Review by Massimo Reynaudo, President and CEO

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A SOLID BASIS FOR GROWTH

UPM had a solid year in 2023 despite an exceptionally challenging operating environment. We completed two significant investments that will create long-term value for our stakeholders. 

The year 2023 was marked by strong geopolitical uncertainty and exceptional economic cycles. For UPM, the year was twofold. During the first half of the year, we experienced a particularly sharp downturn, especially in European markets. Unprecedented destocking significantly affected market deliveries and was combined with falling pulp and energy prices. As the year progressed, there were signs of a gradual recovery in many product markets. 

Our sales decreased by 11% and comparable EBIT was down 52% on the previous year’s record levels. However, our performance was solid in the challenging operating environment with comparable EBIT of EUR 1,013 million and an EBIT margin of 9.7%. We succeeded well in margin management and took decisive action to reduce variable and fixed costs and to adjust our capacity to the low demand. Cash flow was at record levels and our financial position remained strong. We are well positioned to take advantage of further market improvements. 

UPM's Board of Directors proposes a dividend of EUR 1.50 (1.50) per share for 2023, reflecting UPM's strong financial position and the Board's confidence in the company's future success. 

 

Investments set to deliver

UPM has a clear strategy and we are aiming for growth. Global megatrends support demand for many of our products, and both our customers and consumers want to make sustainable choices. We have accelerated growth through significant investments, two of which were completed in 2023 and are set to deliver in 2024. 

The largest investment project in the company's history was completed in Uruguay, increasing our pulp production capacity by more than 50% to around 5.8 million tonnes per year. Once production is fully optimised, UPM Paso de los Toros mill will have a cash cost per tonne of pulp delivered of around 280 US dollars, making it one of the most competitive pulp mills in the world. 

Furthermore, the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant unit was commissioned in 2023, increasing UPM Energy's CO2-free electricity production by almost 50%. The investment also has a societal impact by improving Finland's energy self-sufficiency and providing CO2-free energy for society's needs. 

UPM's biochemical refinery project in Leuna, Germany is progressing at full speed. The biorefinery is unique as it is the world's first refinery to produce wood-based biochemicals. Numerous new partnerships demonstrate the demand for its products. In addition, a detailed commercial and basic engineering phase of the potential Rotterdam biorefinery continues. 

 
 

Responsibility at the core of our operations

UPM's purpose is to create a future beyond fossils. We offer our customers renewable and recyclable materials and low-emission energy. We also innovate new solutions and invest in sustainable growth. 

Responsibility is at the core of our strategy and operations. We have ambitious, science-based targets and a strong track record of concrete action to both mitigate climate change and enhance biodiversity. We source our raw materials from sustainably managed forests and process them into renewable products that help our customers meet their sustainability targets. 

 

Creating shareholder value

Although there are still many uncertainties in the operating environment, we expect UPM's full-year 2024 results to be up from 2023. In the near term, our focus will be on performance, delivery of our investments, preparing for the future growth and building on our values. 

2023 showed that our operating model is solid and that we can perform well even in exceptionally challenging circumstances. For building this strong foundation, I would like to thank my predecessor, Jussi Pesonen, who has had a long, very distinguished and successful career at the helm of UPM. Under his leadership, the company has undergone a bold and determined transformation and its shareholder value has increased significantly. The results of years of systematic work have benefited all our stakeholders and society as a whole. 

I have taken up the role of CEO at the beginning of 2024 with both enthusiasm and determination. UPM is an excellent company that I am honoured to lead, and I thank the Board of Directors for the trust they have placed in me. I would also like to thank UPM's employees, customers, shareholders and other stakeholders for their valued cooperation, which has put us in an excellent position to continue our success. The world needs responsible solutions and we have the ability to deliver them. Together, we create a future beyond fossils! 

Massimo Reynaudo
President and CEO 


Investor Relations contacts: +358 (0)204 15 0033, ir@upm.com

 
Page modified 24.05.2024