Review by the President and CEO

8 February 2024

In 2023, economic activity was low, and growth was weak. This was clearly reflected in Metsä Group’s business operations and overall result. The prices of capital goods, which increased amid the strong growth experienced in 2021 and 2022, also contributed to weaker results. However, the long-term outlook for Metsä Group’s products remains good. Wood raw material obtained from sustainably managed forests is converted in our resource-efficient processes into products that people worldwide need in their daily lives. The Group’s operations and product development aim to provide the functionality required by consumers with minimal material and energy use, thereby contributing to solving global resource scarcity.

In the early part of the year, we announced our goal to measurably achieve regenerative forestry by 2030. This means that the measures we adopt in commercial forests improve the prerequisites for biodiversity and its development. Improved biodiversity makes forests more resilient to the strain caused by climate change.

In 2023, laminated veneer lumber (LVL) was increasingly used in industrial construction solutions. Despite the weak cycle in construction, demand for LVL remains strong, demonstrating the product’s competitiveness.  Working with our customers, we make construction processes more efficient and the material use in structures more ecological. In the second quarter, we made a decision to construct a new LVL mill featuring two production lines on the Äänekoski mill site.

The Kemi bioproduct mill came online in September. In its wood supply, the most modern mill in its field relies on the potential increase in felling in northern Finland’s commercial forests. The peatland drainage of past decades and forest regeneration have led to a situation in which the harvesting of softwood pulpwood in particular must be increased to safeguard forest growth.

Production on the expanded folding boxboard machine in Husum began in the last quarter. Thanks to the 200,000-tonne increase in annual capacity, the paperboard machine is now the most efficient of its kind in Europe. The capacity expansion strengthens Metsä Board’s position as the folding boxboard market leader in Europe and North America.

In February 2023, Metsä Tissue made an investment decision on a new tissue paper line in Mariestad, Sweden. The investment covers a paper machine, three converting lines for the machine’s output, and automated storage and product dispatch. The output, set to increase by 70,000 tonnes, will be sold on the Scandinavian market. At every stage of the project, there has been a special emphasis on reducing the carbon footprint of tissue paper across the value chain, from raw material procurement to the consumer.

In line with its goals, our innovation company Metsä Spring invested in new start-up projects. Our projects at the demo plant stage – the MuotoTM 3D fibre product and Kuura® textile fibre – progressed to the investment planning stage to be carried out in 2024.

We continue to systematically develop our Group to meet society’s needs and the owners’ expectations. Our financial position is strong, and our competitiveness in our chosen products and market areas ensures the continuity of our operations, regardless of economic cycles.

Ilkka Hämälä
President and CEO
Metsä Group