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2021-04-22 08:00:00

Rottneros AB: Rottneros interim report January-March

Rising prices and strong demand for market pulp


  • SOLD VOLUME was 112,0 (110,0) thousand tonnes due to strong demand for market pulp.
 
  • PRODUCED VOLUME was 102,5 (109,4) thousand tonnes. It was mainly the cold winter that had a negative impact on production.
 
  • THE CORONA PANDEMIC entails continued measures to minimise the risk of spreading the infection in the Group's facilities. Production was not affected by the pandemic during the quarter. However, the development at Packaging has been delayed.
 
  • NET TURNOVER decreased by 7 percent to 542 (585) MSEK. The higher list prices are reflected in invoiced prices with some delay. Higher sales volumes contributed positively.
 
  • THE LIST PRICE of NBSK pulp was 16 percent higher in USD compared with the first quarter of 2020.  A weaker USD against the SEK meant that the increase in SEK was only 1 percent. The list price has risen sharply over the last half year, from 840 to 1 030 USD/t.
 
  • EBIT (operating profit) for the first quarter of 2021 was 11 (48) MSEK. Lower sales prices and lower production had a negative impact on earnings. At the same time, lower variable and fixed costs contributed positively.
 
  • NET PROFIT for the first quarter of 2021 was 5 (32) MSEK. Earnings per share for the quarter were 0,03 (0,21) SEK.
 
  • THE BALANCE SHEET remains strong. The equity/assets ratio is 57 percent (54) and available liquidity amounts to 513 (569) MSEK.

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COMMENTS FROM THE CEO

The performance for the quarter was not satisfactory but shows a positive development. Compared with the first quarter of 2020, a weaker USD had the main impact. At the same time, lower variable costs had a positive impact, clearly influenced by the good availability of wood. The pulp market continues to improve, with a strong trend in list prices. The unusually cold winter impacted production volumes. Our focus on continuously higher production and cost control will remain in 2021, at the same time as we maintain our solid balance sheet.
 

Production fell by 6 percent to 102 500 tonnes, mainly as a result of the unusually cold winter weather. At the same time, our deliveries increased by two percent to 112 000 tonnes. Net turnover decreased by seven percent during the quarter compared with the same quarter last year. EBIT fell 37 MSEK to 11 MSEK. The decline can mainly be explained by lower sales prices denominated in SEK because of the weaker USD. The average SEK/USD exchange rate for Q1 was 13 percent lower than in Q1 2020. The supply of pulp wood remains at a healthy level and clearly affected our purchasing costs.

Since our prices are affected with some lag in relation to list prices, second-quarter earnings should benefit to a larger extent than was the case for Q1. In March, the production rate was back to normal levels.

The Swedish electricity market was more balanced during the quarter than previously, which reduced the differences between the system price and the price we pay locally. Consequently, our electricity futures, which are linked to the system price, had the intended effect of reducing exposure to the electricity price.

THE CORONA PANDEMIC

After more than a year of the corona pandemic, we can say that our extensive measures have largely kept the infection out of our facilities. The safety and well-being of our employees always come first and we work systematically to minimise the impact of the pandemic. For example, we address the psychosocial consequences that can arise when employees must work from home to a large extent.

STRONG DEVELOPMENT FOR LIST PRICES

The strong market recovery, driven mainly by China, continues. The NBSK list price per tonne increased during the first quarter by 150 USD, to 1 030 USD at the end of March. The upturn continued at the beginning of the second quarter to 1 120 USD and announcements of further price increases of 100 USD have been made for May.

During the quarter, we further defined the Group's vision, "Always make a difference", by adding environmental targets to the sustainability targets. Emissions to water (COD) and fossil free production (CO2) have thereby been added as long-term target. The ambition is to continuously reduce environmental impact and to achieve completely fossil free production by 2030.
 

ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTMENT DECISIONS RAISE THE LEVEL IN 2021

In January the Board approved a number of investments to reduce emissions to water from Vallvik Mill. The investments total 33 MSEK and are linked to the mill's recently updated environmental permit. At the beginning of April, the Board of Directors decided to invest an additional 40 MSEK in the biomass boiler at Rottneros Mill in order to increase availability and thereby minimise the need for fossil fuels for drying the pulp. Taken together, this means that the Group's investments this year will total around 140 MSEK. The long-term base level required to maintain our facilities while increasing production levels by at least three percent annually remains at around SEK 100 MSEK.
 

PACKAGING'S NEW PRODUCTION LINE DOUBLES CAPACITY

Rottneros Packaging's new production line went into operation at the beginning of April, thereby doubling our capacity in Sunne. We have also entered into a cooperation agreement with a Central European paper manufacturer with the aim of achieving industrial scale tray production in the European market.

In closing, once again I would like to warmly thank all of our employees for the considerable efforts they have made to take the Group to another level despite the major challenges we have faced since the start of the pandemic. I would also like to thank both customers and suppliers for their good cooperation.
(For full report, see attached pdf)

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This information is such information that Rottneros AB is required to disclose in accordance with the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Securities Market Act. The information was submitted for publication on April 22, 2021 at 08.00 by the contact person below. This report has been prepared in both a Swedish and an English version. In the event of deviations between the two, the Swedish version shall prevail.


Lennart Eberleh, president and CEO

Rottneros AB (publ) 
+46 (0)270 622 65 
lennart.eberleh@rottneros.com


Rottneros is an independent producer of market pulp. The Group comprises the parent company Rottneros AB, listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, and its subsidiaries Rottneros Bruk AB and Vallviks Bruk AB with operations involving the production and sale of market pulp. The Group also includes Rottneros Packaging AB, which manufactures fibre trays, the wood procurement company Rottneros Baltic SIA in Latvia and the forest operator Nykvist Skogs AB. The Group has about 318 employees and had a turnover of approximately SEK 2,1 billion in the 2020 financial year.


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