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Stora Enso Interim Review January--June 2015

HELSINKI, Finland, July 21, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Q2/2015 (compared with Q2/2014)

  • Sales EUR 2 562 (EUR 2 579) million decreased by 0.7%; sales excluding the structurally declining paper and divested businesses increased by 4.8% mainly due to increase in Montes del Plata pulp mill volumes.
  • Operational EBIT EUR 207 (EUR 209) million, operational EBIT margin remained unchanged at 8.1%, despite operational challenges amounting to EUR 12 million in the Consumer Board division.
  • EPS excluding non-recurring items EUR 0.18 (EUR 0.13).
  • Cash flow from operations EUR 489 (EUR 288) million, cash flow after investing activities EUR 261 (EUR 29) million.
  • Net debt to operational EBITDA 2.7 (2.8), liquidity EUR 1.0 (EUR 1.6) billion.
  • Operational ROCE 9.4% (9.8%).

Q2/2015 (compared with Q1/2015)

  • Sales increased by 2.9%, sales excluding the structurally declining paper and divested businesses increased by 4.5%.
  • Operational EBIT decreased by 5.9% due to higher maintenance activity and operational challenges in the Consumer Board division.

Q1–Q2/2015 (compared with Q1–Q2/2014)

  • Sales declined by 1.8%, sales excluding the structurally declining paper and divested businesses increased by 3.8%.
  • Operational EBIT increased by 9.2% due to positive foreign exchange impacts and lower variable costs, offset partly by lower average sales prices for paper.

Stora Enso's CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström comments on the second quarter 2015 results: "In the second quarter, Stora Enso generated strong cash flow, and sales increased by 4.8%, excluding structurally declining paper and divested businesses, compared to the second quarter of 2014. This growth shows the ability of our businesses to transform.

Operational EBIT margin remained unchanged at 8.1% compared to the second quarter of a year ago, even though the Consumer Board division was negatively affected by production challenges at the Imatra and Skoghall mills and lower harvesting volumes in Guangxi, China, amounting to EUR 12 million. Moreover, preparations ahead of the start-up of the Guangxi mill increased fixed costs by EUR 10 million. Return on capital employed for the Group decreased to 9.4% from 9.8%.

During the quarter, we made additional progress in transforming into a renewable materials growth company. The pulp mill in Montes del Plata, Uruguay, is already an important driver of our topline as well as our profitability. Construction at our Guangxi investment project is proceeding according to plan and the main machinery is now being installed. The conversion of the Varkaus mill fine paper machine in Finland is on track and the production of kraftliner is expected to commence by the end of the year. Murow sawmill in Poland also began operating during the quarter, increasing its capacity of classic sawn products. We have also announced the closure of our corrugated packaging converting unit in Chennai, India, due to unprofitability. The mill employs 350 people, who will receive compensation and support.

We are constantly developing our offering. I am especially happy that we and NXP Semiconductors are cooperating on the development of intelligent packaging solutions.

One of the achievements during the quarter was entering into a partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO). The agreement will among other things ensure that our policies and practices are aligned with international labour standards. Moreover, we launched human rights actions plans to address the Danish Institute for Human Rights assessment findings published in February. Together with Kemira, a global chemicals company, we have begun construction to enhance the responsible use of local water in three villages in Guangxi.

When it comes to outlook, sales in the third quarter of 2015 are estimated to be similar to the amount of the EUR 2 562 million in the second quarter of 2015. Operational EBIT is expected to be in line with the EUR 207 million recorded in the second quarter of 2015. During the third quarter, there will be maintenance shutdowns at several mills.

As always, I would like to thank our employees for their commitment, our customers for their business and our investors for their trust. We work hard to keep on creating value, today and tomorrow."

Transformation

  • The construction of the Guangxi consumer board mill in China is proceeding according to plan and the installation of the main machinery has begun. The board machine is expected to be operational in mid-2016 as announced earlier.
  • The conversion of the Varkaus mill's fine paper machine in Finland for kraftliner is proceeding as planned and expected to start at the end of 2015.

Outlook

Q3/2015 sales are estimated to be similar to the amount of the EUR 2 562 million in Q2/2015. Operational EBIT is expected to be in line with the EUR 207 million recorded in Q2/2015. The negative maintenance impact is expected to be EUR 15 million higher in Q3 than in Q2/2015.

KEY FIGURES

EUR million Q2/15 Q2/14 Change %
Q2/15–
Q2/14
Q1/15 Change %
Q2/15–
Q1/15
Q1–Q2/15 Q1–Q2/14 Change % Q1–Q2/15–Q1–Q2/14 2014
Sales 2 562 2 579 -0.7% 2 491 2.9% 5 053 5 147 -1.8% 10 213
Operational EBITDA 318 326 -2.5% 340 -6.5% 658 628 4.8% 1 269
Operational EBIT 207 209 -1.0% 220 -5.9% 427 391 9.2% 810
Operating profit (IFRS) 214 85 151.8% 215 -0.5% 429 280 53.2% 400
Profit before tax excl. NRI 156 145 7.6% 154 1.3% 310 251 23.5% 399
Profit before tax 148 39 279.5% 162 -8.6% 310 169 83.4% 120
123 1 n/m 129 -4.7% 252 101 149.5% 90
Net interest-bearing liabilities 3 479 3 336 4.3% 3 444 1.0% 3 479 3 336 4.3% 3 274
Operational ROCE 9.4% 9.8% 10.1% 9.9% 9.2% 9.5%
Earnings per share (EPS),excl. NRI, EUR
0.18 0.13 0.15 0.33 0.22 0.40
EPS (basic), EUR 0.17 0.00 0.16 0.33 0.13 0.13
Debt/equity ratio 0.70 0.66 0.65 0.70 0.66 0.65
Fixed costs to sales 25.5% 24.8% 23.9% 24.7% 25.0% 25.1%
Average number of employees 27 173 29 704 -8.5% 26 781 1.5% 26 999 29 162 -7.4% 29 009
TRI rate 10.3 11.0 -6.4% 10.1 2.0% 10.3 12.4 -16.9% 12.5
LTA rate 4.2 4.3 -2.3% 4.8 -12.5% 4.4 5.1 -13.7% 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.

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 15:00 EET (14:00 CET, 13:00 UK time, 08:00 EDT)

The live webcast may be accessed at http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/qoaurq5j.

Analyst and investor conference call dial-in details:

UK +44(0)20 3427 1909
Finland +358 (0)9 6937 9590
Sweden +46 (0)8 5033 6539
US +1 212 444 0895
Confirmation Code: 2572679

The link to the webcast is 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 third quarter 2015 results will be published on October 23, 2015.

Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wood and paper on global markets. 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) in the International OTCQX over-the-counter market. www.storaenso.com

STORA ENSO OYJ

Source:Stora Enso Oyj