In the first quarter of 2016, three new technological lines were installed in the Velvet Care plant in Klucze. This event marked the completion of the 3rd stage of investments which started at the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015. Thanks to the investments, the production capacity of the paper plant was doubled; the plant is the place where best known hygiene paper products under the Velvet brand are manufactured, i.e. toilet paper, paper towels and tissues. For 18 years, they have been the synonym of the paper product category in Poland.
Velvet CARE went beyond the stiff frames of a paper product manufacturer and is becoming a strong player on the entire hygiene product market.
In 2015, another huge change in the company’s operation took place. Investments were made in extending the machine park. New technological lines were launched in the Klucze plant:
- a line for production of moisturizing products – the most important one, expanding the area of the company’s operation onto completely new areas;
- a balm-infusing machine offering a possibility of a completely new softness standard for all paper products and;
- another line for hygienic tissue products, practically doubling the capacity of the company in this category.
As a result of these changes, the Velvet portfolio was extended onto new premium product categories: moisturized products (moisturized toilet paper and baby wipes) and balm-infused products (tissues with balm and toilet paper infused with balm). It is estimated that the total investment value in the course of 2 – 3 years will amount to approx. PLN 200 million.
As a result of takeover by the investment fund Avallon MBO Fund II we are now Velvet CARE - a local company that, thanks to experience and know-how of the market leaders, is certain of its bright future.
Velvet CARE Sp. z o.o. (Limited) is the first investment for the second AVALLON fund, set up in December 2012, and specializing in transactions with management participation. AVALLON is a pioneer on the management buyouts market in Poland, and has been working in this field since 2001. Investors in the fund are international financial institutions, among others, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the funds managed by the Swiss company Akina Partners. The Fund invests in various industries, mainly in companies with the turnover of about 50 to 250 million PLN. In June this year, AVALLON MBO FUND was selected as the Best Fund of the Year 2012 in the category of Small and Middle-sized funds – fund value below 200 mln EUR.
In March 2003, the paper mill in Klucze became part of the American corporation Kimberly-Clark, joining some of the largest manufacturers of hygiene products in the world. The plant in Klucze became the base of the growing corporate operations in the Central and Eastern Europe, gaining the know-how and experience of the corporation managing global brands such as Kleenex®, Scottex®, Andrex®.
In the year 2000, the Velvet brand won the position as undisputed leader not only in the category of toilet paper and tissues, but also napkins and (for the first time) paper towels.
To this day, Velvet remains highly popular with the consumers.
In 1997, the company began to manufacture products under the Velvet brand, offering toilet paper that for the first time in Poland was made of high quality tissue paper, and tissues. Already a year after the advertising campaign launch, Velvet tissues gained a 25 - percent market share, and toilet paper under the same brand - 17 percent. Once the company achieved market success, it began to strive to become a leader in the industry. First, the company dealt with the improvement and expansion of the product range. Such products as perfumed toilet paper were introduced, the available colour gamut of the paper was broadened; the company also changed embossing on tissues. The brand began to set new trends in the category. Already two years later, the pulp and paper mills have gained not only the greatest brand awareness in their category and very high quality ratings - especially related to functionality (softness), but also recognition for the pleasing aesthetic qualities of the products, what was found to be an important and desirable feature in consumer polls.
In 1996, an international corporation became the main shareholder of Kluczewskie Zakłady Papiernicze S.A. (joint stock company), what involved, inter alia, the name change to International Paper Klucze S.A. (joint stock company). Investments made by International Paper in the years 1997-2002 added state of the art processing lines to the plant equipment, and directly contributed to the paper mill gaining the status of one of the leading companies producing and processing paper tissue in Central Europe – taking into account both the processing effectiveness, as well as the sales of finished products.
A significant breakthrough in the paper mill came about in 1976, when the first MP6 machine producing high quality paper tissue was installed. This meant a ground-breaking change in the production profile of the plant. A biological sewage treatment plant was established during the same time.
Operations of the plant – at the time known under the name Kluczewskie Zakłady Papiernicze (Klucze Paper Plant) - have expanded enough for the mill to begin exports of tissue to United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Cyprus and Egypt. At the beginning of the 1990s, MP6 was further modernized, becoming one of the most advanced machines of its kind in Europe and was able to produce 80 tons of ready-made tissue per day.
At the end of 1895, Louis Mauve, owner of the Klucze estate, was certain he was going to build a paper mill. A year later, together with three partners he established a joint stock company with a capital that did not exceed 1000 rubles. All of them had a common goal – to manufacture products of the highest quality, that thanks to their quality will take the market by storm, and generate significant profits from the investment. Already in 1898, the first papermaking machine producing six tons of paper per day started its operation.
During World War I the production was halted, but in 1920 the new owners began the expansion and modernization of the paper mill. As a result, high-quality paper from the Klucze mill gained recognition in Europe and was awarded the gold medal at the international exhibition in Paris (in 1924), becoming known outside the country. At the same time, the second papermaking machine with a production capacity of 12 tons per day started operating. In the subsequent years, further investments were made to increase production efficiency. In 1935, the next paper machine put in operation, the third one, had the capacity more than three times higher than the previously existing machines in the factory. Just before World War II, the Klucze paper mill production capacity reached 1000 tons of paper and 1800 tonnes of cellulose pulp per month. Simultaneously, along with the expansion of the plant, a new housing estate funded by the plant and intended for the mill workers was established.
During the Second World War, the factory passed into the hands of German civil authorities. At the end of the war, in mid-1945, plant ownership was taken over by the newly established state - Polish People's Republic, and the first of the papermaking machines started operations once again. A few years after the war, the MP5 machine - which began to produce toilet paper – was installed. During the period of structural changes in the management and organization of all the national industries carried out in the early 1950s, the paper company in Klucze was given a new name: Fabryka Celulozy i Papieru im. Jarosława Dąbrowskiego (Jarosław Dąbrowski Pulp and Paper Plant).