The Group delivered a robust performance, in line with expectations, during the first quarter of 2020. Underlying EBITDA of €385 million was 18% below the comparable prior year period (€471 million), driven mainly by lower pricing across our key paper grades mitigated by lower input cost and our ongoing cost reduction programmes. Underlying EBITDA was in line with the fourth quarter of 2019 (€381 million). Our order books held up well in the first quarter, strengthening in consumer and e-commerce end-uses across our packaging and Engineered Materials businesses as we continued to support our customers. Towards the end of the quarter and into early April we saw a deterioration in our uncoated fine paper order book in Europe and South Africa as the effects of the various lockdown measures took hold. We are taking downtime at our Neusiedler mill (Austria) to manage our inventory levels, while we have temporarily stopped production at the Merebank mill (South Africa; 270,000 tonnes of annual production capacity), in line with government regulations. We will consider further such measures as required.
Paper Excellence has provided a Silver sponsorship to the 2019 Tony Cote Summer Games, formerly known as the Saskatchewan First Nation Summer Games.
Flying Dust First Nation will host the annual sporting event July 14-19 where competitors representing every First Nation band from Saskatchewan are expected to participate. This is the second opportunity the community of Meadow Lake and Flying Dust First Nation play host to the games, the first being in 2003.
“It is our privilege to provide corporate sponsorship to the Summer Games, an event that aids in the development of Saskatchewan’s First Nation youth”, explains Brian Baarda, Paper Excellence CEO. “In addition to a financial contribution, we have employees from our Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp Mill excited to volunteer throughout the six days the games are held.”
“The Tony Cote Games has become one of the most prestigious aboriginal youth sporting events in the province”, states Simon Imray, Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp Mill General Manager. “We are honoured to be part of the Meadow Lake community and Flying Dust First Nation as host.”