Metsä Board is a growth company

 Year 2017 was Metsä Board’s first full year as a pure-play paperboard company. It was also a year of strong growth – paperboard deliveries grew by 15 per cent from the previous year and amounted to approximately 1.8 million tonnes.

 Metsä Board's year 2017


Metsä Board's Annual Report consists of the annual review, the financial statements, the auditors’ report, the corporate governance statement and the salary and remuneration report.

   Key figures


      CEO's review


Target is to continue profitable growth

Dear reader,
After completing the restructuring, 2017 was Metsä Board’s first full year as a pure-play paperboard company. In line with our strategy, we are focusing on the production of premium lightweight fresh fibre paperboards. Through Husum mill’s new folding boxboard capacity, we are well positioned to meet the growing global demand for fresh fibre paperboards. In 2017, our total paperboard deliveries grew from the previous year, and our profitability improved markedly.

Megatrends support growing demand for fresh fibre paperboard
Demand for packaging materials made from fresh fibre paperboard is supported by strong megatrends, such as population growth and urbanisation, as well as the increasing requirements for recyclable, resource-efficient and safe packaging materials. More and more, fresh fibre paperboard is being used to replace plastic and recycled paperboard, particularly in food and food service packaging.

Demand for fresh fibre paperboards grew globally in 2017, and price levels in local currencies increased. Metsä Board also announced paperboard price increases in 2017.

Continued growth
Metsä Board’s target is profitable growth exceeding the average market growth. In 2017, our paperboard deliveries grew by 15 per cent from the previous year. As expected, Husum’s folding boxboard was the most significant growth factor, but our white kraftliner deliveries were also on a higher level than last year.

Five out of our eight mills, Tako, Husum, Simpele, Kaskinen and Joutseno, set new annual production records. The average price of folding boxboard was burdened by the geographical sales mix of folding boxboard from Husum especially in the first half of the year. However, the situation improved towards the end of the year, and paperboard deliveries to the Americas grew. The strong pulp market and higher-than-expected pulp prices supported our profitability throughout the year.

In April, we started a new extrusion coating line at the Husum mill in Sweden. The line produces PE-coated paperboards suitable for food and food service packaging. We are now well positioned to serve the global food service packaging market through better product availability and competitive quality.

The new bioproduct mill of Metsä Fibre, our associated company, started up in August according to plan, in an excellent market situation. At the end of the year, its production was at a higher level than expected, and its customer deliveries were off to a good start.

Our cash flows from operations grew substantially in 2017, and we have a strong balance sheet. In the autumn, we issued a ten-year bond. The bond was oversubscribed, which reflects the loan market’s strong confidence in Metsä Board’s future.

Responsibility and sustainability at the core of our operations
Sustainability and responsible business operations are integral parts of our operations. Sustainability and responsibility must begin with senior management, to ensure commitment throughout the organisation. In 2017, we again received wide recognition for our sustainability practices, from CDP and EcoVadis, among other parties. Ensuring well-being and safety at work is particularly important for us, and our investment in these aspects has produced visible and tangible results. We have a low employee turnover rate and our accident frequency rate has decreased year on year.

As part of operational development we renewed our key marketing messages and harmonised our product and service portfolio. This strengthens our market position as a company focusing on premium, lightweight paperboards. With our ‘Better with Less’ concept, we aim to promote packaging solutions that create better consumer experiences with less environmental impact. The increasing environmental and product safety requirements and the growing emphasis on the appearance of packaging are driving demand for premium, lightweight, sustainably produced packaging materials. Metsä Board’s paperboards bring all these qualities together. Our products are complemented by three service areas: packaging analysis and design, availability services and technical expertise and R&D. The aim is to jointly with customers develop lighter and more efficient packaging solutions.

A clear direction for the future
Our vision is to be the preferred supplier of premium paperboards creating value for customers globally. This gives us a clear future direction. We want to continue to develop our products and services in line with our customers’ needs, and we want to respond profitably to the growing market demand. Our highly competent employees, clear strategy and strong financial position make me confident in Metsä Board’s future development.

I would like to extend my thanks to our customers, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders for the past year.

Mika Joukio

Highlights  of 2017


Lidloc makes plastic lids obsolete

​Takeaways and fast food are highly popular everywhere in the world. Metsä Board develops sustainable and innovative packaging solutions that rely on renewable materials and reduce the amount of waste.

In March, Metsä Board presented its new paperboard cup design. The design – which goes by the name of Lidloc – is based on a cup structure with an additional part that can be folded over the cup to function as a lid. The integrated, spill-proof lid makes plastic lids obsolete and will re-invent how paper cups are produced, consumed and recycled. The lid can be printed as one piece with the rest of the cup, which increases brand visibility.

A patent for Lidloc is pending.


Extrusion coating line started up at Husum

​A new extrusion coating line with an annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes started up at the Husum mill in Sweden in April. The value of the investment was EUR 38 million. The line serves the global food and food service packaging market with better product availability and competitive quality.

The line produces PE-coated paperboards that meet the strict requirements in terms of product safety, purity and the product’s protection. PE is the most widely used barrier against moisture and water in food and food service packaging.


Unified product and service offering

​In May, Metsä Board launched its renewed product and service offering. The product names of the paperboards were unified under the Metsä Board product family. The products are complemented by three service areas – Packaging analysis & design, Technical expertise and R&D as well as Availability services.

At the same time, Metsä Board launched its ‘Better with Less’ concept, which aims to promote packaging solutions that create better consumer experiences with less environmental impact.


Among the best of the best

​Metsä Board was once again recognised by CDP for its responsible water use and measures aiming to curb climate change. Metsä Board made it again to CDP’s Climate A list and Water A list. Metsä Board also achieved Leadership status in CDP’s Forest programme.

CDP is a non-profit, global environmental disclosure platform.



​In November, Metsä Board launched a packaging design competition that challenges designers to create more environmentally friendly solutions. The Better with Less – Design Challenge invites designers and
students to develop smarter, lighter and better packaging solutions while reducing their environmental impact.

The competition runs from 6 November 2017 to 31 March 2018 at New packaging solutions are being sought for the most common consumer packages, such as takeaway meals, e-commerce, wellness, cosmetics and dry food packages. The jury is composed of an international group of branding and packaging design experts.

The competition can be followed on social media with the hashtag #betterwithless.


Awards galore

​Packages made from Metsä Board’s paperboards were, once again, successful in a number of packaging contests. Awards and recognition were achieved at, amongst others, the iF Design Award and European Carton Excellence Awards 2017. The tea packages designed by Metsä Board won the Dieline award in the Limited Edition category, while its gift package of skincare products won the Shanghai Luxe Pack in Green award as the most eco-friendly packaging solution. A redesigned version of the gift package was named the Champion of Packaging Printing, Paper Packaging category in the 29th Hong Kong Print Awards, and it also received Merit awards in the Best Creative Printing and Best Crafted Book categories.


Gold-level rating

​In May, Metsä Board achieved EcoVadis Gold rating for its sustainability practices. Metsä Board was rated among the top 1 per cent in all categories covered by EcoVadis’s supplier evaluation.

EcoVadis operates a reporting platform allowing companies globally to assess the environmental and social performance of its suppliers.

There are four assessment criteria: the environment, labour practices, sustainable purchasing and fair business practices.


Äänekoski bioproduct mill started up

​The bioproduct mill of Metsä Board’s associated company Metsä Fibre started up in August in Äänekoski, Finland. Pulp deliveries to customers began in September. The mill’s annual pulp production capacity is 1.3 million tonnes, and the total investment was EUR 1.2 billion.

Metsä Board invested EUR 24.9 million in the bioproduct mill. The investment will increase Metsä Board’s annual pulp capacity by approximately 200,000 tonnes starting from 2018 and allow for future increases in paperboard capacity.

The bioproduct mill uses no fossil fuels at all and will continue to reduce the carbon footprint of Metsä Board’s paperboards.
The mill produces 2.4 times more electricity than it needs and increases the proportion of renewable energy in Finland by more than two percentage points.

Metsä Board owns 24.9 per cent of Metsä Fibre.