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Zara Supplier Picks Site for $420 Million Fiber Factory

Infinited Fiber Company plans to build a commercial-scale factory to produce regenerated textile fiber for apparel companies at the site of renewable materials company Stora Enso’s closed Veitsiluoto paper mill in Kemi, a Finnish city on the northern shore of the Baltic Sea.

The size of the investment is estimated at 400 million euros ($420.73 million) and it is expected to create around 270 jobs in the area. The planned factory’s annual fiber production capacity is expected to be 30,000 metric tons–equivalent to the fiber needed for about 100 million T-shirts.

Infinited Fiber Company’s technology enables cotton-rich textile waste to be transformed into a versatile, high-quality regenerated textile fiber called Infinna, which resembles the look and feel of cotton. Major international fashion and apparel companies–including Zara parent Inditex, PVH Europe, Patagonia, Pangaia, H&M Group and Besteller–have already committed to Infinna purchases through multiyear agreements as they look for materials that enable the industry to shift toward circularity.

Infinited Fiber expects to export most of the output of its planned factory. Kemi’s port serves as an efficient link to the rest of the world.

Infinited Fiber will convert a building housing a discontinued paper production line into an Infinna fiber factory. The factory engineering and project implementation, as well as the related financing negotiations, were commenced at the beginning of the year and are progressing well, the company noted. Infinited Fiber has also agreed on the provision of energy- and water-related services with utility infrastructure company Nevel.

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Once up and running, the factory is expected to provide direct employment for around 220 people, and for a further 50 through on-site support functions such as services, maintenance and logistics. The additional indirect employment impact is estimated to be around 800 jobs. The factory is anticipated to operate at full capacity in 2025.

“Circularity is at the heart of our business,” Infinited Fiber CEO and co-founder Petri Alava said. “We aim to make use of existing resources in all that we do, which makes the historic Veitsiluoto industrial site a great fit for us. At the same time, we will be creating new export products and jobs. Finland has solid bioeconomy know-how and is very supportive of circular economy innovations. We see these as major strengths that enable Finland to become a leader in the creation of the new, circular economy-based textile industry value chain.”

Infinited Fiber Company selected the Veitsiluoto industrial site after reviewing dozens of potential premises across Finland. Decisive factors supporting the decision included the site’s strong infrastructure, the availability of fresh water, renewable electricity and energy, efficient port services and local skilled labor.