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Australia & US in Crosshairs as VMG Opens EU’s Greenest Timber Plant

Lithuania is becoming a hub for timber manufacturing with more than € 500 million invested in chipboard, cabinetry and mass timber production.


Thu 08 Feb 24

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The Australian and North American markets will soon welcome more containers of PEFC-certified laminated veneer lumber, l-joists, and structural particleboard from Lithuania after VMG Group opened the EU’s greenest mass timber plant.

That is, presuming the containers can navigate troubled waters to arrive at Asia-Pacific ports.

The new plant will strengthen Lithuania’s hold as one of Europe’s largest producers of mass timber products, with government-backed investment now targeting the ConTech sector to drive growth through the Balkans.

VMG is a major stakeholder in driving Lithuania’s investment into ConTech – and in 2020, it opened Europe’s largest chipboard facility – footage courtesy of @vakarumedienosgrupe5838.

At its peak, the facility will produce €150 million in mass timber products – comprising 120,000 cubic meters of laminated veneer lumber (LVL), 15 million meters of I-joists and 200,000 cubic meters of structural particle boards – to be sold into mass timber consumer markets, including the US, Canada, Australia, NZ and the wider EU.

The €100 million investment is the latest investment by VMG Group into timber production, following investments into Europe’s largest chipboard facility (€150 million in 2020) and its most high-tech cabinet furniture factory (€80 million) in August last year.

VMG Group, through its single investor, Sigitas Paulauskas, has emerged as a major player pushing the EU’s Green Deal and New European Bauhaus initiative through the Balkans.

According to Mr Paulauskas, the engineered timber materials will utilise wood biomass “with maximum efficiency” with further expansions in the pipeline, including investments in cross-laminated timber to provide prefabricated wall and ceiling panels, glued LVL columns, and wall chipboard with decorative sheeting.

The move will “ensure top sustainability standards and enable faster growth in the green ConTech industry,” Mr Paulauskas said.

The New European Bauhaus is a cornerstone of the EU’s New Green Deal – footage courtesy of @EuropeanCommission.

Announced in 2020, the New European Bauhaus is one of the signature initiatives the EU’s Green Deal is now pushing to utilise better low-carbon and bio-based building materials like timber in construction – with the several Paris Olympic Games constructed in line with the initiative.

At the same time, several major timber-consuming economies – including Australia, Canada, the US and the UK have pledged to use more timber-based products in construction projects over the next decade – and were signatories of the “Building Breakthrough” initiative at COP28 last year.

Already, Australia is scaling up mass timber and particleboard production to meet a surge in demand for timbers in low-carbon buildings.

The new plant is in Lithuania’s Akmene free economic zone, a trade zone providing tax breaks and streamlined administrative processes. 

Established in the mid-1990s, VMG manages more than 25 companies under the VMG Group umbrella; it is one of the largest mass timber producers across Europe, with a presence in the Baltic States, Poland, and the wider EU.

Author

  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.

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