Thinking about the future... today!

Ondunorte - Cia. de Papel e Papelão Ondulado do Norte - has a 46-year history in the field of paper. Generating profits and doing so sustainably at its production sites is the company’s main mission.

Perini Journal

We are in Brazil, and precisely in Igarassu/PE, the company headquarters.

With six facilities (Ondunorte I in Igarassu/PE, Ondunorte II in Afogados/PE, Ondunorte III in Moreno/PE, CICP in Aracaju/SE, Ondunorte IV in Conde/PB,CIPER in Beberibe/PE, and CODEPAL, currently at the construction phase in MarechalDeodoro/AL), this Group led by brothers Saulo, Sérgio and Gilson Pontes is pursuingan environmental sustainability policy and social commitment represents a business priority. This philosophy is rooted in its founder Aluísio Pontes, a visionary who passed down his experience and expertise to his children and grandchildren, today directors of the company. Ondunorte is one of the major paper and cardboard mills ofthe northeast of Brazil, a leader in the field for years committed to the intelligent use of native resources, because it’s not just a question of awareness but also of survival.


The group’s development began in 1966 in Moreno with the production of packaging paper for small supermarkets (widely used before the advent of shoppers). At the beginning of the 1970s, with the acquisition of the Afogados (PE) facility in Pernambuco, they began producing corrugated board as well as packaging papers, continuing their expansion with the purchase of other small companies in the region, giving rise to one sole facility dedicated to the production of corrugated board packaging and diversifying their business through special reels used for packaging pharmaceutical products and colored paper reels, which today have been replaced by plastic shopping bags. Thanks to a strategy aimed at enhancing their visibility in the field of paper and cardboard through the production of boxes and investments in the field of plastic materials, their growth has been consistent.

In 1989, with the expansion of the Moreno plant, the production of tissue paper began, which is currently concentrated in three of the six production sites: Igarassu, Sergipe and Conde, while corrugated board is produced in Beberibe and Igarassu. The range of Ondunorte’s products covers all the consumer segments and product types: toilet rolls, kitchen towels, table napkins and industrial products. For the toilet roll category, a good quality (FSBQ) and high quality (FSAQ) single-ply roll is proposed as well as the double-ply roll (FD), up to the three-ply category. In the industrial segment, they offer a range of hand towels, industrial rolls, hospital bed sheets and interfolded products. Alpino, Rose, Leve and Novo are the references for the rolls category,and the top brand is Alpino made of 100% cellulose.

Located in the North-East region of Brazil, today Ondunorte continues its expansion throughout the entire national territory.

A first step was made towards the north and middle-eastern area and then continued towards the southeast where some investments are already being made. “If companies in the south-east regions of Brazil can reach the northeast, then we can reach the southeastern regions of Brazil directly,” says Sergio Pontes,Sales Director. “Today, globalization has brought Chinese and American products all over the world. So I’m wondering why can’tour company - a company with modern systems, cutting-edge machines and quality products with high added value - export its products?” he adds.


Socio-economic development and greater income has generated an increase in consumers and consequently also in the demand for different products, including tissue products. Despite the fact the northeast of Brazil is the region with the second-highest population in the country, per capita income is verylow, although growth percentages have been registered. Studies indicate that average national tissue consumptionis 5 kg per capita, but in the northeast this is only 3-3.5 kg - figures that highlight a gap of 2/2.5 points compared to the national average and this can be explained by the different consumption habits of the population and by a scarce use of toilet paper. The development policy undertaken by the Government a few years ago has increased schooling and favored a greater diffusion of products in the most disadvantaged regions like the Amazon forest where, in some areas, the product arrives only through ferry-boat, an uncommon means of transportation but useful for reaching internal areas. Some supermarkets are evaluating the possibility of distributing their products through ferry-boats, turning them into floating supermarkets. An ambitious project that will streng then the process of social inclusion, although we may have to wait 10-15 years to see any substantial growth in these regions.

Today, thanks also to the fiscal incentives policy actuated by the Government, the Northeast attracts lots of companies but is registering a disordered migration with negative effects on the final consumer. Competition is becoming increasingly frequent but our company is used to it. Each day, we interface with our competitors, some of whom have much greater investment power than our selves.

But despite this fact, we succeed in having a leadership position thanks to the production and distribution of traditional products that represent 40% of our business.

The population of 50 million consumers mainly belonging to C and D classes prefer traditional, quality products and so choose our brand. We believe in this region and are the first to invest here; consumers recognize our standard and appreciate it,” says Sergio.

The “typical” northeastern consumer is not loyal to regional brands, as many would think, so investing in communication becomes essential, and this is done mainly through promotions at the sales points that build punctual and consistent loyalty in consumers looking for competitive prices and a quality that exceeds other brands.


Making the consumer’s life easier is Ondunorte’s objective and through handier and more ergonomic packaging, it satisfies the needs of practicality and ease of use demanded by consumers, women being the main figures doing the daily shopping and managing the family routine in homes that are becoming increasingly smaller. “Economic packs work very well: they offer several rolls at a more convenient price, resulting in fewer visits to supermarkets and allowing to have a stock of product always on hand in the home.” “About 15 years ago, when I was travelling in the south, south-eastern regions, the individual roll and the 2-roll pack no longer existed while in the northeast, it was still the best selling version. Many years later it is disappearing also in this region in favor of the multi-packs,” says Saulo Pontes, Industrial Director.

As happens in every country, in Brazil, too, the diffusion of tissue paper is one of the social economic indicators and to broaden the offer it is necessary to work on sensitizing and educating the population on the useof these products to ensure hygiene and practicality. Investing in education is the basis for development ina country and for its healthy growth. “It is true that unemployment is almost equal to zero and this reflectsin an increase in the buying power of the less wealthy social classes who, not knowing sometimes precisely how to use the money available to them, run the risk of spending it improperly. For this reason, they must be guided towards proper spending habits,” explains Sergio Pontes, Sales Director. “We live in the era of communication and are daily bombarded by promotional, emotional messages where everyone wants quality products,even less wealthy consumers. The Brazilian consumer looks for quality products, too. This is a fact. A biscuit-production facility succeeded in conquering all the social classes, from the wealthier echelon to the middle class to the less wealthy with its cream cracker: a revolutionary product that changed market parameters by producing a democratic “biscuit” accessible to everyone. How did they do it? By investing in technology with low management costs, little waste and an appropriate price for a quality cracker. The result? The consumer perceives the added value and is willing to pay for it,” underscores the Sales Director.


Looking to the future by following and anticipating market trends is a strategic priorityfor Ondunorte that it pursues by investing in technologically modernizing its industrial park because only by incrementing productivity, improving processes and the quality of their final product can they increasingly distinguish themselves in the market both in the northeast and on a national scale. Their leap in quality from the production of the single-ply roll to a premium product was guided by a very important concept: cuttingedge products to satisfy both the D and the A classes. Alpino 100% cellulose is their spearhead product that represents 20% of production (2- and 3-ply rolls) and is already a reference for consumers of the A and B classes. But in order to continue conquering new market shares, the company is investing in research and development to guarantee quality, added value and the right price.

“Every business is a continuous challenge and competition is increasingly fierce. We must be daring, creative, innovative, in continuous evolution and create new products, developing new business opportunities,” adds Sergio Pontes. Communication is their strong point and packaging is one of their instruments. “Technology, Research & Development and lots of quality are the essence of our rolls; for this reason, the package must express these messages and conquer the consumer,” says Sergio. But this is just one of the many ways to communicate. Besides a strong investment in packaging, merchandising and in the media, Ondunorte has understood that they must participate in the lives of consumers; that’s why being present at concerts or important popular events represents a great opportunity to promote their products and reach out to a heterogeneous audience. Through a partnership with an entrepreneur in the realm of chemical restrooms, it has brought itsrolls at important events, offering a cleaning service, too. A winning idea confirmed by the success obtained during the concert by Paul McCartney.

“A communication strategy aimed at attracting the attention of the product’s final users that change based onthe event: Alpino is distributed during important concerts, while Rose is for more popular events. In any case, Ondunorte always guarantees cleanliness and hygiene,” says Sergio Pontes. This idea has given great visibility tothe company, promoting it on TV and on printed media, increasing consumers’ curiosity - above all the younger generations who, as Leandro Uchoa, Marketing Manager, sustains “are the owners of tomorrow’s homes”. “It is important to understand how to communicate with the young generation and we are investing in creativity by experimenting new instruments. We want to be the best. We have also demonstrated to retail chains that by improving the visibility of Ondunorte’s references, loyalty to that supermarket improves, too” states Uchoa. Another step aimed at increasing visibility on a regional scale (Paraiba, Alagoas, Sergipe, Rio Grande do Norte and also inBahia) is participation at the “top of mind” award for the personal hygiene category of products.


The environment and sustainability lie at the basis of Ondunorte’s philosophy: a company thinking about the future, today! How? By using alternative energy sources such as biomass, eucalyptus tree farming and being involved in the re-forestation of the regions of Sergipe and Pernambuco. The use of recycled paper, too, as raw material allows it to sustain hundreds of families of catadores (waste pickers) and charity associations. “For us, sustainability is not just a concept, but a concrete commitment that we are showing through figures. Speaking through numbers means that our philosophy is really working. Concrete facts and figures because we really want to demonstrate our credibility as far as the environment is concerned.

And how are we doing this? Through 1. Technology, 2. Innovation and creativity and 3. Actions aimed at sustainability. Technology improves product performance and appeal, softness and bulk. Innovation and creativity are essential for an increasingly demanding consumer. And sustainability we obtain through processes and products like our eco-handle or the space-saving pack, for example,” underscores Leandro.

Ondunorte’s intention is to develop increasingly ecological products. Thanks to the recent investment in modern, cutting edge technologies for converting and packaging, we have been able to optimize our processes, improving the performances of the final product, too. Softer paper, more compact packs that reduce the quantity of polyethylene, reduction of COemissions during transport, the ecological handle to reduce use of plastics hoppers, toilet rolls without a core or with a single-strip core and there duction of operational costs all have a positive impact on the environment.

Ondunorte is a company that thinks about the future and the continuity ofits business thanks to a focussed strategy aimed at investment for growth.

“Work and dedication to business, the quality of processes and of products,respect for our partners are essential. I think that this is the secret and the basis of all our Group’ successes,” concludes Saulo Pontes, Ondunorte’s Industrial Director.

Technology, quality, tradition, sustainability, a capillary distribution, competitive prices, creativity and planned communication, a complete range of products for every price segment together with dedication, enthusiasm and the involvement of its directors make Ondunorte a leader that thinks about the future, today! •

  • From left: Sérgio Pontes, Sales Director, center Aul'sio Pontes and on the right, Saulo Pontes, Industrial Director
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