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Stora Enso Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results 2014

Transformation in progress, clear improvement in results, dividend proposal stable at EUR 0.30

HELSINKI, Finland, Feb. 4, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Q4/2014 (compared with Q4/2013)*

  • Sales at EUR 2 552 (EUR 2 612) million declined by 2.3%, sales excluding the structurally declining paper and divested businesses increased 1.4%.
  • Operational EBIT EUR 209 (EUR 152) million, 38% higher than a year ago due to cost management.
  • Cash flow from operations EUR 442 (EUR 462) million, cash flow after investing activities EUR 178 (EUR 246) million.
  • Net debt to operational EBITDA 2.6 (2.9); liquidity EUR 1.4 (EUR 2.1) billion.
  • Operational ROCE 9.7% (7.0%); operational ROCE excluding transformational investment projects 13.1% (9.0%).

Full year 2014 (compared with 2013)*

  • Sales EUR 10 213 (EUR 10 563) million declined by 3.3%, sales excluding paper and divested businesses increased 1.3%.
  • Operational EBIT EUR 810 (EUR 578) million, an increase of EUR 232 million or 40%, due to lower costs.
  • EPS excluding non-recurring items EUR 0.40 (EUR 0.40).
  • Strong cash flow from operations at EUR 1 139 (EUR 1 252) million, cash flow after investing activities EUR 255 (EUR 481) million.

Stora Enso's CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström comments on the fourth quarter and full-year 2014 results:

"Stora Enso reported yet another stable quarter. Despite some headwind in the market, our sales increased by 1.4% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, excluding the structurally declining paper business and divested businesses. Today, our growth businesses form already 62% of our total sales. The significant improvement in operational EBIT is a result of our own initiatives to transform our business and improve cost efficiency. Return on capital employed increased from 7.0% to 9.7%. It amounted to 13.1% when excluding our transformational investment projects and we reached our strategic ROCE target of 13%.

Stora Enso is transforming into a renewable materials growth company. In December, Montes del Plata Pulp Mill reached break-even which was a major milestone. We started lignin extraction, as scheduled, at our Sunila Pulp Mill in early 2015. We continue investing in biomaterials and will open a new Innovation Centre in the Stockholm area to boost innovation within renewable materials. The Guangxi consumer board mill project, which is slightly delayed due to the permitting process, is expected to be operational in mid-2016. Towards the end of this year, we look forward to start producing kraftliner, virgin-fibre-based containerboard, at our Varkaus Mill in Finland. Moreover, Stora Enso invests EUR 43 million in a new production line for wooden building elements located in Varkaus. The production is scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2016. We are also investing EUR 27 million to improve quality, cost-competitiveness and capacity of the consumer board machine at the Imatra Mills in Finland.

In addition, we have made progress in streamlining the business. The divestment of the Uetersen paper mill in Germany is expected to be completed in the first quarter. We completed also the divestment of the coreboard and core manufacturer Corenso business operation in late 2014. Earlier in 2014, we divested our ownership in the kaolin business in the USA. We continue our non-core asset disposal programme also in the coming year.

During the year, we shut down one paper machine at Veitsiluoto Mill in Finland. Also the Corbehem Mill in France was closed permanently.

The Renewable Packaging division has now been split into two divisions: Consumer Board and Packaging Solutions. The new structure is intended to strengthen our focus on customers, business performance and growth. It will also mean greater transparency in financial reporting.

I am also pleased that we have been recognised as a leader in disclosing climate change data. The international non-governmental organisation CDP has given us the highest possible score in the Nordic Climate Disclosure Leadership Index in the CDP Nordic 2014 Report.

When it comes to outlook, the first quarter 2015 sales are estimated to be roughly similar to the amount of EUR 2 552 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. Operational EBIT is expected to be in line with the amount of EUR 209 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2014."

"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."

Transformation

  • Stora Enso's share of Montes del Plata Pulp Mill production in 2014 was 240 000 tonnes and the mill reached break-even in December.
  • Stora Enso Guangxi consumer board mill construction is proceeding. It is expected to be operational in mid-2016. The previous target was set for early 2016.
  • Conversion of Varkaus Mill fine paper machine in Finland for virgin-fibre-based containerboard is proceeding as planned and expected to start at end of 2015.

Restructuring and non-core asset divestments

  • The divestment of the Corenso business operations was completed on 1 December 2014.
  • The previously announced divestment of Uetersen Mill is expected to be completed during Q1/2015.

KEY FIGURES*

EUR million Q4/14 Q4/13 Change
Q4/14–
Q4/13
Q3/14 Change
Q4/14–
Q3/14
2014 2013 Change
2014–
2013
Sales 2 552 2 612 -2.3% 2 514 1.5% 10 213 10 563 -3.3%
Operational EBITDA 308 260 18.5% 333 -7.5% 1 269 1 090 16.4%
Operational EBIT 209 152 37.5% 210 -0.5% 810 578 40.1%
Operating profit (IFRS) -95 -210 54.8% 215 -144.2% 400 50 n/m
Profit before tax excl. NRI 32 111 -71.2% 116 -72.4% 399 350 14.0%
Loss/profit before tax -193 -281 31.3% 144 -234.0% 120 -189 163.5%
Net loss/profit for the period -134 -160 16.3% 123 -208.9% 90 -71 226.8%
Net interest-bearing liabilities 3 274 3 191 2.6% 3 459 -5.3% 3 274 3 191 2.6%
Operational ROCE 9.7% 7.0% 9.7% 9.5% 6.5%
Earnings per share (EPS) excl. NRI, EUR 0.06 0.15 0.12 0.40 0.40
EPS (basic), EUR -0.15 -0.18 0.15 0.13 -0.07
Debt/equity ratio 0.65 0.61 0.66 0.65 0.61
Average number of employees 27 987 28 453 -1.6% 29 627 -5.5% 29 009 28 921 0.3%
TRI rate 12.4 11.9 4.2% 14.1 -12.1% 12.5 14.0 -10.7%
LTA rate 5.2 5.3 -1.9% 6.0 -13.3% 5.2 6.0 -13.3%

* Data for the comparative periods in 2013 have been restated following adoption of the new reporting standards: IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements, IFRS 11 Joint Arrangements and IFRS 12 Disclosure of Interests in Other Entities. Data for the comparative periods have been restated in all tables affected.
Operational EBIT comprises the operating profit excluding NRI and fair valuations of the segments and Stora Enso's share of the operating profit excluding NRI and fair valuations of its equity-accounted investments (EAI). Fair valuations and non-operational items include equity incentive schemes, synthetic options net of realised and open hedges, CO2 emission rights and valuations of biological assets and the Group's share of tax and net financial items of EAI.
NRI = Non-recurring items. These are exceptional transactions that are not related to normal business operations. The most common non-recurring items are capital gains, additional write-downs or reversals of write-downs, provisions for planned restructuring and penalties. Non-recurring items are normally disclosed individually if they exceed one cent per share.
TRI (Total recordable incidents) rate = number of incidents per one million hours worked.
LTA (Lost-time accident) rate = number of lost-time accidents per one million hours worked.

EVENTS TODAY

Press conference and webcast

Stora Enso's CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström and CFO Seppo Parvi will present the results in a press conference which will be webcast. The event will be held in English and take place at Stora Enso's Head Office, Kanavaranta 1, Helsinki at 14:00 EET (13:00 CET) today. There will be a possibility to ask questions after the presentation. The live webcast may be accessed at http://www.goodmood.fi/webcaster/accounts/storaenso/live/

Webcast and conference call for analysts and investors

CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström, CFO Seppo Parvi, and SVP, Head of Investor Relations Ulla Paajanen-Sainio will host a combined conference call and webcast today at 16:00 EET (15:00 CET, 14:00 UK time, 09:00 EDT). The live webcast may be accessed at http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/jb9e76x6.

Analyst and investor conference call dial-in details:
UK +44(0)20 3427 1914
Finland +358 (0)9 6937 9543
Sweden +46 (0)8 5033 6539
US +1 212 444 0481
Confirmation Code: 6686909

The links to the webcasts are also available on the Stora Enso website: www.storaenso.com/investors

For further information, please contact:
Seppo Parvi, CFO, tel. +358 2046 21205
Ulla Paajanen-Sainio, SVP, Investor Relations, tel. +358 2046 21242
Ulrika Lilja, EVP, Global Communications, tel. +46 1046 71668

Stora Enso's first quarter 2015 results will be published on 22 April 2015.
Stora Enso's Capital Markets Day will take place in London on 28 May 2015.

www.storaenso.com
www.storaenso.com/investors

Stora Enso is a leading global provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wood and paper. Our aim is to replace non-renewable materials by innovating and developing new products and services based on wood and other renewable materials. We employ some 27 000 people in more than 35 countries, and our sales in 2014 were EUR 10.2 billion. Stora Enso shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki (STEAV, STERV) and Stockholm (STE A, STE R). In addition, the shares are traded in the USA as ADRs (SEOAY) on the International OTCQX over-the-counter market.

STORA ENSO OYJ

Source:Stora Enso Oyj