Companies in this industry primarily manufacture pulp, paper, and paperboard. Major US companies include Clearwater Paper, KapStone Paper, Verso, and units of integrated manufacturers Georgia Pacific and International Paper; major companies based outside the US include Nippon Paper (Japan), Smurfit Kappa (Ireland), and Stora Enso (Finland).
Demand depends on both consumer and business use of paper products. The profitability of individual companies depends largely on production efficiency. Mills owned by large paper companies have advantages by being vertically integrated; the parent corporation may own timber farms, sawmills, pulp and paper mills, conversion plants, and other end-product manufacturing facilities. Small mills can compete successfully in regional markets, in close proximity to timber sources or customers. The US industry is highly concentrated: the top 50 companies account for 90% of revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Paper accounts for 55% of US industry revenue, paperboard for 35%, and pulp for 5%. Other products include newsprint; nonwood pulp from cotton, straw, rag, flax, de-inked scrap paper and bagasse (the outer stalk of sugar cane); and byproducts such as turpentine and tall oil. Within the paper segment, major products are tissue papers, uncoated sheet papers, and coated printing papers. Paperboard is used mainly to make boxes and other containers.