Continued focus on cash and costs
Profit protection programme target increased to EUR 275 million
Q3/2019 (compared with Q3/2018)
Sales decreased by 7.1% to EUR 2 402 (2 585) million.
Operational EBIT decreased to EUR 231 (358) million.
Operating profit (IFRS) was EUR 170 (363) million.
EPS decreased to EUR 0.09 (0.27) and EPS excl. IAC was EUR 0.13 (0.31).
Strong cash flow from operations amounted to EUR 488 (457) million. Cash flow after investing activities was EUR 347 (319) million.
The net debt to operational EBITDA ratio at 2.2 (1.1) was slightly above the target level of 2.0.
Operational ROCE was 8.7% (16.7%).
Sales were EUR 7 644 (7 828) million, due to decreased prices and volumes.
Operational EBIT was EUR 841 (1 054) million, due to decreased prices and volumes and increased variable costs.
Outlook for 2019
Deteriorating trading conditions caused by geopolitical uncertainties related to trade wars and a possible hard Brexit are expected to impact Stora Enso negatively. Demand growth is forecast to slow for Stora Enso's businesses in general, and the decline in demand for European paper will continue. Due to the profit protection programme, costs are forecast to remain roughly at the same level in 2019 as in 2018. Stora Enso is still implementing additional profit protection measures to mitigate negative financial impacts of the current situation.
Guidance for Q4/2019
Q4/2019 operational EBIT is expected to be in the range of EUR 100–180 million. During the fourth quarter, there will be annual maintenance shutdown at the Fors, Ingerois, Skoghall, Varkaus, Montes del Plata and Skutskär mills. The total maintenance impact is estimated to be at the same level as in Q4/2018 and in Q3/2019.