When SCA was registered on the Stockholm Stock Exchange the company had approximately 17,000 shareholders.
1950–1959 Production of newsprint
In the post-war years up to 1955 there were no major changes in the company's structure. This was followed by period of major changes through a focus on larger and more competitive plants as well as more processed products with higher value-added content. Two of the most important features were an increase in bleaching capacity in Östrand and the building of a newsprint mill in Ortviken. The newsprint mill was built in 1956-1957 and comprised two machines with a total capacity of 160,000 tonnes.
For many years the volumes SCA could extract from the forest were restricted by access to labour. Mechanization of forestry started seriously in the mid-1950s. The bow saw and one-man saws were replaced by the motor saw. Machines increasingly took over from manual debarking. Transport of timber to industry, however, was still largely carried out by rafting.
1960–1974 Kraftliner production starts
The 1960s saw major changes for SCA. Pulp manufacture was concentrated to a few mills which were extended. As a result, several units were closed. Some of these closures had a major impact on employment in small communities, such as the closure of the pulp mill in Svartvik.
At the same time, there was a deliberate focus on further processing in the form of increased production of paper. One example was the new newsprint machine PM 4 in Ortviken which went on stream in 1967.
The 1960s were characterized by weak demand for forest products. Throughout the period 1959 until 1972, SCA's profitability was unsatisfactory and in two of these years SCA posted a loss.
In 1961, SCA started its first kraftliner machine in Munksund and this marked the starting point for SCA's packaging business.
Timber rafting was abandoned the 1960s and sawlogs and pulpwood were transported by road. Transportation of paper, pulp and solid-wood products also changed at the end of the 1960s when SCA improved the efficiency of its sea transport operations including the use of its own vessels in Europe.
In 1961, SCA started its first kraftliner machine in Munksund and this marked the starting point for SCA's packaging business. Capacity was calculated at 110,000 tonnes. In order to ensure a demand for liner, SCA entered the corrugated board market and acquired or built a number of plants in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France.
From 1973 onwards the market situation for forest products improved and the restructuring carried out in the 1960s started to provide a satisfactory return
1975 SCA lays the foundations for its personal care business
SCA took the first step towards becoming a consumer goods company with the acquisition of the Swedish personal care company Mölnlycke. This acquisition boosted the Group's sales by 40 % and resulted in tissue, diapers, feminine hygiene and incontinence products being included in the product portfolio.
1975-1999 Expansion of publication paper
In 1980, SCA acquired a stake in Sancela Mexico, a manufacturer of feminine hygiene products. This marked the start of the Group's expansion through acquisitions or joint venture companies in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and America – an expansion that is still under way.
The publication paper operations were expanded and new machines installed in Ortviken in 1986, 1991 and 1996. SCA purchased a paper mill for the manufacture of SC paper in Laakirchen, Austria.
In 1988, SCA acquired the Italian packaging company Italcarta which provided significant market shares in southern Europe.
In 1992, the energy operations, Båkab Energi AB, were divested.
1990 Acquisition of Reedpack
SCA became European market leader in transport packaging through the acquisition of the British company Reedpack. This acquisition increased sales in the packaging business by 42 %.
1995 Europe's leading personal care products company
SCA acquired a majority shareholding in the German company PWA and thus became Europe's largest personal care products company. PWA primarily had operations within tissue, transport packaging and graphic paper.
2001 Acquisition of Georgia-Pacific Tissue and Tuscarora
Operations in North America received a substantial boost through the acquisition of Georgia-Pacific Tissue and the protective packaging company Tuscarora. The acquisitions gave SCA a number three position on the North American tissue market and a market-leader position within protective packaging.
2004 Largest player in tissue and personal care products
SCA acquired the New Zealand company Carter Holt Harvey's tissue operations. This made SCA the market leader within tissue in Australasia.
2007 Extensive wind power investments
SCA sold its North American packaging operations.
SCA acquired Procter & Gamble's European tissue business, including strong brands such as Tempo, the market leader in hankies in Western Europe and Hong Kong.
SCA and the Norwegian energy company Statkraft formed a jointly owned company for a major wind power investment. The plans involved 450 wind mills in six wind farms in Northern Sweden.
SCA formed a joint-venture company together with Jordan-based Nuqul. Nuqul is a leading industrial Group in the Middle East.
2008 Delisted from the London Stock Exchange
SCA delisted from the London Stock Exchange.
2009 SCA acquires Algodonera Aconcagua
SCA acquires - through its Colombian joint venture - Algodonera Aconcagua, one of the largest players in feminine care in Argentina.
2010 SCA acquires Copamex
SCA acquires Copamex baby diaper business in Mexico and Central America, and sells its Asian packaging operation.
2011 SCA is acquiring Pro Descart
SCA is acquiring the Brazilian hygiene products company Pro Descart and 95 percent of San Saglik, a Turkish company in incontinence. SCA and Pacific Equity Partners form a joint venture in Australasia and SCA acquires 50 percent of Turkish hygiene products company Komili.
2012 SCA divests its entire packaging operations
SCA has for the fifth time been named as one of the world's most ethical companies by the American Ethisphere Institute. SCA also continues to be a member company of the global sustainability index FTSE4Good for the 12th consecutive year.
SCA acquires Georgia-Pacific´s European tissue business, Asian hygiene products company Everbeauty and the remaining 50 % in the Chilean hygiene company PISA (Papeles Industriales S.A.).
During 2012 SCA also divested its Packaging operations to DS Smith UK.
2013 Becomes majority shareholder in Vinda
SCA introduces an updated company logotype. Becomes majority shareholder in the Chinese tissue company Vinda, established operations in India and divested the publication paper mill in Laakirchen, Austria.
2014 Strenghtend the cooperation Vinda
The cooperation with the Chinese hygiene company Vinda was strengthened through the transfer of SCA's hygiene business in China, Hong Kong and Macau to Vinda.
The joint venture Asaleo Care, with operations in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, was floated on the stock exchange. After the listing, SCA's holding in Asaleo Care amounts to 32.5 %.
As the first Swedish listed company, SCA raised SEK 1,500m through a green bond issue. The bond proceeds will be used for investments in projects with a positive environmental impact.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2014–2015 began, in which SCA has entered a female crew – Team SCA.
2015 Invest in increased capacity at the Östrand pulp mill
To further intensify the focus on the Group's two main operations, SCA decided to initiate a dividing of the Group into two divisions: a Hygiene division and a Forest Products division.
Decision to invest in a new production facility in Brazil for the manufacture of incontinence products. Decision to invest in increased capacity for pulp production at the Östrand pulp mill in Sweden.
SCA qualified for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Index, and was named industry leader in the Household Products sector.
Decision to make a public bid on Wausau Paper Corp., one of the largest AfH tissue companies in the North American market. The transaction was completed on January 21, 2016.
Decision to divest the business in Southeast Asia, Taiwan and South Korea for integration with Vinda. SCA is the majority shareholder in Vinda, one of China's largest hygiene companies.
As part of the cost-savings program related to the acquisition of Georgia-Pacific's European tissue operations, a tissue production plant in France was closed.
Decision to close down a newsprint machine at the Ortviken paper mill in Sweden.
2017 SCA is divided into two listed companys
At the Annual General Meeting of SCA, the company's shareholders voted in favor of the Board of Director's proposal to split the Group into two listed companies; the forest products company SCA and the hygiene and health company Essity.