Metsä Group’s comparable operating result in January–March 2021 was EUR 174 million

JANUARY–MARCH 2021 (1–3/2020)
*Sales were EUR 1,400 million (1,253).
*Operating result was EUR 136 million (61). Comparable operating result was EUR 174 million (62).
*Result before taxes was EUR 121 million (46). Comparable result before taxes was EUR 160 million (48).
*Comparable return on capital employed was 12.6% (4.9).
*Net cash flow from operations was EUR 95 million (36).

President and CEO Ilkka Hämälä:
“As expected, Metsä Group’s result in the first quarter of 2021 was stronger than that of the previous quarter. The rise in pulp prices which began in Chinese markets in late 2020 continued throughout the first quarter and was exceptionally strong. Europe’s market prices began to increase in Asia’s footsteps. The market situation in the paperboard business, which remained good throughout 2020, grew even stronger, and prices were on the rise both in folding boxboard and linerboards.

Construction in Europe picked up, driving demand in the mechanical forest industry, while the level of activity in the construction industry in the United States reflected globally on the demand for construction materials. Demand among professional customers in the tissue paper business was not on a normal level, given the low level of activity in the restaurant and travel sectors and due to widespread remote working. Household purchases were likewise down compared to the previous year, due to which tissue paper production did not run at full capacity.

The pandemic did not show signs of easing in the countries in which we operate during the first quarter. Protective measures were continued, and the remote working model was in wide use. Regular mass testing was carried out at our locations with the aim of locating possible asymptomatic carriers of the virus. Special attention was paid to health security on the sites of our large-scale investments and to preventing any possible spread of the virus to the surrounding communities.

A decision on the Kemi bioproduct mill investment was made in February. It is Europe’s biggest forest industry investment of all time and a sign of Metsä Group’s strong confidence in the forest industry’s responsible development. The investment in modernising the recovery boiler and turbine generator of the Husum pulp mill is proceeding according to schedule, now that the environmental permit has been secured. The Rauma sawmill project has progressed to the equipment installation phase. Main events in the projects of our innovation company Metsä Spring included the launch of the new textile brand Kuura during Japan fashion week and the construction work of the pilot plant for 3D fibre packaging reaching the topping-out phase.

Forests and the use of forests are a topic of active discussion and subject to legislative work both in Finland and the EU in general. The objectives cover both the mitigation of climate change and safeguarding biodiversity. At the same time, consumers’ daily needs require an increasing amount of products made from renewable raw materials to execute the transition from the fossil economy to the circular economy of renewable materials.

We at Metsä Group believe that all these objectives can be promoted side by side. This requires the consideration of the overall impact of different sectors and the identification of the real economy’s opportunities and need.”
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