Stora Enso Oyj Interim Report January–March 2023: Due to the worsened market outlook actions are taken to protect margins and manage costs


Q1/2023 (year-on-year)

          Sales decreased by 3% to EUR 2,721 (2,798) million.

          Operational EBIT decreased by 53% to EUR 234 (503) million.

          Operational EBIT margin decreased to 8.6% (18.0%).

          Operating profit (IFRS) decreased to EUR 258 (394) million.

          EPS was EUR 0.24 (0.37) and EPS excl. fair valuations (FV) was EUR 0.23 (0.35).

          Cash flow from operations amounted to EUR 254 (403) million. Cash flow after investing activities was EUR 1 (224) million.

          The net debt to operational EBITDA ratio was 1.3 (1.1). The target is to keep the ratio below 2.0.

          Operational ROCE excluding the Forest division (last 12 months) decreased to 16.5% (20.5%), the target being >13%.


Key highlights

          The acquisition of the Dutch De Jong Packaging Group was completed on 6 January 2023.

          The Paper division was discontinued as of 1 January

          The plan to divest of the Beihai site in China is proceeding according to plan.

       The consumer board investment at the Oulu site in Finland is moving ahead according to schedule. Construction estimated to start during 2024, start of production expected during 2025.

       Fitch and Moody’s have changed their outlook to “positive” from “stable" with unchanged Investment Grade Ratings of BBB- and Baa3 respectively.

       Continued actions on Group CO2e reduction for scope 1 and 2 have resulted in a 32% decrease from the 2019 baseline.

       Stora Enso was recognised as a global leader in supplier engagement on climate by the global environmental non-profit organisation CDP.


Stora Enso has lowered its guidance for the full-year 2023 due to worsening market outlook. The new guidance is:
Stora Enso's full-year 2023 operational EBIT is expected to be significantly lower than for the full-year 2022 (EUR 1,891 million).

The market outlook is worsening and accelerated towards the latter part of the first quarter. Cost pressures and market uncertainties are expected to be significantly more challenging in 2023 than in 2022, weighing on our results and lowering the short-term visibility this year. Compared to 2022, Group margins are expected to be adversely impacted by increasing costs, particularly in relation to energy, wood, and chemicals.

The whole packaging market is currently weakening. Especially containerboard demand which is expected to remain weak but also consumer board is showing signs of weakening, with the exception for liquid packaging board.

The construction sector remains challenging with a lower number of issued building permits and new housing starts. This is expected to have a temporary impact on demand for the Wood Products division this year. In addition to higher pulpwood cost, a weakening global pulp market is expected to weigh on the Biomaterials division. Availability for pulpwood remains tight.

To protect margins, preparatory actions are taken to respond to fluctuations in demand with reinforced cost control. Other measures such as pricing, flexibility in product mix, capacity and inventory management, and sourcing and logistics have been put in place. In Finland, Stora Enso has completed negotiations on potential furloughs at its divisions’ production sites. Capacity adjustment activities are in place to respond to fluctuations in demand.

The Group has made extensive changes to reshape the business over the past three years under its new leadership and disciplined capital allocation is firmly integrated into the Group's day to day operations. After the discontinuation of the Paper division, the Group now consists of five divisions with a key focus on strategic growth areas for long term shareholder and customer value creation.

Operationally, the focus on decentralisation continues together with reduction of overhead costs. Restrictive capital expenditure and working capital management to safeguard cash flow and to secure a solid balance sheet are in place.

Stora Enso is now financially, operationally and strategically in better shape to handle market fluctuations while investing for growth in renewable packaging, sustainable building solutions and biomaterials innovations.

Key figures

EUR million



Change %



Change %






 -2.7 %


 -5.0 %


Operational EBITDA



 -39.8 %


 -22.6 %


Operational EBIT



 -53.5 %


 -34.1 %


Operational EBIT margin

 8.6 %

 18.0 %


 12.4 %


 16.2 %

Operating profit (IFRS)



 -34.6 %


 -63.5 %


Profit before tax (IFRS)



 -39.1 %


 -65.7 %


Net profit for the period (IFRS)



 -35.4 %


 -68.3 %


Net interest-bearing liabilities



 12.5 %


 57.4 %


Operational ROCE excl. Forest division, LTM2







Earnings per share (EPS) excl. FV, EUR



 -33.4 %


 -28.0 %


EPS (basic), EUR



 -34.4 %


 -67.7 %


Net debt to LTM2 operational EBITDA ratio







Average number of employees (FTE)



 -4.8 %


 0.7 %


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

Stora Enso’s President and CEO Annica Bresky comments on the first quarter 2023 results:

During the last two years, we have delivered record high results and advanced our growth agenda in renewable packaging, sustainable building solutions and biomaterials innovations. Simultaneously, we have taken investment decisions to improve the competitiveness of strategic assets and steps to reduce cyclicality by exiting the paper business.

The business environment this year is expected to be significantly more challenging for all our divisions. Demand for most of our products is weak or weakening and market uncertainties are persisting. During the quarter, the high inflationary pressures persisted, and we have curtailed production to reduce inventories and adapt to the prevailing market conditions. For us, this means reinforced cost control and diligent capital allocation management.

In packaging, all end-uses excluding liquid packaging, are showing signs of weakening demand throughout the year. Wood products continue to be challenged by the weaker construction market with fewer building permits and lower rates of home renovations. For the pulp market, we see slower market activity in China and for paper and packaging end-uses, and the global inventories reached very high levels at the end of the quarter. In addition, around 4.5 million tonnes of new pulp capacity is coming on stream during this year which will put additional pressure on the market. For pulpwood, the market is tight, an impact from the lack of Russian wood volumes and increased competition from the energy sector.

Our results for the first quarter this year are very disappointing. Beyond the market-driven lower demand and cost escalation, we have been negatively impacted by operational issues and the logistical strikes in Finland. This resulted in an operational EBIT of 234 million euro, with a margin of 9%, a year-on-year decrease by 53%. Our sales were 2,722 million euro, a year-on-year decrease by 3%. For the full year we expect the challenging market conditions to prevail and therefore we forecast a result that is significantly lower than last year.

To protect our margins, we are constantly taking actions by curtailing production, reducing fixed and variable costs, managing working capital, evaluating product and market mix, and price adjustments where possible. We continue our path of decentralising decision-making, so divisions can more effectively capitalise on customer opportunities, and we are creating lean HQ operations to reduce overhead costs, strengthen leadership and efficiencies across the Group. Our asset footprint is reviewed continuously in order to develop cost-competitive assets and if necessary, restructure to adapt to market conditions. Recently, we have consolidated to five divisions after the discontinuation of the Paper business and as the demand of publication paper continues to rapidly decline, we are planning to permanently reduce capacity at the Anjala paper site.

Delivering on our strategic roadmap with disciplined capital allocation
For the past few years, we have been investing in our long-term growth initiatives in packaging, wood products and biomaterials innovations. Due to the current business environment and to protect our balance sheet and cash flow we will be restrictive on new strategic capex initiatives. Our focus is to deliver long-term shareholder and customer value from the investment decisions already made and run our operations as efficiently as possible.

We always look for the best opportunities to optimise capital allocation. Continuing operations at Beihai, would require sizeable investments to further improve cost competitiveness. The Beihai divestment process is progressing well, and we are working closely with our Joint Venture partners to manage the interest from potential buyers. The released capital will support our already decided investments in Europe, improving our long-term profitable growth opportunities.

The benefits of De Jong Packaging Group acquisition are starting to be visible. We are gaining a modern, cost competitive production base and a strong ecosystem in relatively resilient end uses such as agricultural products. We will also be able to long-term reduce our long position in containerboard. Timing wise, these opportunities do not come very often and for us this is a significant strategic step to gain market share in Western Europe. As to a possible future conversion in Langerbrugge, we will postpone such a decision until more favourable market conditions for containerboard.

The construction of a new consumer board line at the Oulu site is also progressing well. Economies of scale and the additional investments in pulp production, will improve the cost structure and competitiveness of the whole site. The site will have a leading cost-curve position, enabling transportation overseas while still being able to offer high-margin products. The added flexibility from the new line, will also allow for growth in liquid packaging end-uses. Products from other consumer board sites can be moved to Oulu, streamlining the product portfolio and improving productivity in all sites.

We aim to lead in the fiber-based packaging market in premium end-uses globally. The demand for both virgin and recycled consumer board is expected to grow by more than 11 million tonnes globally, approaching 57 million tonnes by 2030. The investment in Oulu allows us to build on the plastic substitution trend and grow with existing and new customers through our global sales network.

The green transition is expediting our strategy
There is long-term, growing demand for Stora Enso’s renewable products and we are confident that our strategy will continue to deliver market share gains and sustainable growth from a more resilient and powerful business platform over the cycles.

I am very grateful for the commitment of our teams in these turbulent times, to deliver innovative products, financial and operational performance, and to meaningfully contribute to a better environment and value for all stakeholders. With our values to “lead” and “do what is right”, we will future proof our business for tomorrow and beyond.

The renewable future grows in the forest.”


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 Annica Bresky 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 register here: Registered participants will receive an email with more detailed instructions on how to participate in the teleconference.

Media representatives who wish to ask questions after the publication of the Interim Report may contact Carl Norell, press officer at Stora Enso on +46 72 241 0349.

The webcast link will be also available on Stora Enso’s website:

A recording of the presentation will be available at and on

This release is a summary of Stora Enso’s Interim Report January–March 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
Press officer
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 (SEOAY).



Media enquiries:
Carl Norell
Press officer
tel. +46 72 241 0349

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

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