Interim report January–March 2018

Quarterly data 

  • Net sales were SEK 5 897 million (5 636), an increase of 5% mainly as a result of increased selling prices. 
  • EBITDA was SEK 1 065 million (923), an increase of 15% mainly as a result of increased selling prices, which were partly offset by higher wood prices. 
  • Adjusted EBITDA was SEK 1 102 million (938), an increase of 17%. 
  • The adjusted operating margin was 12% (10%). 
  • Adjusted operating profit was SEK 729 million (572), an increase of 27%. 
  • Earnings per share amounted to SEK 2.40 (1.94).

Key highlights 

  • Stable production
  • Strong earnings driven by increased selling prices
  • Continued high demand across all business areas
  • Negative earnings impact from cost inflation and wood shortage
  • Strategic investments are progressing according to plan
  • Positive market outlook in both the short and long term

COMMENTS BY CEO 

Strong demand
“The quarter was characterised by stable production and a continued strong demand for innovative and sustainable packaging. As the market leader in our selected product areas, we are well positioned to capture growth. Revenues in the quarter increased by 5% compared with the same period last year, which was mainly due to higher selling prices. Owing to the weather-related wood shortage that affected the entire sector, we have had difficulty in fully meeting customer demand during the period.

Our investments are progressing according to plan. The paper machine at Skärblacka is currently undergoing start-up and is expected to make a positive contribution to earnings towards the end of the year. At Gruvön, we have strengthened the programme management and created clearer ownership of each element of the project. As we equip ourselves for the future, we have to not only expand capacity to meet increased demand but also optimise production between our mills. We shall ensure a customer-oriented offering produced in resource-efficient facilities with stable availability and a high level of safety.”

The result
EBITDA for the quarter rose by 15% to SEK 1 065 million. Sales volumes decreased compared with last year, while net sales increased by 5% owing mainly to increased prices and a positive currency impact. Variable costs increased, mainly owing to demand-related price increases for wood and chemicals.

All business areas are continuing to deliver stable earnings. Packaging Paper is delivering strong earnings, driven by increased demand and higher prices. Consumer Board had high availability and EBITDA increased by 8% compared with last year. Managed Packaging, within Corrugated Solutions, is continuing to deliver strong sales growth.

Production availability was good during the quarter. This is essential for profitable growth and continued investments in the future. Disruptions to production or start-up problems directly impact how customers perceive quality, as well as impacting Group profits. To minimise problems in production in the future, a Group unit has been set up to harmonise the work on increasing safety, and to ensure stability and quality at all facilities. The starting point for this work is to adopt a more customer-oriented perspective and focus on preventive actions.

Market outlook
Strong demand across all business areas is expected to continue over the next quarter. We have favourable order levels with opportunities for continued price increases to offset the rising raw material prices that are adversely affecting the entire sector.

In the longer term, the market trends of urbanisation, digitalisation, globalisation and sustainability offer significant opportunities for continued growth. We are correctly positioned, with a broad offering of innovative and sustainable packaging and solutions. Demand for a comprehensive offering, in which the sustainability of materials plays a key role, is growing. Packaging is gaining an increasingly important role in many brand owners’ efforts to make their products more competitive. This continues to give us great confidence in our products and our development.

Strategy
In order to deliver profitable growth of 3–4%, goal-oriented and intensive work is being undertaken in four strategic areas: position, innovation, sustainability and efficiency. There is currently a strong emphasis on capturing growth in selected product areas and supplying our current and future customers with the highest-quality sustainable packaging materials and solutions. Our two major investment projects have not only demonstrated our ambitions to meet the increased needs of the market, but we have also shown our potential to create an efficient production structure.
 
For further information, please contact:

Susanne Lithander, CFO, +46 8 553 335 00
Christopher Casselblad, Investor Relations, +46 8 553 335 08

This information constituted inside information prior to publication. This is information that BillerudKorsnäs AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact persons set out above, at 07.00 CET on 20 April 2018.

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About Us

BillerudKorsnäs provides packaging materials and solutions that challenge conventional packaging for a sustainable future. We are a world-leading provider of primary fibre based packaging materials and have customers in over 100 countries. The company has 8 production sites in Sweden, Finland and the UK and about 4300 employees in over 13 countries. BillerudKorsnäs has an annual turnover of about SEK 22 billion and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. www.billerudkorsnas.com