Metsä Group’s comparable operating result in January–September 2020 was EUR 274 million

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Metsä Group Interim Report January–September 2020, 29 October 2020 at 12:00 noon EET

January–September 2020 (1–9/2019)

  • Sales were EUR 3,698 million (4,183).
  • Operating result was EUR 279 million (342). Comparable operating result was EUR 274 million (418).
  • Result before taxes was EUR 242 million (298). The comparable result before taxes was EUR 236 million (374).
  • Comparable return on capital employed was 7.0% (11.0).
  • Cash flow from operations was EUR 419 million (421).

July–September 2020 (7–9/2019)

  • Sales were EUR 1,245 million (1,374).
  • Operating result was EUR 116 million (110). Comparable operating result was EUR 115 million (110).
  • Result before taxes was EUR 103 million (96). The comparable result before taxes was EUR 102 million (96).
  • Comparable return on capital employed was 8.8% (8.7).
  • Cash flow from operations was EUR 179 million (239).

Events in the third quarter of 2020

  • The average dollar-denominated market price of long-fibre pulp decreased slightly and that of short-fibre pulp remained stable compared with the previous quarter. The prices were lower than in the corresponding period last year.
  • Paperboard deliveries were at the previous quarter’s level, and the average prices remained stable.
  • The Excellence Centre for paperboard and packaging design opened in Äänekoski.
  • Metsä Fibre signed preliminary contracts on a wastewater treatment plant, a chlorine dioxide plant and wood processing equipment for the Kemi bioproduct mill.    
  • The construction of the Rauma sawmill progressed as planned.
  • The innovation company Metsä Spring and Valmet agreed on the construction of a pilot plant for wood-based 3D fibre products in Äänekoski.

The Coronavirus Pandemic

Metsä Group’s priorities in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic are personnel safety, full participation in stopping 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. Minimising 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 in workplaces.

Result Guidance for October-December 2020

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

President and CEO Ilkka Hämälä:

Metsä Group’s result in the third quarter of 2020 was better than we expected at the beginning of the quarter. Compared with our estimate, the most significant improvement came from the paperboard business, where the sales volumes were higher than expected and prices remained stable. In the pulp business, demand recovered in China during the quarter, and prices also developed favourably in the Asian market. The wood products business was also slightly stronger than expected. As yet, the worsened pandemic situation in Europe has not been reflected in changes in our demand structure compared with the previous quarter, and we were able to maintain normal utilisation rates in our mills during the third quarter.

The Group operates in line with the special operating models adopted in the spring in response to the exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic. Around 30 COVID-19 infections have been detected among our more than 9,000 employees. There have been no infection chains in workplaces. We have been able to continue our business operations and development projects as planned.

The implementation of maintenance shutdowns started during the third quarter. We postponed the shutdowns scheduled for the first half of the year until the second half, meaning that maintenance shutdowns will be organised in succession at all our pulp and paperboard mills during the third and fourth quarters. During the third quarter, the major maintenance sites were the Kemi and Husum integrated mills, where the work was completed safely in exceptional circumstances, and no COVID-19 infections were detected.

Our development investments are progressing. The Rauma sawmill project has proceeded from earthworks to the construction phase. The installation of equipment will begin early next year. Preparations for the Kemi bioproduct mill continue by means of implementation planning and site preparation. The environmental permit decision is expected to be issued before the end of the year, and the preparation of the investment decision can begin after that. Most of the main equipment purchase agreements have been signed, conditional on the investment decision. The schedule for the recovery boiler investment decision for Husum has been postponed, because the environmental permit process is  longer than expected. The permit is expected to be issued by the end of the year.

Metsä Group’s innovation company, Metsä Spring, decided to invest in the construction of a pilot plant for 3D fibre packaging in Äänekoski in cooperation with Valmet. The purpose of the project is to develop new production technologies for the manufacture of high-quality fibre-based packaging. The new material can be used to replace plastic in food packaging, for example. The textile fibre demo plant, owned jointly by Metsä Spring and the Japanese Itochu Corporation, has started operations The first test batches of the new material have been produced for testing in the next processing phases.

Through its operations, Metsä Group is responding to the need to provide products made from renewable materials for people’s everyday needs. We are actively developing our operations, starting from better combining the ecological and economic goals related to northern forests to the continuous improvement of our production and operational processes and the introduction of renewable, increasingly resource-efficient products for consumers.”


2020 2019 2020 2019 2019
Condensed income statement, EUR million 1–9 1–9 7–9 7–9 1–12
Sales 3,697.7 4,183.1 1,245.0 1,373.7 5,473.4
  Other operating income 26.8 36.0 8.1 8.2 59.2
  Operating expenses -3,208.6 -3,580.6 -1,062.0 -1,202.4 -4,742.9
  Depreciation and impairment losses -236.8 -296.5 -75.3 -69.2 -415.5
Operating result 279.0 342.1 115.9 110.3 374.3
  Share of results from associated companies  and joint ventures -0.2 2.6 -1.9 0.2 3.3
  Exchange gains and losses -0.9 -5.5 0.4 -1.1 -6.4
  Other net financial items -36.1 -41.1 -11.3 -13.8 -55.4
Result before income tax 241.8 298.1 103.1 95.6 315.7
  Income tax -51.8 -74.9 -22.2 -19.7 -76.8
Result for the period 190.0 223.2 80.9 75.9 238.9


2019 2020 2019 2019
Profitability 1–9 1–9 7–9 7–9 1–12
Operating result, EUR million 279.0 342.1 115.9 110.3 374.3
  Comparable operating result 273.7 418.4 115.3 110.3 494.9
  % of sales 7.4 10.0 9.3 8.0 9.0
Return on capital employed, % 7.2 9.0 8.9 8.7 7.3
  Comparable return on capital employed 7.0 11.0 8.8 8.7 9.6
Return on equity, % 6.7 8.1 8.6 8.1 6.4
  Comparable return on equity 6.5 10.8 8.5 8.1 9.7


2019 2020 2019 2019
 Financial position 30.9. 30.9. 30.6. 30.6. 31.12.
 Equity ratio, % 56.6 56.0 56.4 56.2 56.2
 Net gearing ratio, % 10 13 11 15 10
 Interest-bearing net liabilities, EUR million 381 488 423 562 374

Sales and Operating result
1–9/2020, EUR million

Wood Supply and Forest Services Wood Products Industry Pulp andSawn Timber Industry Paperboard  Industry Tissue and Greaseproof Papers
Sales 1,350.9 312.5 1,298.2 1,416.4 754.1
  Other operating income 2.2 1.1 9.8 14.6 7.3
  Operating expenses -1,332.0 -293.6 -1,195.4 -1,194.4 -643.1
  Depreciation and impairment losses -7.6 -15.4 -100.7 -73.9 -32.3
Operating result 13.5 4.6 11.9 162.7 86.0
  Items affecting comparability 0.0 0.0 0.0 -6.0 0.7
Comparable operating result 13.5 4.6 11.9 156.7 86.8
  % of sales 1.0 1.5 0.9 11.1 11.5

Near-term outlook

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

Demand for Kerto LVL products has increased in the North American market in particular. Demand for softwood plywood is expected to remain strong in all main markets. Demand for birch plywood will continue to be below normal levels, and the competitive situation will remain tight in the main European markets. In the UK, demand for Metsä Wood’s products is expected to remain strong in the coming few months, considering the time of year, with the exception of the construction segment. The uncertainty caused by the pandemic in demand will continue in all Metsä Wood’s main markets.

Demand for and supply of long-fibre market pulp is expected to stabilise, with demand growing seasonally and supply decreasing because of annual maintenance shutdowns towards the end of the year. Demand for sawn timber is expected to remain good in all main markets during the rest of the year, particularly in Central Europe and the UK. Annual maintenance shutdowns will be held at three Metsä Fibre pulp mills during the fourth quarter.

Paperboard deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2020 are expected to decrease slightly compared with the third quarter. Delivery volumes will decrease because of the seasonally slower December, among other factors. The market prices of folding boxboard and white kraftliner in local currencies are expected to remain stable. The annual maintenance shutdown at the Metsä Board’s Husum integrated mill was implemented as planned, partly in October. 

Metsä Tissue expects demand for tissue and greaseproof papers to remain stable.



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

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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