Metsä Group’s comparable operating result in 2018 was EUR 849 million

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Metsä Group Financial Statements Bulletin 2018 7 February 2019 at 12:00 noon EET

JANUARY–DECEMBER 2018 (1–12/2017)

• Sales were EUR 5,709 million (5,040).

• Operating result was EUR 843 million (581). Comparable operating result was EUR 849 million (566).

• Result before tax was EUR 769 million (506). Comparable result before tax was EUR 775 million (491).

• Comparable return on capital employed was 16.8% (12.3).

• Cash flow from operations was EUR 882 million (905).

OCTOBER–DECEMBER 2018 (10–12/2017)

• Sales were EUR 1,419 million (1,328).

• Operating result was EUR 208 million (184). Comparable operating result was EUR 208 million (185).

• Result before tax was EUR 193 million (161). Com-parable result before tax was EUR 193 million (162).

• Comparable return on capital employed was 16.4% (14.9).

• Cash flow from operations was EUR 292 million (294).


• The demand for and market price of pulp declined in China towards the end of the fourth quarter.

• Metsä Board’s paperboard deliveries declined from the previous quarter mainly due to the seasonal de-cline in December

• Metsä Board started up a new baling line at the Kaskinen mill, and announced an investment in a new sheet-cutting line at the Äänekoski mill.

• Metsä Tissue’s new converting lines at the Žilina and Raubach mills started up. The renewal of the baking paper machine at the Düren mill was completed.

• Metsä Tissue commenced a strategic review concerning the Stotzheim mill in German.


Metsä Group’s comparable operating result is in the first quarter of 2019 expected to weaken from the fourth quarter of 2018.


Metsäliitto Cooperative’s Board of Directors has decided to propose that interest of 7.5 per cent (7.0 per cent in 2017) be distributed on the participation shares of the members for 2018. Interest of 7.0 per cent (6.5) is proposed for additional shares A, and interest of 2.5 per cent (2.5) for additional shares B. The proposal for the distribution for profit amounts to approximately EUR 74.1 million in total (63.2).

The Board of Directors has furthermore proposed that EUR 250 million of retained earnings be transferred to the reserve for invested unrestricted equity.

President and CEO Ilkka Hämälä:

“The pulp market’s price turn, particularly in China, weakened profit development in the fourth quarter. The order inflow of paperboard also declined towards the end of the year. In spite of the weaker market, the Group’s result remained on a good level and the result for the entire year was excellent.

The investments planned for 2018 were implemented on schedule. The additions to the production capacity of Metsä Tissue’s Žilina and Raubach mills were completed in the fourth quarter. The investment in the Kerto line at Punkaharju is progressing according to plan, towards the testing phase.

The construction of the textile fibre demo plant to be integrated to the Äänekoski bioproduct mill commenced. The prefeasibility study related to the renewal of the Kemi pulp mill continues. 

Metsä Group’s position as the leading Finnish wood purchaser and forest service provider has grown stronger. Our various development projects based on the use of Finnish wood increase the supply of carbon storing products made from a renewable raw material for the growing markets.”


  2018 2017 2018 2017
Condensed income statement,   EUR million 1–12 1–12 10–12 10–12
Sales 5 709.1 5 040.0 1 419.0 1 328.2
Other operating income 58.1 60.3 23.2 16.9
Operating expenses -4 639.5 -4 269.7 -1 166.1 -1 090.5
Depreciation and impairment losses -284.8 -249.7 -68.5 -70.4
Operating   result 843.0 581.0 207.6 184.3
Share of results from associated companies   andjoint   ventures 7.0   17.1 2.5 1.2
Exchange gains and losses -6.3 -3.3 -0.4 -0.0
Other net financial items -74.6 -88.5 -16.8 -24.4
Result   before income tax 769.1 506.2 192.8 161.0
Income tax -156.4 -102.3 -39.0 -36.5
Result   for the period 612.7 403.9 153.8 124.5


  2018 2017 2018 2017
Profitability 1–12 1–12 10–12 10–12
Operating   result, EUR million 843.0 581.0 207.6 184.3
Comparable operating result 848.5 566.1 207.6 184.9
% of sales 14.9 11.2 14.6 13.9
Return   on capital employed, % 16.6 12.6 16.4 14.9
Comparable return on capital employed 16.8 12.3 16.4 14.9
Return   on equity, % 18.5 14.5 17.2 17.2
Comparable return on equity 18.7 14.0 17.2 17.3


  2018 2017 2018 2017
Financial position 31.12. 31.12. 30.9. 30.9.
Equity   ratio, % 53.1 45.0 52.7 43.4
Net   gearing ratio, % 13 34 18 41
Interest-bearing   net liabilities, EUR million 463 993 622 1 165



Wood demand will focus on thinning sites to be harvested when the ground is unfrozen and, in terms of energy wood, on crown wood. Demand for forest management services is expected to remain good.

The near-term outlook for spruce plywood is expected to remain good, but demand for birch plywood is subject to some uncertainty due to tougher competition. Birch plywood production will be adapted to correspond the weakened demand outlook during the first quarter of the year. The market situation of specialty products is expected to remain positive, and the outlook in Kerto LVL products is primarily stable. In the UK market, the uncertainty caused by the Brexit negotiations will be reflected in the demand outlook, particularly in the distributor segment.  

Demand for pulp and sawn timber is expected to remain at a good level in 2019, provided that global economic growth is in line with forecasts. Tension in global trade relations may nevertheless have an impact on the demand for pulp and sawn timber.

Paperboard deliveries in the first quarter are expected to rise slightly compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.

The market prices of folding boxboard in local currencies are expected to rise. Metsä Board continues its measures to improve the average price of folding boxboard by optimising the sales mix.

Demand in the market for tissue and greaseproof papers is expected to remain stable in all market areas. Demand for tissue paper is expected to particularly increase in Central East Europe, and demand for greaseproof papers is expected to grow in Asia. Profitability continues to be burdened by the high prices of raw materials, and efforts aiming to increase the prices of end products will continue.


Espoo, Finland, 7 February 2019


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.

Metsä Group’s sales totalled EUR 5.7 billion in 2018, and it employs approximately 9,300 people. The Group operates in some 30 countries. Metsäliitto Cooperative is the parent company of Metsä Group and owned by approximately 103,000 Finnish forest owners.

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