Finnish pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso has registered sales of €2.79bn ($2.94bn) for the first quarter (Q1) of the fiscal year 2022 (FY22).

The company’s sales in the quarter were up by 23% from the same period a year earlier.

Stora Enso’s operational earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose by 53% to €503m, while its operational EBIT margin increased to 18.0% from 14.4% in Q1 2021.

During this period, the company’s operating profit also increased to €394m.

Its earnings per share (EPS) grew to €0.37 compared to €0.18 in Q1 2021.

Stora Enso president and CEO Annica Bresky said: “This year has started on a very strong note for Stora Enso.

“We delivered record high profitability and maintained our growth momentum from last year in a very turbulent environment.

“We have seen strong demand for our products with high prices and solid volumes in all our segments and regions.

“Our strategic positioning and investments in growth within renewable materials are paying off, with our key focus areas being our star performers.”

During the quarter, Stora Enso started divestiture procedures for four of its five paper production sites.

These are part of the company’s strategy to focus on renewable packaging, building solutions and biomaterial innovations.

Bresky added: “The sites that are up for sale are competitive and operate in attractive paper segments with improving market conditions.

“We have no deadline for the conclusion of the divestment, and I am confident we will find responsible new owners that can continue to develop the businesses further.”

For FY22, Stora Enso expects its full-year operational EBIT to be approximately in line with its FY21 full-year operational EBIT of €1.52bn.

In December last year, the company announced a €23m investment to boost the flexibility and capacity of its containerboard mill in Varkaus, Finland.