More fabrics crafted from dissolving wood pulp are likely to hit markets in the next few years as pulp and paper producer Sappi moves to extend its reach. The company, which has traditionally made the bulk of its profits from graphic paper, expects to grow its dissolving wood-pulp producing capacity by at least 500 000 tons in an attempt to shield it from losses as the global demand for paper declines. "There will always be room for paper but clearly [clients] are spending less on that and more on digital, so we are looking for ways to grow dissolving pulp further," said Sappi CEO Steve Binnie. Cigarette filters Sappi had projects under way locally to increase the production capacity of dissolving wood pulp by 60 000 tons within a year and aimed to produce an additional 500 000 tons within five years, Binnie said. The company produces 1.3 million tons, or 17%, of the world's supply of dissolving wood pulp, mostly sold to manufacturers of viscose, a semi-synthetic fibre, and other te...

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