“Stora Enso reports solid results for the first quarter, supported by foreign exchange tailwinds. Excluding the structurally declining paper business and divested business, sales increased 3.0% compared to the first quarter of 2014. Operational EBIT increased 20.9% due to cost cutting and favourable exchange rates. Return on capital employed increased from 8.6% to 10.1%. Stora Enso is continuing the transformation into a renewable materials growth company. We are already benefitting from the ongoing ramp-up of the pulp mill in Montes del Plata, Uruguay. In addition, we are just about to start lignin extraction at the Sunila Mill in Finland. Later this year, we will start producing kraftliner, virgin-fibre-based containerboard, at the Varkaus Mill in Finland. During 2015, we are also increasing the liquid packaging board capacity at the Imatra Mills in Finland. In the summer, we will finalise our investment at Murow sawmill in Poland, increasing its capacity of classic sawn products. Next year, we will start the new production line for wooden building elements at Varkaus. Furthermore, as a major driver of our transformation, the Guangxi consumer board mill is expected to be operational in mid-2016. We have an exciting period ahead of us. We are also continuing our non-core asset disposal programme and initiatives to lower our costs. In the first quarter, the Uetersen Paper Mill in Germany was divested. We also announced plans to rationalise our building solutions operations in Finland including a possible reduction in personnel by approximately 50 people and a possible closure of the Pälkäne production unit. When it comes to outlook, second quarter 2015 sales are estimated to be slightly higher than the EUR 2 491 million in the first quarter of 2015. Operational EBIT is expected to be in line with the EUR 220 million recorded in the first quarter of 2015. There will be maintenance work in several units during the second quarter. The negative maintenance impact is expected to be EUR 30 million more in the second quarter than in the first quarter 2015. As always, I would like to thank our employees for your commitment, our customers for your business and our investors for your trust. We work hard to keep creating value, today and tomorrow.”
In the picture: Stora Enso’s CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström.