Stora Enso Oyj Interim Report January–September 2023: Focusing on actions for a profitability turnaround and capital release


Q3/2023 (year-on-year)

       Sales decreased by 28% to EUR 2,127 (2,963) million.

       Operational EBIT decreased to EUR 21 (527) million.

       Operational EBIT margin decreased to 1.0% (17.8%).

       Operating profit (IFRS) was EUR -1 (511) million.

       EPS was EUR -0.04 (0.47) and EPS excl. fair valuations (FV) was EUR -0.05 (0.47).

       Cash flow from operations amounted to EUR 231 (639) million. Cash flow after investing activities was EUR 38 (489) million.

       The net debt to operational EBITDA ratio (last 12 months) was 2.4 (0.8). The target is to keep the ratio below 2.0.

       Operational ROCE excluding the Forest division (last 12 months) decreased to 4.7% (22.1%), the target being above 13%.

Q1–Q3/2023 (year-on-year)

       Sales were EUR 7,222 (8,816) million.

       Operational EBIT was EUR 292 (1,536) million.

       Operating result (IFRS) was EUR 4 (1,304) million.

       Earnings per share (EPS) were EUR -0.09 (1.22) and EPS excl. fair valuations (FV) was EUR -0.09 (1.24).

Key highlights

       Stora Enso’s Board of Directors appointed Hans Sohlström as the new President and CEO on 18 September 2023.

       Stora Enso has closed several production units amid restructuring and is reducing the number of employees within Group functions. Some negotiations are still ongoing and are expected to be concluded by the end of 2023. The restructuring actions will improve Stora Enso's operational EBIT by approximately EUR 110 million annually.

       The consumer board investment at the Oulu site in Finland is moving ahead according to schedule. Production is expected to start during 2025.

Stora Enso reiterates its full-year 2023 operational EBIT to be significantly lower than for the full-year 2022 (EUR 1,891 million).

Stora Enso faces a continued subdued market outlook for the rest of 2023 and going into 2024, as weak global growth and high inflation weigh on its performance. The Company expects no market improvement in the fourth quarter, following a challenging third quarter, when low demand and prices affected most of its segments. All variable costs are however declining from their peak levels, except for wood, which remains high despite a slight decrease.

The current macroeconomic and market conditions pose significant challenges for Stora Enso, especially in its Packaging Materials and Wood Products divisions. These segments suffer from low demand, prices and volumes. The demand for these divisions is also affected by the weak outlook for retail and construction sectors. On the other hand, customer destocking is expected to come to an end in the Packaging Materials and Biomaterials divisions, which may support a slight recovery in these segments in 2024. The Biomaterials division also sees some signs of improvement in the pulp market, with rising spot prices and decreasing global pulp inventories, after plunging from record highs in 2022. However, this recovery is expected to be slow due to new pulp capacity entering the markets. 

The Packaging Solutions division faces fluctuating and weak market conditions, with challenged margins due to over-capacity. The Forest division experiences a tight wood market, especially for pulpwood in Finland and sawlogs in Sweden, driven by mill starts and competition from the energy sector.

Stora Enso has taken restructuring actions during the second and third quarters this year to protect its margins and cash flow. These actions will be completed by the end of 2023 and will benefit its financial performance from 2024 onwards. They include closing sites and production lines, selling assets, and adopting a more decentralised operating model with more autonomy for the divisions and leaner Group functions.

The Group will now further pursue profit turnaround and cash flow improvements to improve competitiveness, reduce costs, and support focused capital allocation into strategic growth markets.

Key figures

EUR million



Change %




Change %






 -28.2 %



 -18.1 %


Operational EBITDA



 -73.9 %



 -61.4 %


Operational EBIT



 -96.0 %



 -81.0 %


Operational EBIT margin

 1.0 %

 17.8 %


 4.0 %

 17.4 %


 16.2 %

Operating result (IFRS)



 -100.2 %



 -99.7 %


Result before tax (IFRS)



 -109.2 %



 -109.8 %


Net result for the period (IFRS)



 -109.3 %



 -111.1 %


Forest assets1



 1.5 %



 1.5 %


Operational return on capital employed (ROCE), LTM2








Operational ROCE excl. Forest division, LTM2








Earnings per share (EPS) excl. FV, EUR



 -110.0 %



 -107.3 %


EPS (basic), EUR



 -109.0 %



 -107.3 %


Net debt to LTM2 operational EBITDA ratio








Average number of employees (FTE)



 -3.1 %



 -4.3 %


1 Total forest assets value, including leased land and Stora Enso's share of Tornator.
2 LTM=Last 12 months

Stora Enso’s President and CEO Hans Sohlström comments on the third quarter 2023 results:
In my role as the newly appointed CEO of Stora Enso, my focus lies on the Company’s profitability turnaround and shareholder value generation. I am proud to be able to serve the sustainability front runner in the forest industry and to build on the work done by my predecessors.

I have been a member of the Stora Enso Board of Directors for over two years, gaining valuable insight into the Company’s business, operations, and strategy.

I am passionate about the bioeconomy, and the immense potential that wood-based products offer to create value for our customers, shareholders, and society. To demonstrate my personal commitment, and confidence, I invested 1 million euro in Stora Enso shares in my first week as the CEO.

However, we are now facing some challenges due to a demanding market situation. After two good years in 2021 and 2022, our financial performance and result have quickly decreased to a historically low level. In the third quarter, year-on-year sales were down by 28% and our operational EBIT by 96%. This is largely driven by a difficult macroeconomic environment which we now need to navigate, mitigate, and adapt to.

In line with the previous quarter’s prediction, Stora Enso had an unsatisfactory financial performance in the third quarter. We faced deteriorating market conditions and price pressure for all segments, including our packaging business. The global pulp demand is still weak, and the supply is high. The inflation and high interest rates continue to negatively affect the construction market, weighing down on our wood products offering. Our variable costs are down from peak levels but still high compared to historical levels, while wood availability remained tight. We anticipate no significant improvement in market demand or inventory levels for the year-end.

Our strategic initiatives are progressing according to plan. We are investing about two billion euro in two major projects to accelerate our future growth: the acquisition of De Jong Packaging Group in the Netherlands earlier this year and transforming a paper line into consumer board at our Oulu site in Finland. These strategic investments will strengthen our position in the attractive segments of sustainable, renewable and recyclable packaging and packaging materials. However, they also create short-term pressure on our cash flow and balance sheet in the prevailing challenging market conditions.

During the quarter, most of our announced restructuring actions to strengthen long-term competitiveness were implemented. We now focus on our profit and cash generation; we act decisively and swiftly. Commercial and operational excellence, competitiveness and shareholder value are our key priorities. Here, asset portfolio optimisation, non-core business divestment and complexity reduction will be essential success factors. We need to leverage our scale, synergies, and best practices across the Group; and within this process, continue to pursue value creation with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

We have the right foundation and the right capabilities to overcome these challenges and achieve our long-term goals. This gives me confidence as we look into the future.

Webcast for analysts, investors, and media
Analysts, investors, and media are invited to participate in the webcast with a teleconference today at 11:00 am EEST (10:00 CEST, 9:00 BST, 4:00 EDT). The results will be presented by President and CEO Hans Sohlström and CFO Seppo Parvi. The presentation can be followed live via the link:

During the webcast presentation, analysts and investors will also have the possibility to ask questions. To participate in the teleconference, please choose the “Teleconference” option on the homepage of the webcast.

Recording of the webcast will be available shortly after the event at the same address and at

Media representatives who wish to ask questions after the publication of the report may contact Carl Norell, SVP Corporate Communications at Stora Enso on +46 72 241 0349.

This release is a summary of Stora Enso’s Interim Report January–September 2023. The complete report is attached to this release as a pdf file. It is also available on the company website at

Media enquiries:
Carl Norell
SVP Corporate Communications
tel. +46 72 241 0349

Investor enquiries:
Anna-Lena Åström
SVP Investor Relations
tel. +46 70 210 7691

Part of the global bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable products in packaging, biomaterials, and wooden construction, and one of the largest private forest owners in the world. We believe that everything that is made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. Stora Enso has approximately 21,000 employees and our sales in 2022 were EUR 11.7 billion. Stora Enso shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy (STEAV, STERV) and Nasdaq Stockholm AB (STE A, STE R). In addition, the shares are traded in the USA as ADRs and ordinary shares (SEOAY, SEOFF, SEOJF).



Media enquiries:
Carl Norell
SVP Corporate Communications
tel. +46 72 241 0349

Investor enquiries:
Anna-Lena Åström
SVP Investor Relations
tel. +46 70 210 7691

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