Metsä Group’s comparable operating result in January–March 2017 was EUR 128 million

Sales were EUR 1,216 million (EUR 1,156 million). Operating result was EUR 131 million (107). Comparable operating result was EUR 128 million (109). Result before taxes was EUR 130 million (88). Comparable result before taxes was EUR 126 million (90).

Metsä Group Interim Report 1 January–31 March 2017 4 May 2017 at 12:00 noon EET

JANUARY–MARCH 2017 (1–3/2016)

• Sales were EUR 1,216 million (EUR 1,156 million).

• Operating result was EUR 131 million (107). Comparable operating result was EUR 128 million (109).

• Result before taxes was EUR 130 million (88). Comparable result before taxes was EUR 126 million (90).

• Comparable return on capital employed was 12.5 per cent (10.6). Comparable return on capital employed excluding assets under construction related to strategic investment projects was 15.0 per cent (11.5).

• Cash flow from operations was EUR -1 million (-31).

EVENTS DURING THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2017

• The market prices of long-fibre and short-fibre pulp increased during the first quarter.

• The capacity utilisation rate of Metsä Board's new folding boxboard machine at Husum was approximately 70 per cent.

• Metsä Tissue commenced the renewal of the recycled pulp plant at the Mänttä mill.

• Metsä Wood sold its project business located in Pälkäne, Finland, to Lapwall Oy in January.

• Metsäliitto Cooperative acquired in February the 9 per cent share in Metsä Tissue Corporation from Jozef Antošík, after which Metsäliitto Cooperative now holds the entire share capital of Metsä Tissue Corporation.

EVENTS AFTER THE REVIEW PERIOD

• Metsä Board’s new extrusion coating line at the Husum mill in Sweden started up in April.

• Metsä Wood announced its intention to build a birch plywood mill in Pärnu, Estonia, in April. The construction work began immediately. The mill will start production in the second half of 2018. The mill is part of Metsä Wood's EUR 100 million investment programme to be implemented in 2017–2018.


RESULT GUIDANCE FOR APRIL–JUNE 2017

Metsä Group’s comparable operating result is in the second quarter of 2017 expected to be roughly at the same level as in the first quarter of 2017.

NEAR-TERM OUTLOOK

Wood demand will focus on felling sites to be harvested when the ground is unfrozen and, in terms of energy wood, mainly on crown wood. The sales of forest management services are expected to remain good.

Market demand for wood products will remain good, and this will be reflected in the order book level, which will be higher than in the previous year, particularly in Kerto® LVL products. The outlook for plywood products is likewise positive. Construction in the UK is expected to remain at a good level, and delivery volumes in the second quarter are expected to grow, supported by the season.

Demand and supply in the pulp markets are well-balanced in both the Asian and European markets.

Demand for spruce sawn timber will remain good in all of the main markets, with demand in China being particularly strong. The oversupply situation in pine sawn timber has eased off, and market balance has improved.

Global demand for high-quality consumer packaging paperboard made from fresh fibre is expected to continue to grow. Metsä Board's paperboard deliveries in April–June are expected to grow from the previous quarter. The growth is supported by Husum's folding boxboard production.

In the tissue and cooking paper markets, demand is expected to remain stable in all market areas. Demand for tissue paper will increase particularly in Eastern Central Europe, and demand for cooking papers in Asia.

President and CEO Kari Jordan:

“Metsä Group's result-making ability improved during the first quarter of 2017 compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. The biggest profitability improvement was achieved in the Paperboard Industry. The capacity of Husum mill’s folding boxboard machine which started up last year has been utilised increasingly efficiently. The new extrusion coating line that came on stream in April supports growth in the food packaging and food service segments.

The commissioning and test run phase of the bioproduct mill, set to start up in Äänekoski in the third quarter of 2017, is proceeding according to plan. This approximately EUR 1.2 billion investment is the largest in the history of the Finnish forest industry, and it is progressing in line with the planned schedule and budget. When the mill starts up, it will increase the use of pulpwood in Finland by more than 10 per cent.

The EUR 100 million investment programme of the Wood Products Industry to be carried out in 2017–2018 is also proceeding well. The construction work on the new birch plywood mill has commenced in Pärnu, Estonia. The construction of a peeling and drying line for birch veneer at Äänekoski and the extension of the Kerto® LVL mill in Lohja, Finland, are progressing according to plan.

Global economic outlook has improved to some degree. Also the economic growth in Finland is picking up. However, there is a lot of room for improvement, since the gross domestic product is still clearly below the level of 2008. The competitiveness of the Finnish industry has weakened markedly after the financial crisis. Improvement of competitiveness has to be steadily achieved in order to succeed in the global market.”

KEY FIGURES

  2017 2016 2016
Condensed income statement, EUR million 1–3 1–3 1–12
Sales 1 216.1 1 155.6 4 657.9
  Other operating income 14.0 8.3 70.5
  Operating expenses -1 036.3 -990.8 -4 041.8
  Depreciation and impairment losses -62.7 -66.3 -244.3
Operating result 131.2 106.8 442.3
  Share of results from associated companies and
 joint ventures
 
14.0
 
-0.1
 
-1.1
  Exchange gains and losses 1.4 -1.0 -5.7
  Other net financial items -17.1 -17.8 -74.9
Result before income tax 129.5 87.8 360.6
  Income tax -22.9 -19.5 -80.7
Result for the period 106.7 68.3 279.9


  2017 2016 2016
Profitability 1–3 1–3 1–12
Operating result, EUR million 131.2 106.8 442.3
  Comparable operating result 127.9 109.5 438.6
  % of sales 10.5 9.5 9.4
Return on capital employed, % 12.8 10.3 10.2
  Comparable return on capital employed 12.5 10.6 10.2
Return on equity, % 16.3 11.3 11.2
  Comparable return on equity 15.7 11.8 11.0


  2017 2016 2016
Financial position 31.3. 31.3. 31.12.
Equity ratio, % 44.1 42.8 43.9
Net gearing ratio, % 46 35 40
Interest-bearing net liabilities, EUR million 1 226 847 1 033

 SEGMENTS

Sales and Operating result
1–3/2017, EUR million
Wood Supply and Forest
Services
Wood Products Industry Pulp and
Sawn Timber
 Industry
Paperboard  Industry Tissue and Cooking
Papers
Sales 432.6 120.2 422.0 444.5 252.0
  Other operating income 0.8 3.9 4.2 3.2 0.6
  Operating expenses -424.0 -107.2 -350.3 -378.9 -225.5
  Depreciation and impairment losses -0.9 -2.9 -21.4 -23.6 -9.5
Operating result 8.5 14.0 54.5 45.2 17.6
  Items affecting comparability - -3.3 - - -
Comparable operating result 8.5 10.7 54.5 45.2 17.6
  % of sales 2.0 8.9 12.9 10.2 7.0

METSÄ GROUP

For further information, please contact:
Vesa-Pekka Takala, CFO, Metsä Group, tel. +358 10 465 4260
Juha Laine, SVP, Communications, Metsä Group, tel. +358 10 465 4541

Metsä Group will publish its financial reports in 2017 as follows:

3 August 2017: Half year financial report January–June 2017
1 November 2017: Interim report January–September 2017

Metsä Group’s Financial Statements 2016 has been published as a pdf-file on Metsä Group's website at http://www.metsagroup.com/ on 28 February 2017.

www.metsagroup.com

Metsä Group is a forerunner in sustainable bioeconomy utilising renewable wood from sustainably managed northern forests. Metsä Group focuses on wood supply and forest services, wood products, pulp, fresh fibre paperboards and tissue and cooking papers.

Metsä Group’s sales totalled EUR 4.7 billion in 2016, and it employs approximately 9,300 people. The Group operates in some 30 countries. Metsäliitto Cooperative is the parent company of Metsä Group and owned by approximately 104,000 Finnish forest owners.

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About Us

Metsä Tissuewww.metsatissue.com Metsä Tissue creates a cleaner every day. We are a leading tissue paper supplier to households and professionals in Europe and the world’s leading supplier of greaseproof papers. Our brands are Lambi, Serla, Mola, Tento, Katrin and SAGA. With production units in five countries, we employ around 2,700 people. In 2019, our sales were EUR 1 billion. Metsä Tissue is part of Metsä Group, a forerunner in sustainable bioeconomy.