Swedish forest products firm Holmen AB’s timber division has posted a SKr7m first-quarter operating profit.

The result compares to a SKr16m loss a year ago and is mainly due to increased sawn timber selling prices.

“Consumption of sawn timber remained low in the first quarter,” Holmen said. “Stock levels are assessed to be low and prices were unchanged from the fourth quarter, but significantly higher than the beginning of 2009.”

The operating profit declined by SKr12m from the previous quarter due to low supplies and increased log costs.

Holmen delivered 62,000m³ of sawn timber in the first quarter, 23% lower than a year ago because of production disruptions and transport problems due to the cold winter.

Holmen’s group-wide profit after tax was SKr178m (2009: SKr245m) from sales of SKr4.4bn (2009: SKr4.5bn). Poor demand for newsprint and lower selling prices hit the result.

For the whole of 2009, Holmen recorded a SKr1bn profit after tax, and sales of SKr18bn.

Holmen’s Iggesund redwood sawmill has a production capacity of 340,000m³ annually, while a new whitewood mill being constructed in Braviken will have an initial capacity of 550,000m³.