Vlaams Gewest; Prov. Limburg (B); Arr. Tongeren
Location of affected unit(s)
Manufacture Of Wood And Paper Materials
Manufacture Of Paper And Paper Products
17 - Manufacture Of Paper And Paper Products

644 jobs
Number of planned job losses
Job loss
Announcement Date
11 March 2023
Employment effect (start)
12 March 2023
Foreseen end date


Sappi, a South-African multinational company specialised in the production of paper products has announced it will be closing its facility in Lanaken, Limburg. The entire facility will be closed, leading to 644 employees (both blue and white collar workers) facing dismissal.

The company erred in higher pricing, which caused customers to shift to competitors. In addition, the European graphic paper market has seen overcapacity, due to the decrease in magazine sales which has sharply reduced demand for graphic paper (which is one of the main products produced within the facility).

The closure is significant as the company is one of the biggest employers within the region, with several subcontractors that largely depend on the factory as a client. This is why employers' organisation Unizo calls for support measures for the whole region. They demand to classify the province as a so called "dislocated zone". Within this system companies in that zone can get discounts on labour costs when hiring new staff (especially employees from the former Sappi plant). The main aim is to counter unemployment within the region and support local businesses.

Together with the facility in Lanaken, a facility in Stockstadt Germany will also be closed.



Eurofound (2023), Sappi, Closure in Belgium, factsheet number 200374, European Restructuring Monitor. Dublin, https://restructuringeventsprod.azurewebsites.net/restructuring-events/detail/200374.