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Accelerated profitable growth. Dividend proposal EUR 0.41 per share

Q4 2017 results

Latest Interim Report

Q4/2017 (year-on-year)
  • Sales of EUR 2 511 (2 438) million increased 3.0%: the fourth consecutive quarter of sales growth. 
    Sales excluding the paper business increased 6.2%.
    Operational EBIT increased 46.6% to EUR 280 (191) million, mainly due to favourable prices and higher volumes combined with successful ramp-up of the strategic investments. 
    Strong cash generation strengthened the balance sheet further; net debt to operational EBITDA improved to 1.4 (1.9).
    Operational ROCE was 13.5% (8.9%), the second consecutive quarter above the target of 13%.
    The consumer board machine at Beihai Mill reached its designed capacity level and operational EBITDA break-even as promised in Q4/2017. 

Year 2017 (year-on-year)
Sales at EUR 10 045 (9 802) million increased 2.5%. Sales excluding the paper business increased 8.5%.
Operational EBIT at EUR 1 004 (884) million increased 13.6%, mainly due to higher volumes, better sales prices and mix as well as successful ramp up of the strategic investments. Operational EBIT margin was 10.0% (9.0%).
EPS was EUR 0.79 (0.59). EPS excl. IAC increased to EUR 0.89 (0.65).
Stora Enso Oyj’s Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting a dividend of EUR 0.41

 


Stora Enso's CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström comments on the fourth quarter 2017 results: 
“We have reached a new level as a renewable materials company. The transformation has proven successful as we exceeded ten billion euros in sales and one billion in operational EBIT for the year. At the same time, we have strengthened our position in the bioeconomy for the future.

In four consecutive quarters, we have achieved growth, reaching a 3.0% increase in sales and 6.2% excluding paper in the fourth quarter. This is primarily due to the ramp-up of strategic investments in Beihai, Varkaus and Murów, and favourable prices. Higher volumes, higher sales prices and a better product mix enabled us to reach operational EBIT margin of 11.2% and ROCE of 13.5%, above our long-term financial targets. Strong cash flow strengthened the balance sheet and net debt to operational EBITDA improved to 1.4. Our innovation strategy is paying off. In 2017, 7% of our products and services were new which is a considerable increase compared to 2016.

After finalising our strategic investments, our balance sheet and cash flow are strengthening. This enables us to reward our shareholders. The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting a dividend of 0.41 euros per share, which is the third year in a row with an increase.

We continue to deliver on our promises related to the transformation. The ramp-up of Beihai Mill is ahead of schedule and its consumer board machine reached its designed capacity level and operational EBITDA break-even as planned. Also, Varkaus kraftliner mill reached its designed capacity level and exceeded its profitability target. 

Securing raw material long term is crucial in the bioeconomy. As a consequence, we have signed a letter of intent aiming at structural changes in Bergvik Skog. 

Stora Enso has made two important announcements during the first quarter this year that I’d like to highlight. We have signed a global framework agreement with three global unions to uphold fundamental labour rights. This is in line with our continuous efforts to provide a safe and rewarding workplace for our employees and contractors, and to be an attractive employer.

I am also very proud that we are the first forestry company to commit to a science based target to further reduce our CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. This in line with the 2°C limit set for global warming by the Paris Agreement, and is a natural step for us as the renewable materials company.
As always, I would like to thank our customers for their business, our employees for their dedication, and our investors for their trust.”

Outlook 
Q1/2018 sales are estimated to be similar to or slightly higher than the amount of 2 511 million euros recorded in the fourth quarter 2017, and operational EBIT is expected to be somewhat higher than the 280 million euros recorded in Q4/2017. There are no major scheduled annual maintenance shutdowns during Q1/2018.

- Karl-Henrik Sundström-
​​​​​The results 2017 were published on 9 February​​ 2018.