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Stora Enso Interim Review January--March 2015

HELSINKI, Finland, April 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Q1/2015 (compared with Q1/2014)

  • Sales at EUR 2 491 (EUR 2 568) million declined by 3.0%; sales excluding the structurally declining paper and divested businesses increased by 3.0% mainly due to ramp-up of Montes del Plata Pulp Mill.
  • Operational EBIT EUR 220 (EUR 182) million, 20.9% higher than a year ago mainly due to foreign exchange gains and lower costs.
  • EPS excluding non-recurring items EUR 0.15 (EUR 0.09).
  • Cash flow from operations EUR 171 (EUR 152) million, cash flow after investing activities EUR 29 (EUR 20) million.
  • Net debt to operational EBITDA 2.6 (2.8); liquidity EUR 1.3 (EUR 2.0) billion.
  • Operational ROCE 10.1% (8.6%); operational ROCE excluding transformational investment project 11.3% (10.9%).

Q1/2015 (compared with Q4/2014)

  • Sales declined 2.4%, sales excluding the structurally declining paper and divested businesses increased 2.3%.
  • Operational EBIT increased 5.3% mainly due to seasonally lower fixed costs, partly offset by lower result from Nordic forest associates Bergvik Skog and Tornator.

Stora Enso's CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström comments on the first quarter 2015 results:

"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."

Transformation

  • Stora Enso Guangxi consumer board mill construction is proceeding according to plan. The consumer board machine is expected to be operational in mid-2016 as announced earlier.
  • Conversion of the Varkaus Mill fine paper machine in Finland for virgin-fibre-based containerboard is proceeding as planned and expected to start at the end of 2015.

Restructuring and non-core asset divestments

  • In February, Stora Enso completed the divestment of its Uetersen specialty and coated fine paper mill in Germany.

KEY FIGURES

EUR million Q1/15 Q1/14 Change %
Q1/15–
Q1/14
Q4/14 Change %
Q1/15–
Q4/14
2014
Sales 2 491 2 568 -3.0% 2 552 -2.4% 10 213
Operational EBITDA 340 302 12.6% 308 10.4% 1 269
Operational EBIT 220 182 20.9% 209 5.3% 810
Operating profit (IFRS) 215 195 10.3% -95 n/m 400
Profit before tax excl. NRI 154 106 45.3% 32 n/m 399
Profit/loss before tax 162 130 24.6% -193 183.9% 120
Net profit/loss for the period 129 100 29.0% -134 196.3% 90
Net interest-bearing liabilities 3 444 3 165 8.8% 3 274 5.2% 3 274
Operational ROCE 10.1% 8.6% 9.7% 9.5%
Earnings per share (EPS) excl. NRI, EUR 0.15 0.09 0.06 0.40
EPS (basic), EUR 0.16 0.13 -0.15 0.13
Debt/equity ratio 0.65 0.60 0.65 0.65
Average number of employees 26 781 28 813 -7.1% 27 987 -4.3% 29 009
TRI rate 10.1 13.0* -22.3% 12.4 -18.5% 12.5
LTA rate 4.8 5.8 -17.2% 5.2 -7.7% 5.2

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.

*Recalculated: -0.8

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 the Marina Congress Center, Katajanokanlaituri 6, Helsinki at 13.15 EET (12.15 CET). There will be a possibility to ask questions after the presentation. The webcast may be accessed at http://qsb.webcast.fi/s/storaenso/storaenso_2015_0422_q1/.

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 14.30 EET (13.30 CET, 12.30 UK time, 07.30 EDT).The live webcast may be accessed at http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/e4k9e7tb.

Analyst and investor conference call dial-in details:

UK +44 (0)20 3427 1915
Finland +358 (0)9 6937 9543
Sweden +46 (0)8 5065 3936
US +1 646 254 3362
Confirmation Code: 9963795

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 second quarter 2015 results will be published on 21 July 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