YEAR-END REPORT JANUARY–DECEMBER 2018
- Net sales were SEK 5 843 million (5 565), an increase of approximately 5% mainly as a result of increased sales prices
- Adjusted EBITDA was SEK 810 million (950), a decrease of 15%, owing mainly to higher raw material costs
- Net profit was SEK 309 million (368), a decrease of 16%.
- Earnings per share amounted to SEK 1.49 (1.78)
- The board proposes a dividend of SEK 4.30 (4.30) per share for 2018, to be paid out on two occasions in 2019 for a more efficient cash management
- Production levels in line with expectations
- Continued headwind from higher raw material costs
- Renewed long-term contracts within Liquid Packaging Board
- KM7 progressing according to plan, start-up in March/April 2019
- Bergvik Öst; process of finding suitable investors continues as planned
- Focus on safeguarding price levels achieved during 2018
- Wood cost increase expected to flatten out
COMMENTS BY CEO
FOUNDATION IN PLACE TO MEET CUSTOMER DEMAND
“Demand for innovative and sustainable packaging continued to increase during the year, driving a solid growth. For the full year, net sales were 6 percent higher than in 2017. A strong market in combination with our position in selected segments have enabled us to raise prices throughout the year, resulting in record earnings for Packaging Paper.
Full year production levels were in line with our expectations, and despite some challenges early in the year we reached record levels at Gävle, Karlsborg, Frövi and Rockhammar. We are however not satisfied and together with our safety-first initiative, production stability continues to be the key focus area. We see good opportunities to increase volumes in 2019 through our production excellence program.
Our investment for long-term growth at Gruvön is continuing as planned, and the new 550 000 tonne board machine is expected to start up in March/April. We have a clear focus on a stable and successful ramp-up.
Existing long-term agreements with our largest customers within liquid packaging board have been renewed, which will have positive effects on margins. The importance of proactive partnerships is increasing and it is crucial for us to continue and deepen our innovation work together with these key customers.
In November, we announced the strategically important agreement to acquire Bergvik Öst. The 350 000 hectares of forestland constitute a key component to securing long-term competitive wood supply. As we will continue to prioritise investments in our operations, our intention as previously communicated is to find suitable investors for a substantial part of the forestland. This process is moving ahead as planned.
Global trends such as changes in consumer behaviours due to increased sustainability awareness and growing e-commerce are beneficial for us. We see continued good demand especially for consumer products, a segment in which we have a strong position and we believe has low cyclicality. With our new organisation in place, we are well prepared to meet customer demand and continue to move up the value chain.”
Despite the favourable sales performance, EBITDA decreased for the full year 2018. This is largely related to cost development for raw materials, as well as the challenging wood shortage earlier in the year. In preparation for the planned maintenance shutdowns in Q2 2019, we have built additional inventory to ensure a stable delivery situation, which has affected sales volumes negatively especially in the latter part of the year. Adjusted EBITDA for the full year decreased by 10 percent to SEK 3 476 million.
We foresee continued good demand for our products and expect order books to remain solid. As we see limited possibilities for further increases in sales price, we are focusing on safeguarding our price levels from 2018. With an unchanged market demand for pulpwood, we expect the increase in cost of fibre to flatten out at high levels in 2019.
We will continue to pursue our strategy for sustainable solutions and profitable growth. To unlock our full potential, we have implemented an agenda of prioritised activities including securing the successful ramp-up of our new board machine in Gruvön, safeguarding the wood supply where a major step has been the agreement to acquire Bergvik Öst, and stabilising production through increased focus on our production excellence program. To achieve our ambitious safety targets we will accelerate measures to improve our safety-related work and decrease the number of injuries throughout the organisation in 2019.
For further information, please contact:
Kristina Schauman, CFO, +46 8 553 335 00
Christopher Casselblad, Investor Relations, +46 8 553 335 08
This information constituted inside information prior to publication. This is information that BillerudKorsnäs AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact persons set out above, at 07.00 CET on 29 January 2019.