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Stora Enso Proceeds with Papeteries de France Acquisition

Press release from the issuing company

HELSINKI, Finland, Feb. 24 -- Stora Enso today announced that Stora Enso and International Paper have signed a definitive agreement concerning Stora Enso's previously announced acquisition of the French paper merchant Papeteries de France (PdF) from International Paper. The transaction is expected to be closed at the end of March 2005, subject to formal processes and approval by regulatory authorities. The debt free transaction value is estimated to EUR 18 million. PdF will become part of the Stora Enso Merchants division, Papyrus. The acquisition is a further step in strengthening the Papyrus presence in France and Western Europe. Following the acquisition, Papyrus will become the second-biggest paper merchant in France, with annual sales of about EUR 260 million and 345 employees. The annual sales volume in France is some 260 000 tonnes of fine paper. "As a customer interface for the Group, our merchant business Papyrus is an important component of Stora Enso's value chain and takes us one step closer to the customer. Papyrus provides us vital insight into the customer's business and helps us better understand the end-users' needs," says Kai Korhonen, Senior Executive Vice President, Stora Enso Paper. "Papyrus's strategy is to be a leading player in the markets and segments where it operates. This acquisition will clearly help us achieve this objective in France and therefore Western Europe. We believe that by creating a stronger position we can serve our customers better and generate improved financial returns," says Mats Nordlander, President of Papyrus.