January–September 2022 (1–9/2021)
- Sales were EUR 5,239 million (4,457).
- Operating result was EUR 986 million (652). Comparable operating result was EUR 966 million (694).
- Result before taxes was EUR 961 million (616). Comparable result before taxes was EUR 934 million (658).
- Comparable return on capital employed was 20.0% (16.4).
- Net cash flow from operations was EUR 828 million (596).
July–September 2022 (7–9/2021)
- Sales were EUR 1,823 million (1,515).
- Operating result was EUR 397 million (273). Comparable operating result was EUR 391 million (278).
- Result before taxes was EUR 396 million (263). Comparable result before taxes was EUR 385 million (267).
- Comparable return on capital employed was 23.5% (18.8).
- Net cash flow from operations was EUR 372 million (222).
Events in the third quarter of 2022
- The average sales prices of Metsä Group’s long-fibre pulp increased compared to the previous quarter.
- The demand for Metsä Board’s folding boxboard remained stable in Europe and North America. The demand for white kraftliner declined slightly in Europe. The euro-denominated average prices of paperboards increased compared to the second quarter.
- Metsä Board initiated pre-engineering for an 800,000-tonne annual capacity folding boxboard mill in Kaskinen. The possible investment decision could be made in 2024, at the earliest.
- The new Rauma pine sawmill began continuous production at the end of September. The value of the investment was roughly EUR 260 million.
- The renewed tissue paper machine of the Mänttä mill began continuous production in September. The investment increased the machine’s production capacity by 15% and improved its production and energy efficiency.
- The results of the ethics barometer, which measures the responsibility of Metsä Group’s corporate culture, improved compared to the first ethics barometer results from two years ago.
The impact of Russia’s military aggression on Metsä Group’s business operations
Russia’s attack on Ukraine has affected Metsä Group’s business operations. Operations at the Svir sawmill, the company’s only production unit in Russia, have been discontinued, as has wood procurement from the country. Product deliveries to Russia and Belarus have also been halted. In the second quarter of 2022, Metsä Group recognised a write-down of EUR 87.5 million related to the discontinuation of business operations in Russia. In the third quarter, a profit of EUR 6.8 million was recognised in the operating result.
The replacement of Russian wood has progressed as planned. Russia’s military aggression and the ensuing sanctions have a bearing on energy matters. The most challenging question is the availability of natural gas needed in production and the management of related costs. Measures aimed at replacing natural gas are progressing as planned.
The coronavirus pandemic
Metsä Group follows and complies with the guidelines issued by the authorities regarding the coronavirus. In May, the company lifted its coronavirus restrictions in response to the improved pandemic situation. At the beginning of August, Metsä Group moved to a model combining remote and in-person work for jobs where remote working is possible. The resource situation has been normal during the coronavirus pandemic, and production and deliveries have run normally, with a few exceptions.
Result guidance for October–December 2022
Metsä Group’s comparable operating result is in October–December 2022 expected to weaken from July–September 2022.
President and CEO Ilkka Hämälä:
Metsä Group’s business operations as a whole were very profitable in the third quarter. Russia’s unjustified attack’s effects on Europe’s economic development and energy supply had a negative impact on our business operations, decreased consumer demand, and increased cost inflation. The risks of the global economy and security policy remain the same. Despite the strong financial performance and the outlook for the fourth quarter, longer-term outlooks continue to be difficult to predict.
The wood market situation in the Baltic Sea region continues to be tight after Russian wood was withdrawn from the market in the spring. Wood trade has been active. The deficit in birch imports has been successfully compensated for with changes in which some of the birch used in production has been replaced with softwood.
The sawn timber market has seen a decrease in demand and prices during the third quarter after a long period of exceptionally strong performance. The situation is affected by the outlook of the European economy, which has caused a decrease in activity in the construction industry. Similar effects can be seen in the LVL and spruce plywood markets. However, LVL remains a speciality product in construction that replaces fossil-based materials, and it is currently in a strong growth phase, which compensates for the effects of the short-term market situation.
Demand and prices in the pulp market have continued to be very strong. The profitability of the dollar-denominated pulp pricing has also been supported by the strong dollar exchange rate.
The good demand for folding boxboard has continued, and the profitability of the business operations are supported by many global trends, the most important of which is the use of renewable materials to replace fossil-based raw materials. The market situation of kraftiners has also continued to be strong. The outlook in the European market shows some caution due to poor economic forecasts, which is typically reflected in product value chains as a decrease in inventory levels. However, the longer-term outlook has remained strong.
Tissue paper production has been burdened by the sharp increase in energy costs, which we have been unable to completely offset with product pricing. The demand volume has remained stable, which is typical for the product group, and Metsä Tissue’s product portfolio has been adjusted to the current cost structure, which has mitigated the impact of the cost pressures.
In the exceptional circumstances related to the availability of materials, labour and components, as well as strong cost inflation, the Group’s investments have continued with adjusted plans. The test runs for the Rauma pine sawmill began in May, and continuous three-shift production began at the end of the third quarter. The start-up of the new recovery boiler and turbine for the Husum mill will take place in the fourth quarter. The start-up of the Kemi bioproduct mill and Kemi kraftliner machine expansion are planned for the third quarter of next year. The 50% capacity expansion of the Husum folding boxboard machine will also begin at the end of next year.
The renewal of Metsä Tissue’s Mariestad mill in Sweden is pending the completion of an environmental permit. It is estimated that the investment decision process would be able to start in the first quarter of 2023.
Kaskinen has been selected as the location for Metsä Board’s planned new paperboard mill. An Environmental Impact Assessment has been started, and it is estimated that the environmental permits will be ready for a decision process during 2024.
Metsä Group is currently in a strong phase of growth and profitability development. Our long-term development requires the implementation of all three pillars of sustainability in our operations. We produce products from renewable raw materials for the everyday life needs of the people of the world. The functionality required by consumers must be produced by using as few resources as possible across our value chain. This principle guides our operational planning in product planning, industrial investment, logistics solutions and forestry.
Tangible measures to combat climate change are part of our daily work. We must bear our responsibility in safeguarding biodiversity, and constantly look for science-based operating models to safeguard forest environments.
|Sales, EUR million||5,238.8||4,456.8||1,822.7||1,514.8||6,017.0|
|EBITDA, EUR million||1,250.9||925.4||474.8||353.3||1,213.7|
|Comparable, EUR million||1,184.9||924.3||467.0||353.3||1,211.2|
|% of sales||22.6||20.7||25.6||23.3||20.1|
|Operating result, EUR million||986.0||652.4||396.7||273.4||873.6|
|Comparable, EUR million||965.5||694.0||391.1||278.0||913.8|
|% of sales||18.4||15.6||21.5||18.3||15.2|
|Result before income tax, EUR million||960.6||616.3||396.1||262.6||831.7|
|Comparable, EUR million||934.2||657.9||384.7||267.2||872.0|
|Result for the period, EUR million||745.1||492.8||313.6||210.2||657.0|
|Return on capital employed, %||20.5||15.4||23.8||18.5||15.5|
|Return on equity, %||19.3||15.3||23.7||18.5||15.1|
|Equity ratio, %||60.2||60.5||60.2||60.5||61.1|
|Net gearing ratio, %||1.5||-1.4||1.5||-1.4||-3.8|
|Interest-bearing net liabilities, EUR million||81.9||-65.9||81.9||-65.9||-184.7|
|Total investments, EUR million||1,083.7||636.9||364.1||206.1||994.2|
|Net cash flow from operations, EUR million||828.1||596.1||371.7||222.4||1,023.0|
|Personnel at the end of the period||9,463||9,470||9,463||9,470||9,533|
|Sales and Operating result 1–9/2022, EUR million||Wood Supply and
|Wood Products Industry||Pulp and Sawn
|Other operating income||9.5||8.0||9.8||57.6||8.7|
|Depreciation and impairment losses||-37.7||-15.5||-102.3||-66.4||-33.2|
|Items affecting comparability||36.0||0.0||48.3||-16.8||-0.5|
|Comparable operating result||14.1||35.6||678.7||420.0||-32.3|
|% of sales||0.9||7.0||29.3||22.3||-3.8|
The demand for wood supply focuses on thinning sites harvested when the ground is unfrozen and wood from delivery sales. Metsä Forest also procures regeneration sites. Both crown wood and energy wood trunks are purchased as energy wood. The demand for forest management services remains good.
Concerning Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL and plywood products, the impact of the Ukraine war in Europe, declining consumer trust, and the increase in market interest rates resulting from rising inflation will lead to decreasing industrial demand for construction in Europe. In the US and Australian markets, the demand for construction remains strong for now. The demand for spruce plywood started to decrease towards the end of the year due to less construction and improved availability of replacement materials. As Russian birch plywood is missing from the European market, the demand for birch plywood also clearly exceeds supply for the second half of the year. In Metsä Wood UK, the demand for further processing is expected to be notably weaker in the next few months.
The annual maintenance shutdowns of Metsä Fibre’s Äänekoski bioproduct mill and Renko and Merikarvia sawmills are scheduled for the last quarter of the year. Demand for long-fibre market pulp is expected to remain stable in Europe and China. Factors creating uncertainty in the market situation include the stronger than expected slowdown of global and especially Chinese economic growth, as well as the negative impact of the European energy crisis on paper and paperboard production. The bottlenecks in global logistics are expected to gradually begin to ease. The low demand for sawn timber is expected to continue until the end of the year.
Demand for Metsä Board’s fresh fibre paperboards is expected to remain stable in the company’s main market areas in Europe and North America. The slowdown in global economic growth and the weakening of consumers’ purchasing power create uncertainty in the market. Paperboard delivery volumes in October–December are expected to remain at the same level as in July–September. The seasonal decrease in demand in December may affect delivery volumes to some extent. Cost inflation is expected to continue, especially for energy. Other variable costs are expected to remain at least at the third quarter’s levels. Wood costs are expected to increase in the second half of the year due to increases in wood prices and harvesting and transporting costs in the first half of the year.
Tissue paper business is currently operating in a very unstable business environment. The costs are still in high level and energy costs are expected to rise in the winter time. The availability of raw materials remains challenging. To restore profitability, Metsä Tissue will continue to respond to increasing costs with price increases and surcharges.