Stora Enso Oyj Interim Report January–September 2023: Focusing on actions for a profitability turnaround

Q3/2023 (year-on-year)

  • Sales decreased by 28% to EUR 2,127 (2,963) million.
  • Operational EBIT decreased to EUR 21 (527) million.
  • Operational EBIT margin decreased to 1.0% (17.8%).
  • Operating profit (IFRS) was EUR -1 (511) million.
  • EPS was EUR -0.04 (0.47) and EPS excl. fair valuations (FV) was EUR -0.05 (0.47).
  • Cash flow from operations amounted to EUR 231 (639) million. Cash flow after investing activities was EUR 38 (489) million.
  • The net debt to operational EBITDA ratio (last 12 months) was 2.4 (0.8). The target is to keep the ratio below 2.0.
  • Operational ROCE excluding the Forest division (last 12 months) decreased to 4.7% (22.1%), the target being above 13%.

Q1–Q3/2023 (year-on-year)

  • Sales were EUR 7,222 (8,816) million.
  • Operational EBIT was EUR 292 (1,536) million.
  • Operating result (IFRS) was EUR 4 (1,304) million.
  • Earnings per share (EPS) were EUR -0.09 (1.22) and EPS excl. fair valuations (FV) was EUR -0.09 (1.24).

Stora Enso faces a continued subdued market outlook for the rest of 2023 and going into 2024, as weak global growth and high inflation weigh on its performance. The Company expects no market improvement in the fourth quarter, following a challenging third quarter, when low demand and prices affected most of its segments. All variable costs are however declining from their peak levels, except for wood, which remains high despite a slight decrease.

The current macroeconomic and market conditions pose significant challenges for Stora Enso, especially in its Packaging Materials and Wood Products divisions. These segments suffer from low demand, prices and volumes. The demand for these divisions is also affected by the weak outlook for retail and construction sectors. On the other hand, customer destocking is expected to come to an end in the Packaging Materials and Biomaterials divisions, which may support a slight recovery in these segments in 2024. The Biomaterials division also sees some signs of improvement in the pulp market, with rising spot prices and decreasing global pulp inventories, after plunging from record highs in 2022. However, this recovery is expected to be slow due to new pulp capacity entering the markets.
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