January–December 2022 (compared to 1–12/2021)
- Sales were EUR 2,479.6 million (2,084.1).
- The comparable operating result was EUR 520.7 million 386.6), or 21.0% of sales (18.6). Operating result was EUR 531.5 million (375.9).
- Comparable earnings per share were EUR 1.13 (0.85), and earnings per share were EUR 1.15 (0.82).
- Comparable return on capital employed was 20.9 % (18.7).
- Net cash flow from operations was EUR 232.0 million (329.6).
October–December 2022 (compared to 10–12/2021)
- Sales were EUR 599.8 million (518.5).
- The comparable operating result was EUR 100.8 million (91.3), or 16.8% (17.6) of sales. Operating result was EUR 94.7 million (90.8).
- Comparable earnings per share were EUR 0.23 (0.20), and earnings per share were EUR 0.21 (0.19).
- Comparable return on capital employed was 15.5% (16.1).
- Net cash flow from operations was EUR 70.2 million (119.7).
Events in October–December 2022
- The delivery volumes of Metsä Board’s paperboards decreased compared with the corresponding period in the previous year. This was due to the general decline in demand for consumer products and the adjustments made to inventories in the value chain.
- The average prices of Metsä Board’s paperboards in euros continued to increase.
- Paperboard production was adjusted to meet the demand situation.
- Costs in chemicals, energy and wood continued to increase
- The new recovery boiler and turbine started up at the Husum pulp mill.
- For the second consecutive year, Metsä Board made it into the highest A list in CDP’s three focus areas: climate change mitigation; water security; and forest protection.
- Moody’s raised Metsä Board’s credit rating to Baa2.
- Metsäliitto Cooperative’s holding in Metsä Board exceeded 50%.
- Metsä Board organised a Capital Markets Day on 10 November. The related recording and materials are available on the company’s website.
Board of Directors’ proposal for dividend
The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting to be held on 23 March 2023 that a dividend of EUR 0.58 per share be paid for the 2022 financial period. The proposed dividend corresponds to 50% of the earnings per share for 2022.
The decline in global economic growth and consumers’ purchasing power is causing uncertainty in the market. The visibility of paperboard sales development is weak.
Metsä Board’s paperboard delivery volumes in January–March are expected to remain at roughly the same level as in October–December (418,000 tonnes). The average prices for folding boxboard are expected to increase.
The demand outlook for market pulp is uncertain due to global economic developments. In the first quarter, market pulp prices are slightly lower than in the previous quarter. Global supply of long-fibre pulp will be reduced due to the limited availability of raw material in North America. Demand for sawmill products is expected to pick up in the second quarter.
Cost pressure will continue. Following the increase in wood prices and harvesting and transport costs last year, wood costs are expected to increase in the beginning of the year.
With the start-up of the new recovery boiler and turbine in Husum, depreciation in January-March is about EUR 10 million higher than in the previous quarter.
No major annual maintenance shutdowns have been planned at the mills in the first quarter.
Exchange rate fluctuations in January–March 2023, including the impact of hedges, will have a positive impact on the operating result compared to October–December 2022, and a notably positive impact on the operating result compared to January–March 2022.
Result guidance for January–March 2023
Metsä Board’s comparable operating result in January–March 2023 is expected to be roughly at the same level as in October–December 2022.
Metsä Board’s CEO Mika Joukio:
“Metsä Board had a strong year in 2022. We achieved a record profitability in an operating environment that proved difficult to predict. Our sales amounted to EUR 2,480 million, and our comparable operating result totalled EUR 521 million. Our comparable return on capital employed exceeded 20%, and the ratio of interest-bearing net liabilities to comparable EBITDA, which was 0.2 at the end of the year, reflects our strong financial position. Our result improved especially thanks to the higher prices of fresh fibre paperboards, supported by a favourable currency effect. Successful price increases compensated the rapid cost inflation. Higher sales prices and a strong US dollar boosted also the result of Metsä Fibre, our associated company, to record figures. In addition, we achieved an annual all-time high in the production volumes of pulp and BCTMP.
In the first half of the year, demand for paperboards was strong in all our market areas. We used the folding boxboard volumes freed up from Russian sales to support our key customers’ growth in Europe and North America. In the second half of the year, paperboard sales normalised, as high inflation and rising interest rates quickly eroded households’ purchasing power and weakened general consumer demand. In addition, during the last quarter, adjustments to inventories in the value chain affected our sales, and we adjusted our paperboard production to meet the demand. Nevertheless, our sales in October–December totalled EUR 600 million, and our comparable operating result EUR 101 million. This was an excellent achievement, given that raw material and energy prices continued to rise throughout the period.
The past year has been overshadowed by Russia’s war against Ukraine. In addition to human suffering, Russia’s military operations have triggered the most severe energy crisis in Europe’s recent history, making energy self-sufficiency a significant competitive factor. The new recovery boiler and turbine that started up at the Husum integrated mill at the end of the year will increase the pulp mill’s bioenergy production and further improve our energy self-sufficiency.
For the second year in a row, we achieved a place in the A List in CDP’s three environmental focus areas: climate change mitigation; water security; and forest protection. This is something of which we can be proud, as only 12 out of 15,000 companies achieved the same excellent result. We are continuing our long-term efforts to combat climate change and reduce water consumption, and we aim for fully fossil free production and products by the end of 2030. Furthermore, our resource-efficient lightweight paperboards made of renewable raw material have a smaller carbon footprint than many other packaging materials, and they are an excellent match for circular economy needs. Packaging design carried out in cooperation with our customers helps us continuously reduce the amount of packaging material and waste.
Our strategy has proved itself in a rapidly changing market environment. We continue to grow in fibre-based packaging materials and to renew our industrial operations. In 2023, our paperboard capacity will increase by a tenth, when the Kemi kraftliner and the Husum folding boxboard investments are completed. We have also launched pre-engineering for a new folding boxboard mill in Kaskinen, where we aim for the world’s most resource-efficient paperboard mill, world-class competitiveness and a product concept that enables a lower carbon footprint.
Our strong financial position creates a firm foundation for our growth investments, contributing to the long-term increase in shareholder value. As further proof of the confidence in our future success, the Board proposes a dividend of EUR 0.58 per share to be paid in 2022 in accordance with our dividend policy.”
|Sales, EUR million||599.8||518.5||2,479.6||2,084.1|
|EBITDA, EUR million||111.4||108.7||614.6||466.0|
|comparable, EUR million||116.8||109.1||602.8||472.2|
|EBITDA, % of sales||18.6||21.0||24.8||22.4|
|comparable, % of sales||19.5||21.0||24.3||22.7|
|Operating result, EUR million||94.7||90.8||531.5||375.9|
|comparable, EUR million||100.8||91.3||520.7||386.6|
|Operating result, % of sales||15.8||17.5||21.4||18.0|
|comparable, % of sales||16.8||17.6||21.0||18.6|
|Result before taxes, EUR million||93.4||90.7||524.9||365.8|
|comparable, EUR million||99.9||91.2||514.6||376.6|
|Result for the period, EUR million||89.6||78.5||461.3||314.0|
|comparable, EUR million||95.1||81.5||451.4||326.6|
|Earnings per share, EUR||0.21||0.19||1.15||0.82|
|Return on equity, %||16.4||17.3||22.5||19.4|
|Return on capital employed, %||14.6||16.0||21.4||18.2|
|Equity ratio at the end of the period, %||66||63||66||63|
|Net gearing at the end of the period, %||4||-4||4||-4|
|Interest-bearing net liabilities/comparable EBITDA||0.2||-0.2||0.2||-0.2|
|Shareholders’ equity per share at the end of the period, EUR||5.86||4.78||5.86||4.78|
|Interest-bearing net liabilities at the end of the period, EUR million||94.5||-78.4||94.5||-78.4|
|Total investment, EUR million||77.2||86.6||304.1||220.2|
|Net cash flow from operations, EUR million||70.2||119.7||232.0||329.6|
|Personnel at the end of the period||2,248||2,389||2,248||2,389|
METSÄ BOARD CORPORATION