​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Summary of latest financial results

Interim Report Q1 2018:
UPM continues to grow earnings
Strong customer demand in all businesses

Q1 2018 highlights

  • Comparable EBIT increased by 17% to EUR 355 million (305 million in Q1 2017).
  • Sales prices increased in all business areas, outweighing the impact of higher input costs and unfavourable currencies.
  • Operating cash flow was EUR 208 million (396 million), including an increase in working capital.
  • Net debt decreased to EUR 41 million (807 million).

Key figures Q1/2018 Q1/2017 Q4/2017 Q1-Q4/2017
Sales, EURm 2,512 2,482 2,571 10,010
Comparable EBITDA, EURm 449 405 451 1,631
  % of sales 17.9 16.3 17.5 16.3
Operating profit, EURm 385 312 299 1,259
Comparable EBIT, EURm 355 305 366 1,292
  % of sales 14.1 12.3 14.2 12.9
Profit before tax, EURm 371 299 273 1,186
  Comparable profit before tax, EURm 341 291 340 1,218
Profit for the period, EURm 309 240 244 974
Comparable profit for the period, EURm 288 234 297 1,004
Earnings per share (EPS), EUR 0.58 0.45 0.46 1.82
  Comparable EPS, EUR 0.54 0.44 0.56 1.88
Return on equity (ROE), % 14.0 11.8 11.5 11.5
Comparable ROE, % 13.0 11.6 14.0 11.9
Return on capital employed (ROCE), % 15.6 12.0 13.2 12.5
Comparable ROCE, % 14.3 11.7 15.9 12.8
Operating cash flow, EURm 208 396 407 1,558
Operating cash flow per share, EUR 0.39 0.74 0.76 2.92
Equity per share at end of period, EUR 16.83 14.92 16.24 16.24
Capital employed at the end of period, EURm 9,733 9,919 9,777 9,777
Net debt at the end of period, EURm 41 807 174 174
Net debt to EBITDA (last 12 m.) 0.02 0.52 0.11 0.11
Personnel at the end of period 19,027 19,301 19,111 19,111

​  Jussi Pesonen, President and CEO, comments on the results:

UPM continues to grow earnings
Strong customer demand in all businesses

“Commercially the first quarter was excellent. Customer demand was strong and we succeeded in increasing sales prices in all businesses, practically in all products. With this we were able to expand our
margins and recover the impact of clearly higher input costs.

Our comparable EBIT increased by 17 % to EUR 355 million, marking the 20th consecutive quarter of earnings growth. Operating cash flow was at EUR 208 million and net debt decreased to EUR 41 million during the quarter.

UPM Biorefining benefitted from significantly higher pulp prices in the first quarter. Operationally, however, the quarter left room for improvement. Challenges in wood harvesting and operational efficiency limited our production and we were not able to fully benefit from the strong market demand.

UPM Energy achieved an excellent result with higher electricity prices and a good level of hydropower generation.

UPM Communication Papers (formerly UPM Paper ENA), UPM Specialty Papers and UPM Plywood continued good performance. They were able to offset most of the heavy cost increases with sales price actions in favourable customer demand and tight markets. 

The market demand was also good for self-adhesive labels. UPM Raflatac was able to restore its unit margins with price increases after 12 months of continued heavy input cost increases, but gave up some volumes in the process. 

We are making progress in our transformative prospects. In Uruguay, the second preparation phase for the potential new pulp mill is proceeding. The permitting processes for the mill, rail and port, as well as rail tendering have started as agreed with the Government of Uruguay.

In UPM Biochemicals, the basic engineering work for the potential industrial scale biochemical refinery in Germany is proceeding at full speed. Results are expected by the end of the year.

In UPM Biofuels, we continue to explore future opportunities by carrying out an environmental impact study in Kotka, Finland, as a potential location for a new biorefinery.

I am pleased to say that UPM is in good shape. Global megatrends drive demand growth for sustainable and safe solutions that we provide. We will create value by seizing the limitless opportunities of bioeconomy.”


Outlook for 2018

U
PM reached record earnings in 2017 and its comparable EBIT is expected to increase further in 2018 compared with 2017. 

The fundamentals for UPM businesses in 2018 continue to be favourable. Healthy demand growth is expected to continue for most UPM businesses in 2018, while demand decline is expected to continue for UPM Communication Papers. Sales prices are expected to be higher in UPM businesses in 2018 compared with 2017.

Input costs are expected to be higher in 2018 compared with 2017. In order to mitigate this, UPM will continue to implement measures to reduce fixed and variable costs. 2018 has started with less favourable currency exchange rates than 2017.

Q2 2018 results will be impacted by significant maintenance activity, especially in UPM Biorefining.


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