JANUARY–MARCH 2022 (1–3/2021)
- Sales were EUR 1,594 million (1,400).
- Operating result was EUR 341 million (136). Comparable operating result was EUR 244 million (174).
- Result before taxes was EUR 330 million (121). Comparable result before taxes was EUR 232 million (160).
- Comparable return on capital employed was 15.8% (12.6).
- Net cash flow from operations was EUR 135 million (95).
Events during the first quarter of 2022
- The average sales prices of softwood market pulp were roughly at the level of the previous quarter in Europe, while prices in China increased.
- Demand for Metsä Board’s paperboards remained strong. The average prices of paperboards increased from the previous quarter, especially in Europe.
- Metsäliitto Cooperative divested its holding in Finsilva Oyj, which owns approximately 130,000 hectares of forest.
- Metsä Board sold the entire share capital of Oy Hangö Stevedoring Ab to Euroports Finland Oy.
- Metsä Fibre and Veolia signed a cooperation agreement, under which Veolia will construct a crude methanol refinery in connection with the Äänekoski bioproduct mill.
THE IMPACT OF RUSSIA’S MILITARY AGGRESSION ON METSÄ GROUP’S BUSINESS OPERATIONS
Russia’s attack on Ukraine affects Metsä Group’s business operations. In 2021, Russia accounted for 2.2% and Ukraine for 0.3% of Metsä Group’s sales. Russian sales have mainly consisted of folding boxboard sales to multinational brands and certain tissue paper deliveries. In March 2022, Metsä Board, a paperboard supplier, and Metsä Tissue, a tissue paper supplier, told their customers that they discontinue deliveries of new orders to Russia. Deliveries to Ukraine had to be interrupted when the war began.
Metsä Group has also discontinued all wood supply from Russia and sawn timber production at Metsä Fibre’s Svir sawmill, located in Russia. Russia’s military aggression and the ensuing sanctions have particular bearing on energy matters. Metsä Group has long invested in the production of renewable energy, and this now softens the impact of the crisis. The most challenging question is the availability of natural gas needed in production and the management of related costs. Metsä Group will continue to track the development of sanctions against Russia and the related official guidelines, as well as their impact on the Group’s business, and will react to changes as required. The compliance of customers, payment traffic and the supply chain will be ensured whenever new requirements are set.
The coronavirus pandemic
Metsä Group has three key priorities in its operations when it comes to stopping the coronavirus pandemic: personnel safety, full participation in combating the pandemic as part of society and ensuring business continuity. Metsä Group follows and complies with the guidelines issued by the authorities regarding the coronavirus. Minimising physical contact is the most important precautionary measure. Metsä Group’s resources have remained normal during the coronavirus pandemic. Production and deliveries have run normally, barring a few exceptions.
RESULT GUIDANCE FOR APRIL–JUNE 2022
Metsä Group’s comparable operating result is in April–June 2022 expected to improve from January–March 2022.
Proposal of the Board of Directors on the use of the surplus on the balance sheet
Metsäliitto Cooperative’s Board of Directors has decided to propose that an interest of 6.0% be paid on the participation share capital invested by members (6.0% for 2020) and that an interest of 5.0% (5.0) on additional members’ capital A and 1.0% (1.0) on additional members’ capital B be paid for 2021. The Board of Directors also proposes that a surplus reimbursement of EUR 0.15 per cubic metre of industrial roundwood received from a member over the past four concluded financial periods be distributed.
The surplus reimbursement will be paid primarily as Metsä1 additional shares, but in money for the part corresponding to the tax-at-source to be carried in terms of each member. The proposed payment date is 12 May 2022. If the member entitled to the surplus reimbursement resigns from the cooperative before the date of payment, this share of the surplus reimbursement will not be distributed. In total, the proposed profit distribution would be approximately EUR 80 million (66), of which the surplus reimbursement based on wood trade would be approximately 10%.
President and CEO Ilkka Hämälä:
"We are living in times of uncertainty and rapid changes. Russia’s attack on Ukraine has led to several changes in Metsä Group’s operations. We have discontinued our wood supply from Russia, our sawn timber production in the country and the sales of paperboard and tissue papers to Russia and Belarus. The increase in European energy prices will have a considerable impact on the cost structure and profitability of tissue paper production in Central Europe. We continue to prepare for a disruption in Russian energy supply in our operations.
Despite the geopolitical situation and the lingering coronavirus pandemic, Metsä Group reached a very good result in the first quarter. Key elements included the continued strengthening of the paperboard market and the rising trend in pulp prices, which began in late 2021. The demand for sawn timber, LVL and plywood remained strong. Metsä Tissue’s profitability suffered from the rapid cost inflation caused by energy prices, while the demand for products remained normal.
Metsä Group’s investment projects have progressed as planned, although cost pressure remains high. The Rauma sawmill investment has proceeded to the equipment testing phase. The goal is for the sawmill, as well as the renewed recovery boiler in Husum, to be in use in the second half of the year.
Metsä Group aims to process Finnish wood into products that people all around the world use in their daily lives. Operational development spanning the entire value chain, from the forest to customer support, as well as investments in production plants offering the highest resource efficiency in the field are our ways of securing the profitability of operations in an uncertain world full of surprises."
|Sales, EUR million||1,593.8||1,399.6||6,017.0|
|EBITDA, EUR million||419.5||253.8||1,213.7|
|Comparable, EUR million||322.4||253.8||1,211.2|
|% of sales||20.2||18.1||20.1|
|Operating result, EUR million||341.3||135.8||873.6|
|Comparable, EUR million||244.2||173.9||913.8|
|% of sales||15.3||12.4||15.2|
|Result before income tax, EUR million||329.6||121.4||831.7|
|Comparable, EUR million||232.5||159.6||872.0|
|Result for the period, EUR million||259.1||98.0||657.0|
|Return on capital employed, %||22.1||9.8||15.5|
|Return on equity, %||21.1||9.7||15.1|
|Equity ratio, %||59.9||57.6||61.1|
|Net gearing ratio, %||-2.0||-1.6||-3.8|
|Interest-bearing net liabilities, EUR million||-99.2||-67.5||-184.7|
|Total investments, EUR million||332.0||173.6||994.2|
|Net cash flow from operations, EUR million||135.5||94.9||1,023.0|
|Personnel at the end of the period||9,409||9,412||9,533|
|Sales and Operating result
1–3/2022, EUR million
|Other operating income||1.1||3.2||2.5||29.6||3.1|
|Depreciation and impairment losses||-2.5||-5.1||-35.5||-21.2||-11.0|
|Items affecting comparability||0.0||0.0||0.0||-19.2||0.0|
|Comparable operating result||5.6||9.1||155.4||121.5||-18.0|
|% of sales||1.1||5.3||23.1||20.9||-7.1|
The demand for wood focuses on stands to be harvested when the ground is unfrozen. Both crown wood and energy wood trunks are purchased as energy wood. The demand for forest management services remains good.
The demand for Kerto LVL and plywood is expected to remain good in the main markets, as construction remain robust. However, the economic impacts of the Ukraine war in Europe, as well as rapidly rising inflation, make for an uncertain outlook concerning profitability and demand in the construction sector. Metsä Wood’s operations in the United Kingdom are expected to see a seasonal improvement in demand over the previous quarter.
The demand for softwood pulp is expected to remain at a good level in relation to supply in the next few months. In the market for sawn timber, demand is expected to remain at a good level in Europe, North Africa and Japan. The war in Ukraine and the restrictive measures related to coronavirus pandemic in China create uncertainty in the market situation and supply volumes.The annual maintenance shutdowns at Metsä Fibre’s Joutseno and Rauma pulp mills will take place during the second quarter. Test runs at the new Rauma pine sawmill will begin in the second quarter.
The demand for Metsä Board’s paperboards is expected to remain good in the company’s main market areas in Europe and the North America. Delivery volumes in April–June are expected to remain at the same level as in January–March. The average prices of folding boxboard and white kraftliners are expected to rise. There will be more planned maintenance shutdowns in April–June 2022 than in the previous quarter. Cost inflation is expected to continue. Worldwide problems in the availability of transport equipment and increasingly expensive fuel will increase logistics costs. Other production costs will increase especially due to the rise in energy prices and the prices of certain chemicals.
Barring new pandemic restrictions in the countries of operation, Metsä Tissue’s tissue paper sales are expected to remain stable or increase slightly. Slight growth is also expected in the sales of greaseproof papers. The situation in Ukraine causes uncertainty mainly in the availability and prices of raw materials and energy. To restore profitability, Metsä Tissue will respond to increasing costs with price increases and surcharges.