HELSINKI Feb 13 Talks between Uruguay's
government and Finnish pulp and paper maker UPM on a
new pulp plant project in the Latin American country are
proceeding, Uruguay's president Tabare Vazquez said on Monday.
Uruguayan media reports said last month that UPM and the
local authorities were close to reaching a deal on a project to
construct what would be the company's second pulp mill in the
country, and which would cost in total $4 billion.
UPM has confirmed initial talks but has denied that any
quick deal is in sight, citing uncertainties regarding local
Vazquez, who had traveled to Finland to meet politicans as
well as UPM's management, said the talks had progressed.
"We are working intensively and we have high hopes that this
investment will become a reality," he told a news conference.
He said the talks were still at the first of three stages,
adding that the parties were seeking to complete the initial
negotiation stage by the end of March.
Finnish pulp projects in Uruguay have faced difficulties in
the past. UPM's current mill in Fray Bentos, originally built by
Metsa Group, caused a dispute between Uruguay and
neighbouring Argentina, while Stora Enso's $2 billion
joint venture mill in Montes Del Plata was delayed by strikes
and other labour issues before it finally opened in 2014.
(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Greg Mahlich)