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The Swedish forest industry companies’ quarterly reports for the third quarter of the year have been published, and now give a good picture of how forest Sweden is coping with this pandemic year. GWMI has compared the key figures from Q1-Q3 (January to September) from most of Sweden’s major players with the corresponding period in 2019 to provide an overview of the markets for timber and pulpwood.

SCA

  • Following the closure of printing paper production at the pulp mill in Ortviken, SCA is instead investing SEK 1.45 billion in increasing the production of thermomechanical pulp from 100,000 to 300,000 tonnes per year.
  • The textile recycling company Renewcell plans to establish operations at the mill in Ortviken.
  • SCA has acquired 19,150 hectares of land in Latvia, of which 13,100 hectares are forest land.
  • Reduced net sales by ten percent (SEK 1,461 million) to SEK 13,818 million.
  • Reduced operating profit by 98 percent to SEK 61 million (SEK 3,005 million). The negative earnings effect from the closure of printing paper production here amounts to SEK -1,792 million.
  • Reduced profit before tax by 54 percent (SEK 2,321 million) to SEK 1,943 million. The negative earnings effect from the closure of printing paper production here amounts to SEK -1,120 million.
  • Earnings per share of SEK -0.02.

The closure of the printing paper production at SCA’s pulp mill Östrand has a major impact on the 2020 results, at the same time as these are non-recurring items. According to SCA, the reduced net sales is mainly due to lower sales prices.

Setra

  • Increased cash flow from operating activities by 213 percent (SEK 267 million) to SEK 392 million.
  • Reduced net debt by 14 percent (SEK 38 million) to SEK 230 million.
  • Reduced net sales by seven percent (SEK 219 million) to SEK 3,043 million.
  • Reduced operating profit by 41 percent (SEK 39 million) to SEK 56 million.
  • Reduced profit after tax by 62 percent (SEK 45 million) to SEK 29 million.

Setra’s CEO Katarina Levin comments on the quarterly report on the company’s website. Due to the pandemic, the production level has been lower during the summer, which has affected the result, but strong demand together with increased European exports to the USA gives good faith in the future.

Södra

  • Successful fight against bark beetle has halved the attacks in Södra’s area of ​​operation compared with last year.
  • Increased operating profit in Q3 for business areas Södra Skog and Södra Wood.
  • Reduced operating profit by 78 percent (SEK 1,979 million) to SEK 541 million.
  • The Södra Cell business area has been hit hard by reduced prices for market pulp with an operating profit of SEK -8 million in Q3 compared with SEK 551 million in Q3 last year.

Södra’s acting CEO Peter Karlsson comments on the quarterly report on the Group’s website. He says that the decrease in sales and the decline in earnings are due to sharply reduced prices for market pulp compared with the same period last year. However, the price development has become a little more positive during the end of Q3 compared with the beginning of the year. The development for the Group’s sawmills and wood processing follows the industry, which is still doing well, and here Södra reports positive figures.

Norra Skog

  • Streamlining from four to three sawmills through the merger of Norrskog and Norra Skogsägarna.
  • Restructuring costs for the merger that are charged to the result are non-recurring costs.
  • Gross profit for the period January-August of SEK -33 million.
  • Provisions linked to reduced market prices reduce the value of the association’s already purchased rooted forest stocks. The value is written down by SEK 40 million.

Norra Skog’s CEO Pär Lärkeryd says in a press release that the result is in line with expectations after restructuring and closure of Östavall’s sawmill. He is positive about the future and sees a recovery for the sawmill industry after an initial slowdown as a result of the corona pandemic, but does not believe that the challenges are over yet.

Moelven

  • Increased net sales by 9.5 percent (751 MNOK) to 8638 MNOK.
  • Increased operating profit by 22 percent (79 MNOK) to 432 MNOK.
  • Increased profit before tax by 17 percent (NOK 100 million) to NOK 681 million.
  • The operating profit for Q3 of 163.4 MNOK is almost 120 MNOK more than for Q3 2019 and the best result for the third quarter in 13 years.

For Moelven, the third quarter of the year, as for most other players, meant an upswing due to continued high demand for wood products both in Scandinavia and in the USA. Moelven believes that the weak Swedish and Norwegian kroner have also contributed to global competitiveness. Saw log prices were lower in both Sweden and Norway than during the corresponding period last year.

Holmen

  • Increased operating profit by seven percent (SEK 126 million) to SEK 1,884 million.
  • Increased profit after tax by just over seven percent (SEK 104 million) to SEK 1,467 million. The increase in earnings corresponds to SEK 9.1 per share.
  • Acquisition of Martinsons, which strengthens the Group’s position in the market and opens up new opportunities in the glulam industry.
  • Increased dividend per share by 40 percent to SEK 3.5 per share.
  • Reduced net sales by ten percent (SEK 417 million) to SEK 3,727 million.
  • Holmen will take over loan liabilities in the amount of SEK 100 million in connection with the acquisition of Martinsons.

Holmen’s CEO comments on the interim report by saying that the good results in all of the company’s business areas are gratifying despite the ongoing pandemic. Holmen has benefited from a strong wood products market both in Sweden and globally with high demand for timber, as well as a strong market for board. Price declines and production restrictions for paper have had a negative effect on Holmen.

Stora Enso

  • The Group’s diversity is a strength where packaging materials, wood products and forests strengthen the result for the third quarter as the paper business continues to meet challenges in the wake of the pandemic.
  • The value of forest assets is written up from 5.4 to between 6.5–7 MEUR with a new valuation method.
  • Increased savings target to EUR 400 million.
  • Reduced sales by 16.3 percent (EUR 1,244 million) to EUR 6,400 million.
  • Reduced operating profit before tax by 25.4 percent (EUR 340 million) to EUR 997 million.
  • Reduced earnings per share to EUR 0.40.

Stora Enso’s CEO Annika Bresky comments on the quarterly report by saying that she is pleased that a stable result has been delivered in such an uncertain time. During the third quarter, there was again a positive cash flow, but the pandemic had a negative effect on paper operations. Stora Enso is restructuring production at the pulp mill in Oulu and is investing, among other things, in KL wood production in the Czech Republic.

Sveaskog

  • The net change in value of growing forests amounted to SEK 464 million, which is an increase from last year’s net of SEK 426 million.
  • Reduced direct return compared with last year, measured over 12 months, from 5.4 to 3.7 percent.
  • Reduced operating profit by 28 percent (SEK 321 million) to SEK 812 million.
  • Reduced net sales by nine percent (SEK 480 million) to SEK 4,916 million.
  • Reduced profit by 19 percent (SEK 251 million) to SEK 1,035 million. The reduced earnings correspond to SEK 8.74 per share.

Sveaskog’s President and CEO Hannele Arvonen states in a press release that the decrease in earnings was expected as prices for Sveaskog’s products have fallen gradually since 2019 with a continued negative trend this year.

The deterioration in operating profit is explained, among other things, by increased costs for forest and nature conservation and roads, something they have tried to compensate for by reducing external purchases of forest raw materials.

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