Metsä Board’s comparable operating result in January–March 2019 was EUR 62 million

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Metsä Board Corporation Interim Report 1 January – 31 March 2019, 26 April 2019 at 12:00 noon

January–March 2019 (10–12/2018)

• Sales were EUR 487.1 million (458.0).

• Comparable operating result was EUR 61.8 million (60.1), or 12.7% (13.1%) of sales. Operating result was EUR 71.9 million (60.1).

• Comparable earnings per share were EUR 0.14 (0.14), and earnings per share were EUR 0.17 (0.14).

Comparable return on capital employed was 14.4% (13.7%).

January–March 2019 (1–3/2018)

• Sales were EUR 487.1 million (492.3).

• Comparable operating result was EUR 61.8 million (69.0), or 12.7% (14.0%) of sales. Operating result was EUR 71.9 million (69.0).

• Comparable earnings per share were EUR 0.14 (0.15), and earnings per share were EUR 0.17 (0.15).

• Comparable return on capital employed was 14.4% (15.8%).

Events in January–March 2019

• The prices of Metsä Board’s folding boxboard rose as of the beginning of the year, and the prices of white kraftliner remained stable.

• The total deliveries of paperboard grew from the previous quarter, but were lower than in the corresponding period in 2018. Demand for folding boxboard was good, but the delivery volumes of white kraftliner continued to decline, especially in Europe.

• The delivery volumes of market pulp began to grow again after the sudden decline in the previous quarter. The market in China picked up, and prices began to rise during the review period. In Europe, prices decreased.

• No annual maintenance shutdowns took place at Metsä Board’s mills during the review period. An annual maintenance shutdown took place in March at the Äänekoski bioproduct mill of Metsä Board’s associated company Metsä Fibre.

• The Annual General Meeting held on 28 March 2019 decided to distribute a total of EUR 103 million to shareholders as dividends and capital repayment. The dividend and capital repayment date was 9 April 2019.

Events after the review period

Metsä Board has created a new, enhanced folding boxboard portfolio, designed specifically to help brand owners and packaging converters tackle the big issues in packaging: saving resources, reducing carbon footprint and ensuring product safety.

Metsä Board and its associated company Metsä Fibre, have decided to launch pre-engineering phases for three major investments. The investments will further develop the competitiveness of the pulp and energy production for both companies, and move them towards fossil-free production. Metsä Board is planning to invest EUR 300 million in the first phase of the renewal of the Husum pulp mill in Sweden in 2019–2022. Metsä Fibre’s plans include the construction of a new bioproduct mill with annual pulp capacity of approximately 1.5 million tonnes in Kemi, Finland and a new pine sawmill in Rauma, Finland. The total value of Metsä Fibre’s investments would amount to approximately EUR 1.7 billion.

Metsä Board updated its long-term financial targets. The company will remove the volume growth target of paperboard deliveries that exceeds the average market growth. The other financial targets remain unchanged.

Result guidance for April–June 2019

Metsä Board’s comparable operating result for the second quarter of 2019 is expected to weaken compared to the first quarter of 2019.

Metsä Board’s CEO Mika Joukio:

“Our comparable operating result in January–March was EUR 62 million, which is approximately at the level of the previous quarter and slightly lower than in the corresponding period last year. Our total paperboard deliveries grew slightly from the previous quarter, in line with our expectations.

Profitability improved, particularly due to the good prices of and demand for folding boxboard in both Europe and the Americas. High-quality European folding boxboard made from fresh fibre has been in particularly high demand in North America, and we have been able to meet this demand. The lightness of our paperboards is one of our most important competitive factors, and we continue to actively develop this.

The market situation in white kraftliners has weakened, and delivery volumes continued to decline during the review period. While the price level remained high during the first quarter, we believe that the weaker demand will start to have an impact on the average price of our linerboard sales in the next few months.

The pulp market picked up from the end of last year, and pulp delivery volumes grew at both Metsä Board and our associated company Metsä Fibre. Even so, the average prices of market pulp remained weaker than in the previous quarter. The difference between long-fibre pulp prices in China and Europe has also decreased as prices in Europe are declining, while prices in China have started rising.

As announced at the end of last year, our future growth is strongly guided by profitability. In the future, we will allocate our capital in a manner that allows us to develop the paperboard business by putting profitability first. In practice, this means small and mid-sized investments in our existing production lines.

Sustainability will continue to be at the core of our business. Our paperboards, made from wood fibre, help our customers to reduce their fossil-based carbon dioxide emissions by providing them with sustainable alternatives. In 2019, we will adopt new 2030 sustainability development goals focused on long-term work aiming to mitigate climate change.

I want to thank our personnel, customers and other stakeholders for the good start in 2019.”

Mika Joukio


Financial key figures

2019 2018 2018 2018 2018    2018
Q1 Q4 Q3 Q2 Q1 Q1–Q4
Sales, EUR million 487.1 458.0 475.1 518.7 492.3 1,944.1
EBITDA, EUR million 99.3 81.2 84.2 78.5 94.3 338.2
comparable, EUR million 89.3 81.2 84.2 84.1 94.3 343.8
EBITDA, % of sales 20.4 17.7 17.7 15.1 19.2 17.4
comparable, % of sales 18.3 17.7 17.7 16.2 19.2 17.7
Operating result, EUR million 71.9 60.1 63.7 53.6 69.0 246.3
comparable, EUR million 61.8 60.1 63.7 59.2 69.0 251.9
Operating result, % of sales 14.8 13.1 13.4 10.3 14.0 12.7
comparable, % of sales 12.7 13.1 13.4 11.4 14.0 13.0
Result before taxes, EUR million 67.9 55.8 59.5 47.8 61.0 224.2
comparable, EUR million 57.9 55.8 59.5 53.5 61.0 229.7
Result for the period, EUR million 59.6 50.2 57.5 41.8 53.9 203.4
comparable, EUR million 50.2 50.2 57.5 46.2 53.9 207.8
Earnings per share, EUR 0.17 0.14 0.16 0.12 0.15 0.57
comparable, EUR 0.14 0.14 0.16 0.13 0.15 0.58
Return on equity, % 18.4 15.5 18.7 14.4 18.7 16.3
comparable, % 15.5 15.5 18.7 15.9 18.7 16.7
Return on capital employed, % 16.7 13.7 15.0 12.6 15.8 14.0
comparable, % 14.4 13.7 15.0 13.9 15.8 14.4
Equity ratio at the end of period, % 56 58 57 55 50 58
Net gearing ratio at the end of period, % 23 25 27 33 29 25
Interest-bearing net liabilities/comparable EBITDA 0.9 1.0 1.0 1.2 1.1 1.0
Shareholder’s equity per share at the end of period, EUR 3.57 3.72 3.58 3.32 3.21 3.72
Interest-bearing net liabilities, EUR million 296.6 334.6 343.6 388.1 334.7 334.6
Gross investments, EUR million 6.4 33.9 10.7 15.3 10.5 70.3
Net cash flow from operations, EUR million 36.4 30.4 53.9 36.3 30.2 150.9
Personnel at the end of period 2,382 2,352 2,375 2,578 2,402 2,352

Near-term outlook

Metsä Board’s paperboard deliveries in the second quarter of the year are expected to remain roughly at the same level as in the first quarter.

The prices of folding boxboard in local currencies are expected to remain stable. The company is continuing its measures to improve the average price of folding boxboard by optimising the sales mix. The weakened demand may have a negative impact on the average price of linerboard sales.

Global demand for pulp is expected to remain at the current level for the next few months. Several maintenance shutdowns will take place at pulp mills during the second quarter, which will reduce supply to some degree. Pulp inventories are expected to remain unchanged or to decline slightly.  

Several annual maintenance shutdowns at Metsä Board’s mills in Finland and the annual maintenance shutdown of Metsä Fibre’s Joutseno pulp mill will take place during the second quarter of the year. Their impact on the result will be negative compared to the first quarter.

Changes in exchange rates, including the impact of hedges, during the second quarter will have a neutral effect compared to the first quarter and a clearly positive effect compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.

The production costs of paperboard and pulp are expected to remain stable.

General uncertainty in the global economy may continue to have a negative effect on the demand for Metsä Board’s products.


Espoo, Finland, 26 April 2019


Further information:

Jussi Noponen, CFO
tel. +358 10 465 4913

Katri Sundström, VP, Investor Relations,
tel. +358 10 462 0101

Further information will be available as of 1 p.m. on 26 April 2019.   

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

Finland +358 9 7479 0361
Sweden +46 8 5033 6574
United Kingdom +44 330 336 9105
United States +1 323-794-2423

The conference ID is 2400473.  

Metsä Board’s financial reporting in 2019:

1 August 2019 Half-Year Financial Report for January–June 2019
31 October 2019 Interim Report for January–September 2019

Metsä Board

Metsä Board is a leading European producer of premium fresh fibre paperboards including folding boxboards, food service boards and white kraftliners. Our lightweight paperboards are developed to provide better, safer and more sustainable solutions for consumer goods as well as retail-ready and food service applications. We work together with our customers on a global scale to innovate solutions for better consumer experiences with less environmental impact. The pure fresh fibres Metsä Board uses are a renewable resource, traceable to origin in sustainably managed northern forests.

The global sales network of Metsä Board supports customers worldwide, including brand owners, retailers, converters and merchants. In 2018, the company’s sales totalled EUR 1.9 billion, and it has approximately 2,400 employees. Metsä Board, part of Metsä Group, is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki.

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