The reversal came on the back of a 10.5% increase in group sales that helped turn a €59.8m operating loss into a €623.8m profit. Pre-tax profits jumped from a €144m loss to being €631m in the black.

A spokesperson said: “Stora Enso Forest Products implemented a number of measures to improve profitability during 2006. Stora Enso Timber and Wood Supply continued to investigate improvement opportunities and made a number of changes to their organisation.”

The changes focused on cutting costs and included a restructuring of assets and efficiency improvements at mills, reorganising the sales network and cost-structure improvements.

The timber operation now has an annual capacity of 7.4 million m3 of sawn wood products, including 3.2 million m3 of value-added products. It reversed a €3.1m loss in 2005 into profits of €59.1m last year. Wood supply moved from a €11.8m loss into a €2.8m profit.

Sales volumes and profits for the fourth quarter were relatively unchanged from the third quarter.