About us - History of the Paper Mill

Overview of the history of one of the oldest paper mills in Bohemia which still produces paper.

1675 - Erhart becomes the first stationer of the paper mill in Červená Řečice. 

1690 - The paper mill is rented out to Jan Michael Trier for one year at a cost of 85 gold pieces plus 5 reams of office paper, 5 reams of concept paper and 5 reams of inferior paper. A year later, the mill is rented out for 130 gold pieces plus 10 reams of office paper, 10 reams of concept paper and 10 reams of inferior paper, confirming an improvement in the situation of the paper mill.

1704 - The paper mill is rented out to František Ignác Dorfmuller. 

1720 - Yearly rent of 150 gold pieces. 

1736 - Jan Jiří Teimer of Mimoň becomes the stationer. With Teimer in this position, the paper mill is very well technologically equipped, boasting two German machines (2 grinders), along with a Hollander beater as early as in 1740. 

1746 - According to the report by the regional authority of Bechyně of 13th July 1746, the paper mill has 3 wheels, each driving 32 pulpers, and annually produces 400 reams of office paper and 150 reams of concept paper for a total of 550 reams, of which 90 and 4 reams of office and concept paper, respectively, are used, and the rest is sold.

1749 - Kristián Příhoda of Mimoň becomes Teimer's successor.  
The rent is 150 gold pieces. + 8 reams of office paper and 7 reams of concept paper; the paper that is not consumed is sold to paper shops in Jihlava.

1788 - Václav Příhoda the paper stationer (a son of Kristián Příhoda).

The rent is 190 gold pieces. It was also obligatory to provide paper to the archbishop's residence, as well as to the tax office in Červená Řečice.
Příhoda would produce 42 reams of large mailing paper, 150 reams of large office paper, 80 and 540 reams of larger and smaller concept paper, respectively, as well as 100 reams of absorbent or rough paper, making a total of 1517 reams or 151 packages.

At this time, the paper mill of Řečice would surprise people with the variety of its range, ranking it among the larger paper mills in Bohemia at the time (Kristián Příhoda had purchased the paper mill emphyteutically and passed the contract on to his son, who sold it in 1818).

1818 - Paper mill purchased by Jakub Klusáček.

As Klusáček takes charge of the paper mill of Řečice, the times are known to have gone from fairly favourable to quite bad due to the German customs association. Despite this, Klusáček would produce 2850 reams of office and concept paper a year in the early 1840s. After his death, his son Petr Klusáček carries on with the production, but is unable to fully acquire the paper mill as he is obliged to pay his dues to his brothers. This is why their foster father Václav Ludikar and widow Florentina sell the paper mill on 22nd January 1850.

1850 - Paper mill purchased by brothers Jakub and Ignác Spira for 13,200 gold pieces.

Jakub would act as the sole producer, with his brother Ignác only participating via capital. Jakub Spiro starts to make some changes, even establishing a steam engine and manufacturing sugar packaging paper. Using the new machine equipment, Jakub changes the former paper manufacture into a machinery-rich paper shop, even purchasing a new paper production machine from Sweden.
The owners of the factory in Červená Řečice refit the paper shop at high cost, proceeding to rationally produce in large volumes and employing an average of 60 workers.

1858 - after a fire on 6th November 1858, the costs to operate the paper mill and the residential building increase and the paper mill is rebuilt, including offices and the residential part.

Report from 20th January 1859 on status of the factory: The paper mill employs 80 workers, one machine and the operating capital of the owner is 20,000 gold pieces.

1860 - Ignác leaves for Český Krumlov and purchases the Český Krumlov paper mill. Jakub Spiro obtains a paper manufacturing license from the Pelhřimov district office.

Report from 11th January 1862 on status of the factory: The paper mill employs 100 workers, one boiler and the operating capital is 20,000 gold pieces.

1863 - License issued by the district office to operate a steam boiler. After a fire, the paper mill heads towards bankruptcy.

1878 - The paper mill at Červená Řečice goes to auction. The total price of the paper mill is approximately 113,000 gold pieces, auctioned for 30,500 gold pieces to a saving bank.

1890 - Paper mill purchased by Emanuel Vodička of Tábor. He would manufacture protective pasteboard out of rags and straw. The production is approximately 150 train cars a year over 300 workdays. In addition to that, he would manufacture about 60 train cars of 15×18" patent paper, employing 34 workers.

1895 - Brothers Isidor and Karel Netti purchase the factory for 20,000 gold pieces. Isidor becomes the sole hands-on owner, with Karel participating only in terms of capital and his printing concession. A year later, the brothers would try manufacturing sacks.

1897 - Karel Nettl sells his share of the company for 15,300 gold pieces to Isidor Nettl.

1906 - The factory is destroyed by a fire on 12th September, only to be rebuilt once again. According to the report on the status of the factory from 1906, we can learn that 30 workers (men and women), one office worker and one apprentice worked in it at the time. After the fire, the production volume is only 12 cars of 100 q each. The production grew significantly by purchasing new machines (to 200 train cars a year).

1914 - The paper mill obtains a license to use the Büsing truck (which actually was the very first cargo truck in the county). 

The First World War greatly disturbs the prosperity of the factory as it has to participate in the war machine, producing pasteboard for rifles. It is supervised by the military office in Jindřichův Hradec, producing about 2,000 t of paper. After the coup, the factory transitions to manufacturing packaging paper, which turns out to pose new problems with the delivery of new materials – cellulose and wood.

1924 - With new owners, brothers Beno and Oskar Nettl, the paper mill achieves significant capital growth and expansion. The plant has three paper mills and various devices used to process and upgrade paper.

1928 - Rebuilt from older equipment, machines No. 2 and No. 3 are commissioned. At this point, the factory has been electrified and a new sanding line has been added. 

1935 - Sack manufacturing is slowed down (stopped in 1947).

1936 - Significant amounts of raw material have to be delivered to the factory: 7000 t of coal, 5000 t of cellulose, 1000 t of old paper and 3200 t of wood, a total of 16,200 t of raw materials. The factory has 300 workers, including office workers and home workers, making an average of 35 train cars of packaging and other paper. A total of CZK 1,250,000 in wages is paid. The paper mill is also impacted by the German occupation; due to being of Jewish descent, the owners are deprived of their property rights to the factory and transported to Terezín (Beno Nettl would not return). The factory is acquired by the Prague Stock Exchange.

1942 - Purchase of machines designed to manufacture folding toilet paper.

1945 - After the liberation of the Pelhřimov region by the Soviet army, new difficulties would ensue, people would leave for the border regions and paper production would drop due to the insufficient coal supply (2300 t of paper).

6th June – Anna, Oskar and Jitka Nettl request the County office of Pelhřimov to let them reclaim this business, which previously belonged to them, and expressed the intention to continue to operate it in coordination with the works committee.

7th May 1946 – The regional national committee in Prague accepts the request and the factory is returned to its former owner, Oskar Nettl. In this year, a significant amount of money is invested into machinery repairs. 3000 t of paper are manufactured in this year. In the following year, 4518 t of paper are made thanks to the workers: 43 t of packaging paper, 1672 t of superior paper, 2024 t of Havana paper, 627 t of hat paper and 152 t of toilet paper.

1948 - The events of February 1948 impact the paper mill of Červená Řečice as well. Following up on a one-hour strike on 24th February, the flags are raised on 25th February and an action committee established on 27th February. The paper mill is nationalized in February. On 1st March 1948, a national management is established once again, with Ladislav Knor appointed the national manager. On 3rd March, the factory is handed over by the national manager to the hitherto owner, Oskar Nettl. This is changed by the National Committee and the national management delegates the running of the paper mill in Červená Řečice to Jihočeské Papírny in Větřní, with Josef Peterka replacing Ladislav Knor as the technical director and Josef Lachout taking charge of administration. In 1948, the paper mill produces 5000 t of paper. The sanding line would sand approximately 4500 solid cubic metres of wood for internal consumption. The steam turbine would produce around 3,500,000 kWh a year, which is still not enough to cover the factory's own power consumption.

1949 - 1960 - From 1948, the paper mill is under the national management of JIP Větřní up until 1949. On 1st July 1949, it is assigned under the management of the paper mills in Tábor. From 1953 to 1958, it is under the management of the Přibyslavice paper mills in Jihlava. After the re-organization of national industries, it comes under the management of JIP Větřní designated as the secluded guild of Červená Řečice. In 1955, there is an attempt to clarify the outlook, adding the growing trend of toilet paper production to the stabilized production of paper. In 1949, the paper mill produces 189 t of folded toilet paper; in the years that follow, production grows to 1732 t in 1964. However, production starts dropping again due to the lack of manpower needed for processing.

1960 - 1975 - In 1964, there is another change and the paper mill is assigned as a secluded guild under the management of JIP Přibyslavice. In 1971, a prospect study is elaborated and approved. This study is already influenced by the presence of the water management structure on the Želivka River and considers the stabilization of yearly paper production while factoring in the retention of water purity in the Trnávka River, which is affluent to the Želivka. The production is aimed towards focusing on the production of folded toilet paper. This stabilized prospect is considered till 1980. In 1974, the entire production is transferred from the factory with the goal of achieving a yearly production volume of 3150 tonnes.

Yearly register














Paper production

5 020

5 318

5 036

5 189

5 160

4 970

5 282

5 486

5 682

5 850

5 990

6 148

6 095

Number of workers














Toilet paper production





1 106

1 188

1 410

1 460

1 540

1 602

1 612

1 620

1 680



Yearly register














Paper production

6 292

6 231

6 256

6 228

6 075

6 199

6 211

6 261

6 339

6 343

6 357

6 344

6 286

Number of workers














Toilet paper production

1 660

1 732

1 679

1 701

1 690

1 694

1 588

1 371

1 395

1 431

1 432

2 224

1 692




The basic machine equipment becomes obsolete and is only capable of satisfying the established goals with increased effort. A modern, highly efficient purification station is built to improve the wastewater situation. After the fire, a modern new warehouse and a toilet paper processing hall are built. The faecal water outlet is connected to new septic tanks and several water closets built to improve the work environment. After a fire in 1962, which destroys the boiler room and the coaling bridge, the roof above the boiler room is rebuilt and a new coaling bridge built, boasting a fireproof frame. A new transforming station is built with enough capacity to cover the power consumption. By rebuilding the old warehouse, new shops are built that concentrate all the maintenance. The reconstruction of the old carpentry shop brings an extension to the storage area for the toilet paper raw material, which is processed in large and unusual amounts compared to the past. 

1975 - 1980 - For Cerepa, the second half of the seventies would mean intensification of toilet paper production. Organizationally speaking, the paper mill in Červená Řečice would still be a secluded guild of the paper mills of Jihlava in Přibyslavice and the factory in Přibyslavice was part of the national business of Jihočeské Papírny Větřní. At the time of rough normalization, the social conditions have to react to the critical shortage of toilet paper, resulting in large investments in hygiene in Slovak paper mills, as well as an intensification in folded toilet paper production in the guild of Červená Řečice. This site was already producing toilet paper shortly after the Second World War, but its volume was dependent on the number of folding machines and the skill of individual workers at manually picking and packing individual packages of toilet paper. There was a packaging machine developed in the guild's workshop, eventually resulting in 7 of these machines being manufactured under the name of ŠMS 1 and creating 7 production lines, each consisting of two folding machines and one packaging machine. In this time of advanced technology, such production line would look rather amusing, but it remains true that toilet paper production in the second half of the 70s would far exceed 3 thousand tonnes, meaning a growth of approximately 70%. With intensified toilet paper production, this period is also associated with women from Poland joining the workforce. At one time, almost forty of them would work in the factory and have their own dormitory built for them. The dormitory was later modified and serves as the main administrative building at the present time.

The 70s - by the end of the seventies, the position of the guild leader is assumed by the young then-head technician, Mr. Jaroslav Trnka, who surrounded himself with a group of young, proactive technical-economical workers eager and bold enough to push production modernization based on technological advancements and high productivity.

The 80s - The technological water sewer system is built. There is a change in the organizational assignment of the paper mill in Červená Řečice, becoming a factory of Jihočeské Papírny, n.p. Větřní in the mid-eighties. The official name of CEREPA is established. From the eighties, Cerepa would focus more on the production of hygienic papers, first by increasing production of the current hygienic program, i.e., toilet paper. Very modern for the time, PERINI spooled toilet paper production lines were purchased. Paper milling machine number 5 replaces the obsolete and under-performing machines numbers 2 and 3. PS 5 starts to produce creped raw material for toilet paper with a significant share of recycled paper. At the present time, all the production on this machine consists of 100% recovered paper.

The 90s - The change in social conditions after 1989 brings along a change in the organizational arrangement. CEREPA becomes a joint-stock company from 1992 as a subsidiary company of JIP Větřní, a.s. The hygienic paper production is extended even further in the 1990s. There are new productions initiated for paper towels, rolled and mostly folded, as well as ink-lines and cosmetic towels. However, the most important moment is the initiation of production of large-diameter toilet paper designed for institutional sales – aka JUMBO – on the new paper line in 1998. Apart from intensifying and expanding the production, there is also the addition of a gas boiler room, biological wastewater purification plant and flotation purification plant for technological water.

At the same time, there is a gradual decline in the production of HAVANA grocery paper and the whole production capacity of PS 4 is focused on producing raw material for paper towels after 2000. Paper towel production continues growing and assumes the leading position in the production program along with production of JUMBO toilet paper.

2002 - In 2002, CEREPA undergoes significant ownership changes following the decision of the 100% owner – Jihočeské papírny, a.s., Větřní – to sell CEREPA. The process is initiated with the assistance of financial and advisory company Patria Finance, starting by changing the company name from JIP-CEREPA Červená Řečice, a.s. to CEREPA, a.s. and ending with CEREPA being sold to the new owner, creating a new foundation for further operation of the company. In 2002, CEREPA, a.s. addresses the related restitution owners (Ing. Igor Nettl, Petronilla Nettlová, MUDr. Hana Tesková) to buy back all personal and real estate subject to the occupational lease from 18/8/1994. The property is an integral part of the basic operation of the paper mill, including one paper-processing machine, buildings and plots. This way, the company acquires property absolutely indispensable for its production activity. In 2002, CEREPA, a.s. sells real estates not needed to secure the production activity. These are three apartment buildings with a total of 14 accommodation units, a plot of forest and another plot outside the premises of the plant. A part of the business is also sold – an amyl plant in no way related to the paper production and which posed an environmental liability (dumping grounds for amyl and milk processing waste). With these property transfers, the company prepares for the sale, finally commenced by the owner of Cerepa (JIP Větřní a.s.) in December 2002. Cerepa, a.s. is purchased by GAUTE a.s. Based in Brno, this company becomes the sole stockholder of Cerepa. The production activity itself would be in operation in 2002 according to the approved production plan. Both stationery machines would produce throughout the whole year in a continuous production regime (except for scheduled shutdowns in July and August). Processing machines would operate in two, three or four-shift operations, according to the sales possibilities. A very important milestone is the transition of ZZ towel production on the WALI machine to 4-shift operation, increasing the production of this hygienic segment to 100 tonnes per month, which is the maximum production capacity of this machine. In the next step, Cerepa would shift to the production of institutional hygiene products. In addition to the very good economic results of the company in 2002 (+ CZK 12.959 million), it is also worth noting that the company is able to stabilize its employment situation after several years. This factor used to be very unstable, considering the location of Cerepa in a region with low unemployment, poor infrastructure and operation in shifts.

2003 - in 2003, CEREPA would follow up on the positive results from the previous years. 2003 is still especially significant for the company from a number of viewpoints. First and foremost, 2003 is the first whole year of CEREPA under the new owner (or new owners, to be more precise) after the company was sold in December 2002. The change in owner has impacted the stability of the production contract, further projecting into production stability and intensification, especially on processing machines. The main change, however, lies in the renewed investment policy, which was initiated and focused on modernizing the machinery, new storage areas, power and environmental modernization. The goal of all that would be increased productivity, lowered power demand and conservation of manpower. However, production is intensified on the existing machinery as well, especially in the production of toilet paper and paper towels with the "ZZ" warehouse. All these machines run in continuous operation and all mentioned capacities work without a performance reserve throughout the whole year. This is also the reason for the investment decision to purchase the new ATC machine used for the production of "ZZ" paper towels. The performance of the new production and processing capacity is to have an impact in 2004, along with the investment into the new gas drying cover for the PS5 stationery machine, which should increase the performance of the machine by approx. 1/3. 2003 is also the year of power savings. The operation of the gas boiler room is modernized. The change involves installing high-performance, high-efficiency gas burning, as well as a completely new boiler water treatment plant that would ensure purity of the water, minimizing sedimentation in the boiler. Another significant change is the installation of a device that would allow for unmanned operation of the gas boiler room, alleviating the need for four boilermen. There is also a significant advancement in the area of purity of technological wastewater. A biological purification plant is built as a final step of technological water purification with quantitative parameters, complying with the legal limits. The purification plant works in testing mode, with the purification measurement results confirming that the multi-million crown investment into improving the quality of the environment has been effective and secured further functionality of the paper milling production for the company. In the personnel department, the workforce status is proportional to the social conditions and the extramural location of the factory. In practice, considering the shift operation and non-existent mass transit, this means that most employees are from nearby villages and travel to work on an individual basis. Considering the universal and increasing unpopularity of shift operations, it can be said that good workers are in short supply, with the increasing unemployment figures having very little impact on this status. The only factors to bring in the reduction in workforce requirements and bring the workforce supply figure above that of demand is modernization of production and higher work productivity.

In 2003, CEREPA has created good conditions for the further development of paper milling and processing production and looks to build on that in the near future, which should bring higher base paper milling and processing production while adhering to ecological regulations and the current stagnation or reduction in workforce requirements.

2004 - In 2004, CEREPA would follow up on the good economic results from the previous years. 2004 is also significant for the company from a number of viewpoints. 

First and foremost, there was a change in investment policies, which was initiated back in 2003 and established the basic directions of the company. It comes in the form of modernizing machinery, building new storage and production areas, power and environmental modernizations, with the goal being increased productivity, reduced power demand and conservation of manpower.

In the second half of 2003, a distributor selection process is conducted entitled "Installation of PS5 drying cover", which would deal with increasing the capacity of stationery machine No. 5. Canadian company PremiAir ends up being the distributor of technological elements while ZVVZ Milevsko would provide assembly, wiring and construction work.

During the first stage (February–March 2004) construction modifications are made, along with the installation of technological units not dependent on the operation of the machine.

In the second stage (April 2004), the machine is shut down for a necessary period of time (six days) for the reason of demounting the old cover and mounting the new gas cover. After establishing control of the whole technology, the individual functional parts are tested and the machine achieves the guaranteed parameters after a short run-up period. The significant increase in production capacity of the machine in 2004 is shown in the following table.









pl. 2005

Production /tonnes/

6 525

6 697

6 797

6 827

8 185

9 136




Designated for "ZZ" towel production, a new "ATC" machine is purchased for a newly built production and storage hall, filling the capacity gap in this range on the market. Responding to the company's logistical needs, a new ZETOR 7341 AGRO tractor is purchased, mostly to provide transportation of mother paper rolls for Processing II.

At the end of 2003, CEREPA, a.s. finishes construction of the new biological wastewater purification plant, finishing the last re-construction stage for the water management department of the factory.

Throughout 2004, the new purification plant runs in testing operation. The quality of the outlet water would comply with all parameters according to the related legislation. 

- Comparison of quality of outlet water samples:





BSK5 (mg/l)




CHSKcr (mg/l)




NL (mg/l)




AOX (mg/l)





Balance value comparison:





BSK5 (mg/l)




CHSKcr (mg/l)




NL (mg/l)




AOX (mg/l)




- Comparison of the achieved values with the values specified by the related water law:


Legal values

CEREPA values (2004)

BSK5 (mg/l)



CHSKcr (mg/l)



NL (mg/l)



AOX (mg/l)




During the testing operation, we also link wastewater lines to this new purification plant. These were previously connected to the old wastewater purification plant. Thus we have brought a certain amount of nutrients necessary for operation of the purification plant that would not normally be present in paper mill wastewater in a sufficient amount. At the end of 2004, a water rights administration is conducted related to the final approval of the entire investment action.

The waste management is ensured according to the waste legislative. CEREPA, a.s. is a company that utilizes waste – waste paper (approx. 11,000–12,000 t/year) – for its production, significantly helping to improve the environment.

In 2004, two new sources of air pollution are commissioned – the MAXON gas burner used for drying the stationery sheets on the PS5 and the non-public pumping station used within the joint-stock company. Emission measurements are conducted for both sources, finding no limit-exceeding values.

The paper mill, now with a production volume exceeding 20 t/day, files an application for greenhouse gas emissions – CO2. This is currently pending approval.

Treatment of chemical substances with hazardous properties is outsourced to an authorized entity. The company signs a contract on ensuring reverse collection and utilization with the authorized company EKO-KOM a.s. The company signed a contract on elaborating an integrated approval application, planning to finish at the end of September 2005.

Since the company puts long-term effort into improving the environment, we include a summary of investments into environment-oriented measures:

Gas boiler room (1993) – CZK 5,250 thousand – replacing the coal boiler room, which was not capable of complying with emission limits according to the Air Environment Act.

  • BČOV (1995) - CZK 5,400 thousand – small biological wastewater purification plant and
    the Aktibent used on oil-heavy water, replacing the current septic tanks, which were inappropriate in terms of water management.
  • ČTOV (1998) – CZK 16,700 thousand – technological wastewater purification – the purpose was to reduce the consumption of raw technological water and the overall amount of outbound pollution.
  • ZFTOV (2001) – CZK 2,684 thousand – reverse filtering of technological wastewater – the purpose is to ensure the re-circulation of technological waters, i.e., the pre-step for the final biological cleaning of technological waters, achieving complete compliance with the legislation.
  • BČTOV (2003 - 2004) – CZK 11,000 thousand – biological purification plant for technological wastewater – the purpose is to provide final biological cleaning for technological wastewater, thus achieving the desired values according to the applicable legislative.