The paperboard market has been strong and the
operational efficiency of our mills has been high,
even in the challenging year of the coronavirus
pandemic. Our strategy to focus on profitable
growth in fresh fibre paperboards has proven to
work and we are now in an even stronger position
to develop our core business.
The past year has been exceptional. In spring, the effects of the coronavirus
pandemic, which are still present, shook the whole world. The top priority in
our operations has been to ensure the safety of our employees, prevent the
virus from spreading and secure the continuity of our business. I think we have
succeeded well in achieving these aims. We have avoided cluster infections and
our deliveries have continued without disruption during the pandemic. The
annual maintenance shutdowns at our mills were also carried out successfully.
The production efficiency of our mills was at a high level and we achieved
new production records. I have seen positive attitudes, great teamwork and
commitment in daily work – in line with precautionary measures and safety
instructions. I would like to express my sincere thanks to our personnel for their
excellent performance during these difficult times.
The coronavirus pandemic has increased the demand for pure and safe
packaging materials, particularly in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical
industries. Our product portfolio responds well to this demand, and our efficient
supply chain has ensured continuous and reliable deliveries to our customers.
Our paperboard deliveries in 2020, totalling 1,810,000 tonnes, were at a higher
level than in the previous year. This is an excellent achievement considering
that our business, and particularly our results early in the year, were burdened
the paper industry strike in Finland, which lasted for more than two weeks.
Our comparable operating result in 2020 was EUR 221 million and the return
on capital employed was 12.2%. Cash flow from operations was strong, EUR
308 million. In accordance with our dividend policy, the Board of Directors
proposes a distribution of EUR 0.26 per share.
WE GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE BY BEING
A FORERUNNER IN SUSTAINABILITY AND
COLLABORATING IN INNOVATIONS
We aim to be a forerunner in sustainability. For us, this means investing in
resource efficiency and combating climate change, in sustainable products and
the supply chain, and in the sustainable use of forests. We aim for entirely fossil
free production and products by 2030. Our sustainability targets have been
approved by the Science Based Targets initiative, and they meet the strictest
requirements of the Paris Agreement, aiming to limit global warming to 1.5
degrees Celsius. In recognition of the control of greenhouse gas emissions and
the sustainable use of water resources, Metsä Board was again accepted on to
the CDP’s respected Climate A and Water A lists in 2020. In the CDP’s forest
programme, we achieved level A-.
Growing consumption and the increased demand for sustainable packaging
solutions are accelerating the need for innovations and close cooperation with
customers and technology partners. The new state-of-the-art Excellence Centre
in the bioeconomy ecosystem of Äänekoski, which we opened in September, provides an excellent platform for development collaboration. As part of Metsä
Group, we participate in large-scale collaboration projects which aim to develop
high-volume bioproducts with a significantly lower carbon footprint compared
to products currently on the market. An example of this is the 3D fibre product
presently under development.
OUR STRATEGY EMPHASISES CLEAR CHOICES
WHICH ENABLE OUR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
Our strategy to focus on premium and recyclable fresh fibre paperboards
has proven correct, and we will continue to implement it. Customers value
our services and the high and consistent quality of our products, based on
the excellence of our mills and tailor-made high-quality pulp. Late last year,
we announced a cooperation arrangement with the Swedish forest owners’
cooperative Norra Skog, which will enable us to allocate more capital to the
The new state-of-theart Excellence Centre
in the bioeconomy
an excellent platform
development of the paperboard business in the coming years. Self-sufficiency
in pulp and the stable market situation in the paperboard business support our
future investment plans.
Population growth, urbanisation and climate change continuously set more
requirements for packaging in terms of sustainability, recyclability and product
safety. I see these as excellent opportunities to develop our business operations,
grow profitably and create value for our shareholders.
Finally, I would like to thank our customers, employees and other partners
for their trust and cooperation in 2020. We have a good starting point for
2021 – a favourable market situation, a strong financial position, and safe and
sustainable products that meet growing global consumer demand. I am positive
and confident about the future.