Metsä Board’s comparable operating result in 2021 was EUR 387 million

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Metsä Board Corporation Financial statements release 10 February 2022 at 12 noon EET

January–December 2021 (compared to 1–12/2020)

• Sales were EUR 2,084.1 million (1,889.5).

• Comparable operating result was EUR 386.6 million (221.2), or 18.6% (11.7) of sales. Operating result was EUR 375.9 million (227.3).

• Comparable earnings per share were EUR 0.85 (0.46), and earnings per share were EUR 0.82 (0.48).

• Comparable return on capital employed was EUR 18.7% (12.2).

• Net cash flow from operations was EUR 329.6 million (307.7).

October–December 2021 (compared to 10–12/2020)

• Sales were EUR 518.5 million (473.1).

• Comparable operating result was EUR 91.3 million (64.5), or 17.6% (13.6) of sales. Operating result was EUR 90.8 million (64.5).

• Comparable earnings per share were EUR 0.20 (0.14), and earnings per share were EUR 0.19 (0.14).

• Comparable return on capital employed was 16.1% (14.3).

• Net cash flow from operations was EUR 119.7 million (81.0).

Impact of coronavirus pandemic on Metsä Board’s business operations

The coronavirus pandemic has shifted consumption from services to goods and increased the consumption of products used at home. This has increased the demand for packaging materials, especially in food and other daily consumer goods – the main end uses for Metsä Board’s paperboards. The pandemic has also accelerated sales in e-commerce, which has increased the demand for white kraftliners. In 2021, the demand for Metsä Board’s fresh fibre paperboards was record high in nearly all end uses.

Metsä Board’s production and deliveries have run smoothly during the pandemic. While the number of individual infections began to rise late in the year, chains of transmission were avoided due to restrictions.

The company continues to employ precautionary measures that aim to ensure the health of employees and the continuity of business operations, and to prevent the spread of the virus. Despite the precautionary measures, a prolonged pandemic could lead to disruptions in production or the supply chain.

Metsä Board’s financial position is very good. The maturity structure of the loans is healthy, and the company has adequate liquidity. Metsä Board’s paperboard product portfolio has responded to the changes in demand resulting from the pandemic, and the cash flow, which has remained strong, has supported the financial headroom.

Events in October–December 2021

• Demand for Metsä Board’s fresh fibre paperboards remained strong and average prices rose in both folding boxboard and white kraftliners.

• The comparable operating result in October–December includes approximately EUR 10 million in insurance claims received for the fire that broke out at the Husum pulp mill in June. The fire caused substantial production losses in paperboard and pulp.

• The modernised production line at the Kyro paperboard mill started up in October. The value of the investment was EUR 20 million.

• Metsä Board’s financial position is strong and supports the ongoing investments. At the end of the financial period, the interest-bearing net debt was EUR -78.4 million.

• The global environmental organisation CDP included Metsä Board on its highest A List in all three of its environmental themes: climate change, sustainable use of water and forests.

• Metsä Board agreed on the disposal of the entire share capital of its subsidiary Oy Hangö Stevedoring Ab to Euroports Finland Oy. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

• In October, the European Commission conducted an investigation at Metsä Fibre as part of a wider EU-level antitrust investigation of companies active in the wood pulp sector. Metsä Board is not subject to investigation.

Events after the financial period

On 1 January 2022, Metsä Board acquired all the shares in Hämeenkyrön Voima Oy held by Pohjolan Voima Oyj and DL Power Oy, part of Leppäkoski Group. Following the arrangement, Metsä Board owns 100% of Hämeenkyrön Voima Oy. The arrangement will not have a significant impact on Metsä Board’s financial key figures.

The start-up of the Husum pulp mill’s new recovery boiler and turbine will be delayed. The company expects the new recovery boiler and turbine to start up in September 2022. The earlier estimate was the first half of 2022.

Board of Directors’ proposal for dividend

The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting to be held on 24 March 2022 that a dividend of EUR 0.41 per share be paid for the 2021 financial period. The proposed dividend corresponds to 50% of the earnings per share for 2021.

Near-term outlook

Demand for paperboards is expected to remain good in the company’s main market areas in Europe and North America.

The average prices of Metsä Board’s folding boxboard and white kraftliners are expected to rise. Paperboard delivery volumes in January–March 2022 are expected to be higher compared to October–December 2021 delivery volumes (444,000 tonnes).

No major planned annual maintenance shutdowns in January–March 2022. 

Cost inflation is expected to continue. Global challenges with the availability of transport equipment will increase logistics costs. The higher prices of especially energy and certain chemicals will increase other production costs. 

Demand for long-fibre market pulp is expected to remain good in Europe. In China, demand for market pulp strengthened towards the end of 2021. However, the weakened corona situation and China’s strict policies might cause some uncertainty in demand. The global bottlenecks in logistics will continue to impact pulp deliveries to Asia from all market pulp producing areas.

Exchange rate fluctuations in January–March 2022, including the impact of hedges, will have a slightly positive impact on the operating result compared to October–December 2021, and a slightly negative impact on the operating result compared to January–March 2021.

Result guidance for January–March 2022

Metsä Board’s comparable operating result in January–March 2022 is expected to improve compared to October–December 2021.

Metsä Board’s CEO Mika Joukio:

“The fourth quarter of the year was in line with our expectations. The demand for sustainable fresh fibre paperboards remained good on all markets important for us and the average prices of our paperboards improved. The comparable operating result in October–December was EUR 91.3 million, or 17.6% of sales. The excellent result was also visible in the cash flow from operations, which was EUR 120 million in October–December. The coronavirus situation grew weaker towards the end of the year in all the countries in which we operate, but thanks to our strict safety measures, our business operations continued without any disruptions.

Year 2021 was the best year ever for us. Our profitability was at a record high level, supported by the strong paperboard business. The prices of market pulp also increased, and our associated company Metsä Fibre’s share of the result improved significantly from the previous year. Our long-term financial targets were clearly met: our comparable return on capital employed was 18.7% and the ratio of the comparable EBITDA to our net debt was negative. These results are excellent, given that profitability was simultaneously burdened by drastic cost inflation affecting particularly energy, chemicals and logistics.

Our strong balance sheet provides a solid platform for our ongoing investments. In 2021, we decided on in-vestments that will sustainably expand our paperboard business: at Husum, we will increase the annual capacity for folding boxboard by 200,000 tonnes, and in Kemi, the capacity for white kraftliner by 40,000 tonnes. The new recovery boiler and turbine which will be started up at the Husum pulp mill in the early autumn will significantly increase our self-sufficiency in electricity production. This will further improve Husum’s position as a sustainable platform for the development of high-quality paperboard production. 

We continue our efforts to mitigate climate change, aiming for entirely fossil free mills and products by the end of 2030. Achieving these targets will require us to invest and work closely and continuously with our partners. In accordance with the principles of the circular economy, we focus on the sustainable use of forests, resource efficiency of processes, and in generating as little waste and emissions as possible, by keeping materials in circulation for extended periods of time. Our systematic sustainability work received valuable recognition when the global non-profit organisation CDP included Metsä Board on the highest A List in all three of its environmental themes – climate change, sustainable use of water and forests. This is a clear indication of our leadership in work combating climate change, and our uncompromising commitment to sustainable development.

Our starting point for 2022 is good. Our order book is strong, and the average prices of our paperboards are at a higher level than in the previous year. I believe that the demand for sustainably produced paperboards will remain good as the circular economy, resource efficiency in materials and plastic reduction stay on the agenda of brand owners and consumers.

I wish to thank our entire personnel for their work under the exceptional circumstances, and all our partners for excellent collaboration.”

Key figures

2021 2020 2021 2021     2020
Q4 Q4 Q3 Q1–Q4 Q1–Q4
Sales, EUR million 518.5 473.1 516.1 2,084.1 1,889.5
EBITDA, EUR million 108.7 85.2 125.4 466.0 321.8
  comparable, EUR million 109.1 85.2 125.4 472.2 315.8
EBITDA, % of sales 21.0 18.0 24.3 22.4 17.0
  comparable, % of sales 21.0 18.0 24.3 22.7 16.7
Operating result, EUR million 90.8 64.5 99.4 375.9 227.3
  comparable, EUR million 91.3 64.5 104.0 386.6 221.2
Operating result, % of sales 17.5 13.6 19.3 18.0 12.0
  comparable, % of sales 17.6 13.6 20.1 18.6 11.7
Result before taxes, EUR million 90.7 61.5 96.4 365.8 212.3
  comparable, EUR million 91.2 61.5 100.9 376.6 206.3
Result for the period, EUR million 78.5 49.3 85.4 314.0 170.1
  comparable, EUR million 81.5 49.3 89.0 326.6 165.3
Earnings per share, EUR 0.19 0.14 0.22 0.82 0.48
  comparable, EUR 0.20 0.14 0.23 0.85 0.46
Return on equity, % 17.3 14.6 19.7 19.4 12.5
  comparable, % 18.0 14.6 20.6 20.2 12.1
Return on capital employed, % 16.0 14.3 18.2 18.2 12.6
  comparable, % 16.1 14.3 19.1 18.7 12.2
Equity ratio at end of period, % 63 60 65 63 60
Net gearing at end of period, % -4 17 -1 -4 17
Interest-bearing net liabilities/comparable EBITDA -0.2 0.7 -0.1 -0.2 0.7
Shareholders’ equity per share at end of period, EUR 4.78 3.89 4.63 4.78 3.89
Interest-bearing net liabilities at end of period, EUR million -78.4 235.5 -24.8 -78.4 235.5
Total investment, EUR million 86.6 48.9 35.3 220.2 166.4
Net cash flow from operations, EUR million 119.7 81.0 59.1 329.6 307.7
Personnel at end of period 2,389 2,370 2,389 2,389 2,370


Further information:

Henri Sederholm, CFO, tel. +358 10 465 4913
Katri Sundström, VP, Investor Relations, tel. +358 10 462 0101

A conference call held for investors and analysts in English will begin at 3:00 p.m. Conference call participants are requested to dial in and register a few minutes earlier on the following numbers:

Finland: +358 981710310  
Sweden: +46 856642651
United Kingdom: +44 3333000804    
United States: +1 6319131422

The conference call ID is 48253461#.  

The presentation material will be available before the start of the conference call at and  

Metsä Board 

Metsä Board is a leading European producer of premium fresh fibre paperboards. We focus on lightweight and high-quality folding boxboards, food service boards and white kraftliners. The pure fresh fibres we use in our products are a renewable and recyclable resource, that can be traced back to sustainably managed northern forests We are a forerunner in sustainability, and we aim to have completely fossil free mills and raw materials by the end of 2030.

Together with our customers we develop innovative packaging solutions to create better consumer experiences with less environmental impact. In 2021 our sales totalled EUR 2.1 billion, and we have around 2,400 employees. Metsä Board, part of Metsä Group, is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki.

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