FULL YEAR 2018
(compared with 2017)
- Net sales increased 13% to SEK 18,755m (16,664). Sales grew in all segments.
- EBITDA increased 44% to SEK 5,252m (3,648). The improvement in EBITDA was mainly related to higher prices.
- EBITDA margin increased to 28.0% (21.9).
- Operating cash flow increased to SEK 2,751m (2,273).
- During the year the expansion of the Östrand pulp mill was completed. The investment of almost SEK 8 billion, which doubles production capacity, has been financed from operating cash flow.
- Earnings per share amounted to SEK 5.21 (2.67).
- The Board of Directors proposes a dividend of SEK 1.75 (1.50) per share.
QUARTER 4, 2018
(compared with quarter 3, 2018)
- Net sales increased 3% to SEK 4,926m (4,759).
- EBITDA totaled SEK 1,494m (1,549). Adjusted for the effect of planned maintenance stops of SEK 97m (0) and seasonally lower personnel costs during the third quarter of SEK 50m, EBITDA increased SEK 92m.
COMMENTS ON THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
In 2018 the operating profit increased 59%, with all segments contributing to the improved result. The year was characterized by healthy demand and higher prices. In a growing market SCA had good cost control and achieved a high level of production efficiency. During the year the expansion of the Östrand pulp mill was also completed, an investment of almost SEK 8 billion doubling production capacity. The project was completed on time and budget, and work is now focused on trimming the mill to full capacity.
Demand during the fourth quarter was stable with prices generally unchanged or slightly lower. Earnings improved compared to the same quarter last year, but declined slightly compared with the preceding quarter. Planned maintenance stops had an adverse impact on Paper compared to the third quarter. Earnings improved in both Pulp and Forest compared with the third quarter and the same quarter last year. Earnings improved compared to the same quarter last year in Wood, but were lower compared with the seasonally stronger third quarter.
Thanks to its large forest holding, the raw material supply to SCA’s industries remained stable during the year despite unusually difficult weather conditions. Wood raw material deliveries increased during both the third and fourth quarters as a result of the start-up of the expanded pulp mill. The price of timber and pulpwood gradually increased during 2018.
In Wood, 2018 was marked by strong demand in all of SCA’s key markets. This growth was fueled by a favorable level of construction activity, a growing home improvement market and rising demand for renewable materials. The favorable market situation resulted in price increases during the year. During the fourth quarter the consumption of solid-wood products remained stable, but with slightly decreasing prices.
The pulp market developed positively during the year, driven by strong global demand, leading to higher pulp prices. This growth benefitted from increasing demand for both tissue and packaging paper. Following several price increases, pulp prices decreased slightly in Europe at the end of the fourth quarter.
The kraftliner market was strong during 2018. The favorable economy, increasing e-commerce, global population growth and urbanization have driven world trade and demand for packaging paper. This increasing demand, combined with a limited growth in supply has resulted in a positive price development for kraftliner during the year. In the fourth quarter, demand was stable for kraftliner but with slightly lower prices.