Billerud's Q4 net income falls 80% year-over-year to 45M Swedish kronor, net sales down 8.5% to 2.09B kronor; CEO discusses lower earnings due to fall in demand, price pressures on packaging paper, lower pulp prices, market-related production shutdowns
February 1, 2012
– · Net sales amounted to SEK 2 086 million compared with SEK 2 327 million in the previous quarter.
· Operating profit amounted to SEK 75 million, a decrease of SEK 221 million compared with the previous quarter. The decline is mainly due to less favourable prices and a periodic maintenance shutdown at the Gruvön mill leading to lower volumes and higher fixed costs.
· Price pressure continued during the quarter and prices in local currency for packaging paper decreased by approximately 4% compared with the third quarter.
· Market-related production shutdowns were implemented.
Full year 2011 compared with the same period in 2010
· Net sales increased by 6% to SEK 9 343 million.
· Operating profit amounted to SEK 978 million, a decrease of 6%. Lower operating profit for the Market Pulp business area was partly compensated by higher operating profit for the packaging paper segments.
· The Board of Directors proposes a dividend of SEK 3.50 (3.50) per share for 2011.
· At present there is uncertainty about the order situation for the Group in the first part of 2012. However, the market is showing signs of more stable development.
· Continued price pressure is expected for the packaging paper segments at the beginning of 2012.
· If required, market-related production shutdowns will be implemented in order to restore the balance in the market.
Comments by Billerud’s CEO Per Lindberg:
Tough end to a good year
“2011 was an interesting and challenging year. It started very positively with high demand and rising prices which resulted in very strong earnings. The year ended more moderately after a fall in demand in the summer and autumn, price pressure on packaging paper, falling pulp prices and decreasing customer stocks. The consequence of this was that we generated an operating margin of only 4% in the fourth quarter. Operating profit was affected by a periodic maintenance shutdown in Gruvön, market-related production shutdowns, a 4% price reduction for packaging paper and an additional fall in pulp prices. Despite this, we are delivering a very strong result for the full year with an operating margin that met our 10% target and a return on capital employed of 20%.
In order to further strengthen our competitiveness going forward a decision was made during the quarter to invest approximately SEK 900 million in the Skärblacka mill. This investment will improve energy efficiency and environmental performance as well as enabling future expansion.
We look forward with confidence to an equally interesting and challenging 2012, with a market which shows signs of stabilising but which remains uncertain and difficult to predict.”
Billerud’s CEO Per Lindberg and CFO Susanne Lithander will present the year-end report at a press and analysts conference on Wednesday 1 February at 10.00 CET. Venue: Spårvagnshallarna, Birger Jarlsgatan 57 A, Stockholm, Sweden.
This information is such that Billerud AB is required to disclose under the Securities Market Act. Submitted for publication at 07.30 CET on 1 February 2012. This report has been prepared in both a Swedish and an English version. In the event of variations between the two, the Swedish version shall take precedence. The report has not been reviewed by the company’s auditors.
Billerud – “The Natural Part in Smarter Packaging”. Packaging manufacturers and brand owners are offered added value in the form of brand-strengthening, productivity-boosting and environment-enhancing packaging solutions. Billerud has a world-leading market position within primary fibre-based packaging paper. Billerud has annual sales of around SEK 9 000 million and is listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm. www.billerud.com
Industry Intelligence Editor's Note: In an omitted table, Billerud reported Q4 net income of 45 million Swedish kronor. For the same period a year ago, the company recorded net income of 225 million kronor and net sales of 2.28 billion kronor.