Metsä Group has posted total sales of €479m ($506m) in the third quarter (Q3) of 2023, a decline of 26% from €647.3m in Q3 2022.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) for this year’s Q3 stood at €21.1m, representing a decline of 88% from €177.1m in the prior year’s Q3.

In Q3 2023, operating results decreased by 97.9% to €3.1m from €153.4m in the same quarter last year.

The company’s comparable operating result was also down by 96.3% from €152.5m in Q3 2022 to €5.5m in Q3 2023.

Its result before taxes in Q3 2023 was €4.3m as against €152.4m in Q3 2022 while the comparable result before taxes in the latest quarter was €6.7m as compared with €151.6m in the prior year’s quarter.

Results for the third quarter of 2023 saw a decline of 97.8% to €2.8m from €132.9m in Q3 2022. The comparable result for the latest period was €5.2m as against €132.1m in the same period of last year.

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Earnings per share for the reported period from July to September 2023 was €0.01 versus €0.33 in Q3 2022.

According to the company, demand for fresh fibre paperboards continues to be impacted by a fall in demand for consumer products, adjustment measures by the value chain, and growing import volumes of cartonboard from Asia.

During the reported quarter, the company adjusted its production accordingly to meet this low demand, with production volumes staying below capacity levels.

Metsä CEO Mika Joukio said: “In July-September, our paperboard deliveries amounted to 340,000 tonnes, still clearly below our capacity level. However, despite the subdued market, average sales prices of our paperboards remained at a good level. Our sales were €479 million, and our operating margin was 1.1 (Q3/2022: 647 and 23.6).

“Profitability was negatively affected especially by lower pulp prices compared to the corresponding period last year.”

Sales for the year-to-date period (between January and September 2023) were also down by 19.1% to €1.51bn from €1.87bn recorded in last year’s Q1-Q3 period.

EBITDA for Q1-Q3 2023 was €189.5m as against €503.1m in Q1-Q3 2022.

Result for the first nine months of this year totalled €100.8m, a decline of 72.8% from €371.7m for the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Metsä has forecasted its comparable operating result for the last quarter of the year (October to December 2023) to be at the same level as the current quarter.