Metsä Group is doing very well at the moment. Our 2017 comparable operating result was record high in
proportion to sales. Our profitability last year improved, mainly due to positive developments in the
paperboard business and a rise in pulp prices. Our growth phase achieved many important milestones in
The world’s first next-generation bioproduct mill started up at Äänekoski, Finland, in August 2017. We
followed the schedule and budget exactly. The bioproduct mill showed that major investment projects
can be implemented in Finland competitively and in line with the highest quality standards. This was made
possible by careful planning and highly committed employees, as well as open, constructive cooperation
between the project parties.
The bioproduct mill’s construction phase was successful, and its start-up phase has progressed better than we expected. The project’s value is approximately EUR 1.2 billion, and it is the biggest investment in the history of the Finnish forest industry. The combined production of softwood pulp and birch pulp at Äänekoski will rise to 1.3 million tonnes by the summer of 2018. Bioproducts other than pulp account for roughly a fifth of the mill’s sales at the very beginning, and this figure will be even higher later on.
The pulp mill is the heart of companies located in or close to the integrated mill. The bioproducts in this
ecosystem are made from the mill’s side streams or through the further processing of pulp. New
bioproducts include the product gas and sulphuric acid used at the mill, as well as biogas, which can be used as a traffic fuel, and in the next stage, a biocomposite that could potentially replace plastic. The development work of a pulp-based textile fibre and a lignin product are in their pilot plant phase.
In 2017, we also laid the foundation stone of the plywood mill in Estonia, set to be completed in the summer of 2018, and started up a new Kerto® LVL line at Lohja, as well as an extrusion coating line at
Husum’s paperboard mill. The work related to converting the old paper machine hall at Äänekoski into a birch veneer mill and the renewal of the baking paper machine at the Düren mill proceeded well. In
December 2017, we also made the decision to increase Kerto® LVL production at the Punkaharju mill. The new line at Punkaharju will start up during the first half of 2019.
Our investments in 2015–2017 totalled some EUR 2 billion. It is now time to take maximum advantage of these investments. The measures implemented and underway will enable us to increase our annual sales profitably by approximately 20 per cent in the coming years. We are seeking growth worldwide – in our home markets in Europe, as well as in North America, Asia and Oceania.
Read the full summary in the financial statements 2017 (PDF).