Stora Enso Financial Statement Release 2017

Accelerated profitable growth. Dividend proposal EUR 0.41 per share

STORA ENSO OYJ, Helsinki, Finland
FINANCIAL STATEMENT RELEASE 9 February 2018 at 9.30 EET

Q4/2017 (year-on-year)

  • Sales of EUR 2 511 (2 438) million increased 3.0%: the fourth consecutive quarter of sales growth.
  • Sales excluding the paper business increased 6.2%.
  • Operational EBIT increased 46.6% to EUR 280 (191) million, mainly due to favourable prices and higher volumes combined with successful ramp-up of the strategic investments.
  • Strong cash generation strengthened the balance sheet further; net debt to operational EBITDA improved to 1.4 (1.9).
  • Operational ROCE was 13.5% (8.9%), the second consecutive quarter above the target of 13%.
  • The consumer board machine at Beihai Mill reached its designed capacity level and operational EBITDA break-even as promised in Q4/2017.

Year 2017 (year-on-year)

  •  Sales at EUR 10 045 (9 802) million increased 2.5%. Sales excluding the paper business increased 8.5%.
  •  Operational EBIT at EUR 1 004 (884) million increased 13.6%.

Key figures

EUR million Q4/17 Q4/16 Change % Q4/17–Q4/16 Q3/17 Change % Q4/17–Q3/17 2017 2016 Change % 2017–2016
Sales 2 511 2 438 3.0% 2 509 0.1% 10 045 9 802 2.5%
Operational EBITDA 427 343 24.5% 432 -1.2% 1 587 1 463 8.5%
Operational EBIT 280 191 46.6% 290 -3.4% 1 004 884 13.6%
Operational EBIT margin 11.2% 7.8% 11.6% 10.0% 9.0%
Operating profit (IFRS) 236 145 62.8% 270 -12.6% 904 783 15.5%
Profit before tax excl. IAC 238 110 116.4% 244 -2.5% 826 575 43.7%
Profit before tax 209 76 175.0% 224 -6.7% 742 541 37.2%
Net profit for the period 173 56 208.9% 191 -9.4% 614 407 50.9%
Net interest-bearing liabilities 2 253 2 726 -17.4% 2 476 -9.0% 2 253 2 726 -17.4%
Operational ROCE 13.5% 8.9% 13.9% 11.9% 10.2%
Earnings per share (EPS) excl. IAC, EUR 0.26 0.17 0.27 0.89 0.65
EPS (basic), EUR 0.22 0.12 0.24 0.79 0.59
Net debt/last 12 months’ operational EBITDA ratio 1.4 1.9 1.6 1.4 1.9
Average number of employees 26 116 26 135  -0.1% 27 001 -3.3% 26 206 26 269  -0.2%

Stora Enso’s CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström comments on the fourth quarter 2017 results:

“We have reached a new level as a renewable materials company. The transformation has proven successful as we exceeded ten billion euros in sales and one billion in operational EBIT for the year. At the same time, we have strengthened our position in the bioeconomy for the future.

In four consecutive quarters, we have achieved growth, reaching a 3.0% increase in sales and 6.2% excluding paper in the fourth quarter. This is primarily due to the ramp-up of strategic investments in Beihai, Varkaus and Murów, and favourable prices. Higher volumes, higher sales prices and a better product mix enabled us to reach operational EBIT margin of 11.2% and ROCE of 13.5%, above our long-term financial targets. Strong cash flow strengthened the balance sheet and net debt to operational EBITDA improved to 1.4. Our innovation strategy is paying off. In 2017, 7% of our products and services were new which is a considerable increase compared to 2016.

After finalising our strategic investments, our balance sheet and cash flow are strengthening. This enables us to reward our shareholders. The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting a dividend of 0.41 euros per share, which is the third year in a row with an increase.

We continue to deliver on our promises related to the transformation. The ramp-up of Beihai Mill is ahead of schedule and its consumer board machine reached its designed capacity level and operational EBITDA break-even as planned. Also, Varkaus kraftliner mill reached its designed capacity level and exceeded its profitability target.

Securing raw material long term is crucial in the bioeconomy. As a consequence, we have signed a letter of intent aiming at structural changes in Bergvik Skog.

Stora Enso has made two important announcements during the first quarter this year that I’d like to highlight. We have signed a global framework agreement with three global unions to uphold fundamental labour rights. This is in line with our continuous efforts to provide a safe and rewarding workplace for our employees and contractors, and to be an attractive employer.

I am also very proud that we are the first forestry company to commit to a science based target to further reduce our CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. This in line with the 2°C limit set for global warming by the Paris Agreement, and is a natural step for us as the renewable materials company.

As always, I would like to thank our customers for their business, our employees for their dedication, and our investors for their trust.”

Outlook
Q1/2018 sales are estimated to be similar to or slightly higher than the amount of 2 511 million euros recorded in the fourth quarter 2017, and operational EBIT is expected to be somewhat higher than the 280 million euros recorded in Q4/2017. There are no major scheduled annual maintenance shutdowns during Q1/2018.


Events today:

1) Press conference and webcast for media
at 11.00 Finnish time (10.00 CET)
Stora Enso’s CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström and CFO Seppo Parvi will present the results at the press conference which will be webcast. The event, hosted by EVP, Communications Ulrika Lilja, will be held in English and take place at Stora Enso’s Head Office, Kanavaranta 1, Helsinki at 11.00 EET (10.00 CET, 9.00 UK time, 4.00 EDT). The webcast may be accessed at https://storaenso.videosync.fi/2018-02-09-q4-results

2) Webcast and conference call for analysts and investors at 15.00 Finnish time
The webcast and conference call for analysts and investors will take place at 15.00 EET (14.00 CET, 13.00 UK time, 08.00 EDT). It will be hosted by CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström, CFO Seppo Parvi, and SVP Head of Investor Relations Ulla Paajanen-Sainio, and may be accessed at https://edge.media-server.com/m6/p/bzsqvq4d

Those analysts and investors who wish to ask questions should join the conference call (details below). All participants can follow the presentation over the webcast. The links to the webcasts are also available on the Stora Enso website: storaenso.com/investors 

Dial-in details for the analyst and investor conference call 

Live event at 15.00 EET 
UK +44 (0)330 336 9411 
Finland +358 (0)9 7479 0404 
Sweden +46 (0)8 5065 3942 
USA +1 646 828 8156 
Confirmation Code: 2891565 


For further information, please contact:
Seppo Parvi, CFO, tel. +358 2046 21205
Ulla Paajanen-Sainio, SVP, Investor Relations, tel. +358 40 763 8767
Ulrika Lilja, EVP, Communications, tel.
+46 72 221 9228


This release is a summary of Stora Enso’s Financial Statement Release 2017. The complete report is attached to this release as a pdf file. It is also available on the company website at storaenso.com/investors.

Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden constructions and paper on global markets. Our aim is to replace fossil-based materials by innovating and developing new products and services based on wood and other renewable materials. We employ some 26 000 people in more than 30 countries, and our sales in 2017 were EUR 10 billion. Stora Enso shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki (STEAV, STERV) and Nasdaq Stockholm (STE A, STE R). In addition, the shares are traded in the USA as ADRs (SEOAY). storaenso.com

STORA ENSO OYJ 

For further information, please contact:
Seppo Parvi
CFO
tel. +358 2046 21205

Ulla Paajanen-Sainio
SVP, Investor Relations
tel. +358 40 763 8767

Ulrika Lilja
EVP, Communications
tel. +46 72 221 9228

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