Nordic mills post strong annual results

9 March 2021

Nordic forest products operations have reported strong performances, despite
the disruptions caused by the global health crisis.

Bergs Timber’s full year (January 1-December 31 2020) results show net sales increased 5% to SEK2.149bn, mainly related to higher sales volumes for processed wood products.

The fourth quarter was particularly strong, with net sales increasing by 38% to SEK558m. The higher net sales were related to higher sales volumes and higher sales prices.

Peter Nilsson, Bergs’ chief executive officer, said deliveries and order intake remained strong for most of the Group’s products. He singled out demand for sawn and planed wood products, which was “unexpectedly strong” in the second half of 2020, treated wood and garden products, and window and door production.

Holmen’s year-end report shows net sales down on 2019 – from SEK16.959bn to SEK16.327bn – but operating profit up on the previous year – from SEK2.345bn to SEK2.479bn. Higher wood product prices and lower production costs in paperboard had a positive effect on earnings, said the company.

“Despite a major planned maintenance shutdown, the year ended on a strong note with an operating profit of SEK595m in the fourth quarter, said Henrik Sjölund, Holmen’s chief executive officer.

Setra has reported operating profit of SEK117m (2019: SEK8m) for 2020. Net sales totalled SEK4.13bn (2019: SEK4.26bn).

The company generated operating profit of SEK61m (2019: SEK-87m) for Q4, 2020, with net sales of SEK1.08bn (2019: SEK1bn).

Setra’s earnings improvement of SEK109m for 2020, compared with the previous year, was achieved by lower raw material prices, positive exchange rate effects, lower fixed costs and higher delivery volumes.

“Demand in the autumn has been healthy in our markets and these conditions are set to persist into the start of 2021,” said Katarina Levin, Setra’s CEO.

Stora Enso saw a 4.6% growth in its operational earnings (EBITDA) in 2020 to €160m (2019: €153m). Sales were down 11.7% in 2020, while product deliveries were down 7.3% to 4.4 million m3.

Annica Bresky, Stora Enso president and CEO, said the company’s wood products division delivered the second best Q4 results in the company’s history – with operational EBITDA of €44m (2019 Q4: €26m) – a 69% improvement.

At SCA net sales in January-December 2020 declined 6% to SEK18.41bn (2019: SEK19.591m). The fall in sales was attributed to lower selling prices, which was partly offset by higher delivery volumes. In the fourth quarter, however, net sales increased 6% to SEK4.592bn (2019: SEK4.338bn), mainly due to higher delivery volumes.

The company notes that the market for solid-wood products remained strong during the quarter, driven by high demand in the building materials trade in the US, Scandinavia, UK and the rest of northern Europe. Market prices increased compared with the preceding period.