Metsä Group has reported sales of €1.94bn ($2.08bn) during the January to December period of financial year 2023 (FY23), compared to €2.48bn a year ago.  

The company’s comparable operating result for the reported period declined to €122.2m while the same was €520.7m in FY22. 

Operating results for the year stood at €120.8m, also a decrease from €531.5m in the previous year.  

Comparable earnings per share (EPS) in FY23 declined to €0.27 from €1.13 during the same period in FY22. 

The company’s reported EPS also dropped to €0.27 from €1.15 reported in FY22. 

In FY23, its comparable return on capital employed was 5.1%, and the net cash flow from operations was €342.8m. 

In the fourth quarter (Q4) of FY23, Metsä Group’s sales were €422.6m, a decrease from €599.8m in the same quarter of the previous year.  

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The comparable operating result for the quarter was €0.7m, compared to €100.8m in Q4 last year.  

Comparable EPS for Q4 FY23 was €0.01, a significant fall from €0.23 while the reported EPS for this year’s Q4 stood at €0.01 versus €0.21 in the prior year’s Q4. 

The company’s comparable return on capital employed was 0.4%, with net cash flow from operations reaching €124.3m in Q4 FY23. 

The company attributes the decline in the last quarter primarily to the weakened demand for fresh fibre paperboards, influenced by a decrease in consumer product demand and increased cartonboard imports from Asia.  

Metsä Board CEO Mika Joukio said: “In the last quarter [Q4], the market situation for fresh fibre paperboards remained weak, with demand further reduced by seasonally slower December. The delivery volumes of our paperboards decreased from the previous quarter to 299,000 tonnes.  

“The decline in volumes was more pronounced for folding boxboards, while white kraftliner sales remained fairly stable. The average selling price of folding boxboard also declined slightly.” 

Looking ahead, Metsä Board forecasts an improvement in its comparable operating result for the January-March 2024 period, compared to Q4 FY23.