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Coronavirus causes ups, downs for Metsä Group

Published : 30 Jul 2020, 22:29

  DF News Desk

File Photo by Metsä Group.

Forest industry company Metsä Group reported on Thursday a decline in its sales during April-June from 1,372 million euros last year to 1,200 million euros this year, reported Xinhua.

Its comparable operating result in Q2 2020 declined to 96 million euros, from 128 million euros in the previous year.

During the whole first half of 2020, the sales of Metsä Group were 2,453 million euros, compared with 2,809 million euros in H1 of 2019. The comparable operating result of H1 was 158 million euros, declining sharply from 308 million euros in the previous year.

Ilkka Hamala, president and CEO of Metsä Group, noted in a press statement that the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the group had differed in the various sectors of the Group.

As a subsidiary of Metsä Group as well as a publicly listed company, Metsä Board improved its comparable operating result in Q2 year-on-year to 60.5 million euros from 41 million euros in 2019, though its sales in Q2 of 2020 were 473.1 million euros, slightly down from 477.1 million euros of the same period last year.

Commenting on the Q2 results on Thursday, Mika Joukio, CEO of Metsä Board, noted in a press release that demand for fresh fibre paper-boards used in food and pharmaceutical packaging increased strongly at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March-April. However, the demand had normalized towards the end of Q2.

Joukio elaborated that the rapid growth was not attributed to the demand during the pandemic only, but also a repercussion of the long forest industry strike in Finland during Q1 2020.

In addition, demand in Q2 was also higher than normal for Metsä Tissue's soft papers sold in the consumer market. Stronger sales of tissue paper created in turn more demand for pulp. However, at the same time, there was a decline in demand for printing papers.

Metsä Group expects its comparable operating result in Q3 of 2020 to weaken from Q2.

Metsä Group is a leading producer of paper and pulp productions in Europe, with some 9,300 employees. Its parent company, the Metsäliitto Cooperative is owned by some 103,000 Finnish forest owners.