Sonoco and Finland’s Ahlstrom Corporation are to combine their respective European paper-based tube/core and coreboard operations in a joint venture.

Sonoco-Alcore will be held 64.5% by Sonoco and 35.5% by Ahlstrom. Sonoco will manage the business, to be headed by current division vice-president, Sonoco Industrial Products/Paper-Europe James Harrell III.

Sonoco will contribute 25 tube and core plants in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Switzerland and Turkey, and six paper mills, in the UK, France, Germany, Greece and Italy.

Ahlstrom will contribute 15 tube and core plants in Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden, and its Karhula paper mill and Anjalankoski recruiting centre in Finland. Total 2003 sales for the Sonoco and Ahlstrom operations were US$235M and US$102M, respectively.

Sonoco has simultaneously agreed to buy 100% of Ahlstrom’s Chinese paper tube/core operation in Shouguang and, in another recently unveiled deal, to buy privately-held CorrFlex Graphics, one of America’s largest point-of-purchase specialists.