Stora Enso Oyj Half-year Report January–June 2021

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Strong performance and solid growth continue

Q2/2021 (year-on-year)

  • Sales increased by 22.6% to EUR 2 592 (2 114) million, due to higher deliveries and prices.
  • Operational EBIT increased to EUR 364 (178) million, due to higher prices and volumes, especially in Biomaterials, Wood Products, and Packaging Materials.
  • Operational EBIT margin increased to 14.0% (8.4%).
  • Operating profit (IFRS) decreased to EUR 182 (226) million.
  • EPS was EUR 0.26 (0.19) and EPS excl. fair valuations (FV) was EUR 0.27 (0.13).
  • Strong cash flow from operations amounted to EUR 463 (363) million. Cash flow after investing activities was EUR 339 (239) million.
  • The net debt to operational EBITDA ratio was 1.8 (2.5). The target is to keep the ratio below 2.0.
  • Operational ROCE excluding the Forest division increased to 18.1% (7.8%), and was clearly above the long-term target of more than 13%.

Q1–Q2/2021 (year-on-year)

  • Sales were EUR 4 868 (4 321) million.
  • Operational EBIT was EUR 692 (357) million.

Strategy implementation update

  • The ramp-up of kraftliner production line at Oulu is proceeding ahead of schedule.
  • Stora Enso and Tetra Pak partner to provide circular solutions to the market to significantly improve recycling of beverage cartons in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • The feasibility study regarding a possible expansion of the pulp and board production at Skoghall is expected to be finalised by the end of 2021.
  • Dispersion barrier coating started at the Forshaga site, and commercial customer qualifications are ongoing.
  • The pilot plant for carbon for energy storage at Sunila started up during the quarter as planned, and production of Lignode® by Stora Enso is ramping up.
  • The co-determination negotiations concerning closing down the pulp and paper production at the Veitsiluoto and Kvarnsveden sites were completed. The closures will take place during the third quarter of 2021.
  • Stora Enso will divest its Sachsen paper mill in Germany to Model Group.
  • Restructuring at Hylte was finalised, and production is now based solely on mechanical pulp (TMP).

The global economy is recovering strongly from the impacts of the pandemic and demand for Stora Enso's products, except for graphic paper, continues to be very healthy.

The annual outlook for 2021 remains unchanged, operational EBIT in 2021 is expected to be higher than operational EBIT in 2020.

Two quarters ahead of the plan, Stora Enso concluded its EUR 400 million profit protection programme by the end of Q2/2021, and there will no longer be separate reporting on it. The accumulated continuous and total savings from the beginning of the programme were EUR 510 million, of which continuous savings amounted to EUR 410 million.

Due to successful technical and commercial ramp-up, the Oulu kraftliner unit reached operational EBITDA break-even already during Q2/2021. This is three quarters ahead of the initial target. The unit also reached the designed capacity, as planned, by the end of Q2. The total negative impact on operational EBIT is estimated to be EUR 20–25 million for 2021. This is clearly below the previous estimate of EUR 40–50 million. As the unit has now reached operational EBITDA breakeven, the separate reporting will be discontinued.

Key figures

EUR million Q2/21 Q2/20 Change % Q2/21-Q2/20 Q1/21 Change % Q2/21-Q1/21 Q1-Q2/21 Q1-Q2/20 Change % Q1-Q2/21−Q1-Q2/20 2020
Sales 2 592 2 114 22.6% 2 276 13.9% 4 868 4 321 12.7% 8 553
Operational EBITDA 524 332 57.6% 488 7.3% 1 011 667 51.7%  1 270
Operational EBIT 364 178 104.9% 328 11.0% 692 357 93.6% 650
Operational EBIT margin 14.0% 8.4% 14.4% 14.2% 8.3% 7.6%
Operating profit (IFRS) 182 226 -19.3% 161 12.9% 343 487 -29.6% 922
Profit before tax excl. IAC and FV 334 142 135.1% 292 14.2% 626 268 133.3% 501
Profit before tax (IFRS) 152 190 -20.1% 125 21.0% 277 398 -30.4% 773
Net profit for the period (IFRS) 207 144 43.8% 145 42.6% 353 293 20.3% 617
Net interest-bearing liabilities 2 975 3 289 -9.6% 3 236 -8.1% 2 975 3 289 -9.6% 2 921
Operational ROCE excl. Forest division, % 18.1% 7.8% 12.0% 15.2% 7.8% 7.0%
Earnings per share (EPS) excl. FV, EUR 0.27 0.13 106.8% 0.22 22.4% 0.50 0.24 106.7% 0.45
EPS (basic), EUR 0.26 0.19 40.3% 0.18 43.4% 0.44 0.38 16.9% 0.79
Net debt/last 12 months’ operational EBITDA ratio 1.8 2.5 2.3 1.8 2.5 2.3
Average number of employees 23 509 25 077 -6.3% 23 068 1.9% 23 293 25 017 -6.9% 24 455

Stora Enso’s President and CEO Annica Bresky comments on the second quarter 2021 results:

“As the global economy recovers from the impacts of the pandemic, our strong performance continued in the second quarter of the year. With profitable growth of over 28% excluding Paper, we once again prove the strength of our core businesses. This is the result of close collaboration with brand owners and customers as well as the steps that we are taking in executing on our strategy.

Our number one priority continues to be the safety, health and well-being of our colleagues, customers and partners. We are once again back on an improvement path for safety performance. Thanks to our outstanding employees, proactively managing risks during the pandemic, we have been able to deliver to customers and manage our operations without disruption. I’m very proud of this achievement.

Our operational EBIT excluding Paper increased to over EUR 410 million, up over 90% year on year, driven by Biomaterials, Wood Products and Packaging Materials. The cash flow from operations was up nearly 30% year on year, to over EUR 460 million and we are back on track with our net-debt to EBITDA ratio. I am also pleased that we have concluded our profit protection programme two quarters ahead of the plan. The accumulated continuous and total savings amount to EUR 510 million.

Looking at the divisions one by one, the record profitability in Wood Products continues. Growth was driven by an exceptionally strong global demand, especially for classic sawn products. Biomaterials also delivers a record quarter driven by the favourable market conditions for pulp. Packaging Materials benefit from a solid order book with more than 20% growth. Due to successful technical and commercial ramp-up, the recently converted Oulu kraftliner production reached EBITDA break-even three quarters ahead of target. Lastly, the new dispersion coating investment in Forshaga is completed and production has started. There is clearly positive momentum in the division.

In Packaging Solutions, we have achieved significant sales growth. Although the profits remain challenged by high raw material costs, we strive to compensate this with increased pricing. When it comes to our Forest division, the solid profit and operational efficiency continues. Improved sales were driven by higher deliveries in Finland, Sweden and the Baltics. In addition, the forest asset values were increased by more than EUR 200 million in our semi-annual valuation.

In Paper, we have solid order books, but costs for raw materials are high and not yet fully compensated through price increases causing a low result for the division. In addition, we have had production issues at our Langerbrugge and Maxau sites. Both sites are now back on track and in full operation. Recent structural changes along with some targeted investments, make me confident that we are shaping a paper business that is more focused and cost-efficient. Looking beyond the quarter, there is a turnaround in sight.

As the renewable materials company, we are happy to see that more and more businesses want environmentally friendly packaging that is fossil-free, renewable and recyclable. During the quarter, Trayforma by Stora Enso, a new wood-fiber based material for microwavable ready-meal trays was introduced. Moreover, together with the packaging technology company Pulpex, we have started industrial scale production of eco-friendly paper bottles and containers made from wood fiber. We also launched NeoLigno® by Stora Enso, a fully bio-based binder system that provides healthier indoor and working environments.

Furthermore, lignin is one of the key innovation areas in Biomaterials for delivering growth in new markets. Lignode® by Stora Enso is designed to replace synthetic graphite used in batteries of electric vehicles. Through this solution, we aim to increase the availability of a highly strategic material for the European automotive sector. We are currently ramping up pilot production and exploring strategic partnerships to accelerate the scale-up and step up commercialisation.

There is a lot of ongoing EU activity in areas that directly affect Stora Enso. In April, the EU Taxonomy was published. As sustainable forestry and operations lie at the very foundation of our strategy, we are well positioned to fulfil the Taxonomy’s criteria. The EU forestry strategy was published last week. Sustainably managed forests and renewable circular products are part of the solution for reaching the EU's ambitious climate targets.

The renewable future grows in the forest.”

Webcast and conference call for analysts, investors and media today at 14.00 EEST
The webcast and conference call for analysts, investors and media will take place at 14.00 EEST (13.00 CEST, 12.00 UK time, 07.00 EDT). It will be hosted by President and CEO Annica Bresky, CFO Seppo Parvi, and SVP, Head of Investor Relations Ulla Paajanen, and may be accessed at

Those analysts and investors who wish to ask questions should join the conference call (details below). All participants can follow the presentation over the webcast.

Media representatives who wish to ask questions after the Interim Report is published, may contact Carl Norell, press officer at Stora Enso at +46 72 2410349.

The link to the webcast will be also available on the Stora Enso website:

Dial-in details for the conference call

Live event at 14.00 EEST
UK +44 (0) 2071 928 338
Finland +358 (0) 923 113 291
Sweden +46 (0) 856 618 467
USA +1 6467 413 167
Confirmation Code: 11107851
Replay Dial-In #:
UK/International +44 (0)3333 009 785
Access Code: 11107851

The conference call replay will be available until Wednesday 28 July 2021. The webcast will be archived on

This release is a summary of Stora Enso’s Half-year Report January–June 2021. The complete report is attached to this release as a pdf file. It is also available on the company website at

For further information, please contact:
Ulrika Lilja
EVP, Communications and Marketing
tel. +46 72 221 9228

Investor enquiries:
Ulla Paajanen
SVP, Investor Relations
tel. +358 40 763 8767


Part of the bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading global provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden constructions and paper. We believe that everything that is made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. Stora Enso has some 23 000 employees, and sales in over 50 countries. Our sales in 2020 were EUR 8.6 billion. Stora Enso shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy (STEAV, STERV) and Nasdaq Stockholm AB (STE A, STE R)


For further information, please contact:
Ulrika Lilja
EVP, Communications and Marketing
tel. +46 72 221 9228

Investor enquiries:
Ulla Paajanen
SVP, Investor Relations
tel. +358 40 763 8767