Despite positive signs in several of its business areas, Finnish forest products giant Metsäliitto still posted a €310m loss in the first nine months of 2009.

The company, the parent of Finnforest, reported a significant fall in sales to €3.6bn, compared with nearly €5bn in the same period in 2008.

Although Kari Jordan, president and CEO of Metsäliitto Group, said there were positive signs, which were reflected in the figures for the third quarter, he was cautious about declaring a recovery.

“The forestry industry is dependent on the general economic development, and therefore it is too early to speak about a clear turn of the market for the better,” he said.

Falling raw material costs and a hike in the price of sawn timber, together with a revival in the demand for construction products and the implementation of cost-saving programmes, helped the group’s Wood Products Industry sector record “noticeably better” results for the third quarter of 2009. The sector posted a loss of €3m, down from a second-quarter loss of €10m and first-quarter loss of €25m. Sales for the first nine months were €613m, compared with €923m in 2008.

During the third quarter, Metsäliitto said the construction market began to pick up especially in the UK following government subsidies, low interest rates and revival of the real estate business.

Production restructions on sawn goods led to a price increase at the end of the review period.

Meanwhile, as part if its development programme related to energy-efficient construction, Metsäliitto Wood Products Industry launched a new Kerto-framed passive roof element and a base plate.