Metsä Group’s comparable operating result in January–June 2020 was EUR 158 million

Metsä Group half-year financial report 2020 30 July 2020 at 12:00 noon EEST

January–June 2020 (​​​​16/2019)

  • Sales were EUR 2,453 million (2,809).

  • Operating result was EUR 163 million (232). Comparable operating result was EUR 158 million (308).

  • Result before taxes was EUR 139 million (202). The comparable result before taxes was EUR 134 million (279).

  • Comparable return on capital employed was 6.2% (12.1).

  • Cash flow from operations was EUR 240 million (183).
     

April–June 2020 (4–6/2019)
 

  • Sales were EUR 1,200 million (1,372). 
  • Operating result was EUR 102 million (49). Comparable operating result was EUR 96 million (128).

  • Result before taxes was EUR 93 million (36). The comparable result before taxes was EUR 86 million (115).

  • Comparable return on capital employed was 7.6% (10.2).

  • Cash flow from operations was EUR 190 million (142).

 

Events during the second quarter of 2020

  • The average dollar-denominated market price of long-fibre pulp increased slightly and that of short-fibre pulp remained stable compared to the previous quarter. The prices were nevertheless clearly lower than in the corresponding period last year.

  • Paperboard deliveries increased year-on-year, and prices remained relatively stable.

  • The pre-engineering project concerning the Kemi bioproduct mill progressed as planned. The supplemented version of the environmental permit application was submitted to the authorities in April. Preliminary agreements have been signed on the mill’s main equipment, automation systems, electrical systems, project management, implementation planning and construction.

  • Earthworks of the Rauma sawmill has begun. During the second quarter, agreements were also signed on the main equipment, earthworks and construction engineering work.

  • Annual maintenance shutdowns at the mills were postponed until the second half of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
 

The Coronavirus Pandemic

Metsä Group has three key priorities in its operations when it comes to stopping the coronavirus pandemic: personnel safety, full participation in fighting the pandemic as part of society and ensuring business continuity. Metsä Group follows and complies with the guidelines issued by the authorities with regard to the coronavirus. Avoiding physical contact is the most important precautionary measure.

Metsä Group’s resource situation has remained normal during the coronavirus pandemic. Infection chains have been prevented through strict safety measures. Production and deliveries have run normally, with the exception of operations of the units in Great Britain, Svir sawmill in Russia as well as the Russian wood supply.

 

Result Guidance for July–September 2020

Metsä Group’s comparable operating result is in the third quarter of 2020 expected to weaken from the second quarter of 2020.

 

President and CEO Ilkka Hämälä:

“As anticipated, Metsä Group’s result improved sequentially in the second quarter of 2020. In the first quarter, the lengthy strikes which impacted all of our business areas impaired our profit-making ability. During the second quarter, the COVID-19 epidemic developed into a pandemic, which affected demand for products in our business areas in very different ways.

Due to the exceptional situation, demand was higher than normal for Metsä Tissue’s tissue papers sold in the consumer market. Demand for Metsä Board’s paperboards increased particularly because of growth in food packaging. The situation for Metsä Fibre’s pulp business was unchanged, and prices remained low. The stronger demand for pulp mainly resulted from growth in global demand for tissue paper. Correspondingly, the decline in demand for printing papers by around 25% considerably weakened the pulp market. Concerning Metsä Fibre’s sawn timber and Metsä Wood’s plywood and LVL products, the closing of societies had an impact at the beginning of the quarter, with sales decreasing. However, the situation began to normalise towards the end of the quarter. Nevertheless, the price level of mechanical forest industry products remained low. Metsä Group’s pulp, paperboard and tissue paper businesses have been able to maintain full production rate. Production at our mechanical forest industry mills has been restricted primarily through holiday arrangements.

Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus, there were no major maintenance shutdowns at Metsä Group’s mills during the first half of the year. We will carry out the necessary annual maintenance shutdowns during the second half. As the coronavirus pandemic continues despite having become milder, we will apply exceptional arrangements to the organisation of shutdown works in all our countries of operation to avoid infection risks. So far, no infection chains have been identified in our locations. Slightly over 10 people have been diagnosed with a coronavirus infection among Metsä Group’s more than 9,000 employees.

Metsä Group continues to implement its development projects in accordance with the original schedules. Construction work continues with regard to the replacement of the recovery boiler at Husum and the new sawmill in Rauma. The environmental permit for the Kemi bioproduct mill is being processed, and a decision is expected during the autumn. Metsä Fibre decided to continue the project preparation work by carrying out preliminary work in the mill area and continuing technical planning in cooperation with the equipment manufacturers. Metsä Tissue has started the environmental permit process concerning the modernisation of its tissue paper mill in Mariestad, Sweden.

Through its operations and products, the Finnish forest industry responds to the requirements of society and the daily needs of individual consumers. It is our duty to further develop our industry in all circumstances over the long term. Finnish forest owners take care of the wellbeing of their forests over generations. Our industry and products, their competitiveness and environmental efficiency must be renewed through concrete actions every day while also keeping the challenging long-term goals in mind. As an example of this, at the beginning of 2019, Metsä Group decided to seek to abandon the use of fossil fuels at its mills and the use of fossil materials in its products by 2030.”
 

Key figures

2020

2019

2020

2019

2019

Condensed income statement, EUR million 1–6 1–6 4–6 4–6 1–12
Sales 2,452.7 2,809.4 1,199.7 1,371.7 5,473.4
  Other operating income 18.6 27.8 12.2 10.8 59.2
  Operating expenses -2,146.6 -2,378.2 -1,028.6 -1,179.6 -4,742.9
  Depreciation and impairment losses -161.5 -227.3 -81.2 -154.0 -415.5
Operating result 163.2 231.8 102.1 48.8 374.3
  Share of results from associated companies  and joint ventures 1.7 2.4 1.2 2.8 3.3
  Exchange gains and losses -1.4 -4.4 -1.0 -1.9 -6.4
  Other net financial items -24.8 -27.3 -9.8 -13.9 -55.4
Result before income tax 138.7 202.5 92.5 35.9 315.7
  Income tax -29.6 -55.2 -18.5 -21.3 -76.8
Result for the period 109.1 147.2 74.0 14.6 238.9
 

2020

2019

2020

2019

2019

Profitability 1–6 1–6 4–6 4–6 1–12
Operating result, EUR million 163.2 231.8 102.1 48.8 374.3
  Comparable operating result 158.5 308.1 96.1 128.4 494.9
  % of sales 6.5 11.0 8.0 9.4 9.0
Return on capital employed, % 6.4 9.1 8.1 4.1 7.3
  Comparable return on capital employed 6.2 12.1 7.6 10.2 9.6
Return on equity, % 5.8 7.9 8.0 1.6 6.4
  Comparable return on equity 5.6 12.1 7.5 10.1 9.7
 

2020

2019

2020

2019

2019

Financial position 30.6. 30.6. 31.3. 31.3. 31.12.
Equity ratio, % 56.4 56.2 56.2 53.3 56.2
Net gearing ratio, % 11 15 12 18 10
Interest-bearing net liabilities, EUR million 423 562 449 646 374
 

Sales and Operating result
1–6/2020, EUR million

Wood Supply and Forest Services Wood Products Industry Pulp and Sawn Timber Industry Paperboard  Industry Tissue and Greaseproof Papers
Sales 901.4 191.0 839.6 945.2 516.9
  Other operating income 1.7 0.8 5.7 10.9 5.0
  Operating expenses -890.9 -183.8 -781.6 -804.2 -437.9
  Depreciation and impairment losses -4.9 -10.0 -69.0 -51.7 -21.2
Operating result 7.3 -2.0 -5.3 100.3 62.7
  Items affecting comparability 0.0 0.0 0.0 -6.0 1.3
Comparable operating result 7.3 -2.0 -5.3 94.2 64.1
  % of sales 0.8 -1.1 -0.6 10.0 12.4
 

Near-term outlook

Wood demand will focus on thinning sites to be harvested when the ground is unfrozen and, in terms of energy wood, on crown wood. The demand for forest management services will remain stable. The international development of the coronavirus pandemic is directly reflected in harvesting and wood supply.

The demand outlook for Metsä Wood's Kerto LVL products is uncertain as the number of new construction sites declines. Demand for spruce plywood is expected to remain strong in all main markets. Demand for birch plywood is below normal, and the competition situation is tense in the European main markets despite the gradual lifting of the restrictions caused by the coronavirus. The pandemic is causing uncertainty in all Metsä Wood’s main markets.

Towards the end of the year, the pulp market will be affected by maintenance shutdowns that have been largely postponed from the spring to the end of the year and other announced production restrictions. The recovery in printing and writing paper production will strengthen demand if it actualizes.

Demand for sawn timber is expected to improve seasonally during the spring and autumn.

Metsä Board’s paperboard deliveries in the third quarter are expected to decrease slightly compared to the second quarter of 2020. The market prices of folding boxboard and white kraftliner in local currencies are expected to remain stable.

Demand for tissue paper is expected to increase, provided that the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can continue to be lifted. Demand for greaseproof papers is expected to continue to grow slightly.

 

METSÄ GROUP

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

Metsä Group
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 greaseproof papers.

In 2019, Metsä Group’s sales totalled EUR 5.5 billion, and it employs approximately 9,300 people. Metsäliitto Cooperative is the parent company of Metsä Group and is owned by approximately 103,000 Finnish forest owners.

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About Us

Metsä Groupwww.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 greaseproof papers. In 2019, Metsä Group’s sales totalled EUR 5.5 billion, and it employs approximately 9,300 people. Metsäliitto Cooperative is the parent company of Metsä Group and is owned by approximately 100,000 Finnish forest owners.

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