UPM Financial Statements Release 2019: UPM reports good performance and record cash flow – Uruguay investment drives significant future earnings growth

Stock Exchange Release 30.1.2020 9:40 EET

UPM-Kymmene Corporation      Financial Statements Release 2019          30 January 2020 at 9:40 EET

UPM Financial Statements Release 2019:
UPM reports good performance and record cash flow – Uruguay investment drives significant future earnings growth

Q4 2019 highlights

  • Sales decreased by 10% to EUR 2,447 million (2,731 million in Q4 2018) due to lower pulp price and lower deliveries of graphic papers
  • Comparable EBIT decreased by 15% to EUR 343 million (404 million)
  • Record quarterly operating cash flow at EUR 592 million (384 million)
  • Net debt decreased to EUR -453 million (-311 million at the end of 2018, before adoption of IFRS 16 Leases)
  • Record cash flow in UPM Communication Papers and UPM Raflatac, record comparable EBIT in UPM Specialty Papers
  • UPM Specialty Papers expansion at UPM Changshu was completed, and the ramp-up of the converted paper machine at UPM Nordland started
  • UPM announced an investment in Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant at UPM Nordland paper mill in Germany

2019 highlights

  • Sales decreased by 2% to EUR 10,238 million (10,483 million in 2018)
  • Comparable EBIT decreased by 7% to EUR 1,404 million (1,513 million)
  • Record annual operating cash flow at EUR 1,847 million (1,330 million)
  • The Board proposes a dividend of EUR 1.30 (1.30) per share, 38% of operating cash flow per share
  • UPM announced a USD 2.7 billion investment in a 2.1 million tonne eucalyptus pulp mill near Paso de los Toros, Uruguay
  • UPM reduced a total of 620,000 tonnes of graphic paper capacity in 2019 and started a consultation process for selling or closing further 240,000 tonnes of newsprint capacity
  • UPM was selected as UN Global Compact LEAD participant and received several top recognitions for its sustainability performance including Dow Jones Sustainability Index, MSCI AAA rating and CDP A listing

Key figuresQ4/2019Q4/2018Q3/2019Q1–Q4/2019Q1–Q4/2018
Sales, EURm2,4472,7312,49310,23810,483
Comparable EBITDA, EURm 1)4424734551,8511,868
% of sales 1)18.117.318.218.117.8
Operating profit, EURm3367443161,3441,895
Comparable EBIT, EURm3434043421,4041,513
% of sales14.014.813.713.714.4
Profit before tax, EURm3247313191,3071,839
Comparable profit before tax, EURm3313903451,3671,457
Profit for the period, EURm2635912601,0731,496
Comparable profit for the period, EURm2613192811,1191,194
Earnings per share (EPS), EUR0.501.110.461.992.80
Comparable EPS, EUR0.490.600.502.072.24
Return on equity (ROE), %10.524.910.710.716.2
Comparable ROE, %10.413.411.611.212.9
Return on capital employed (ROCE), %11.928.812.012.318.4
Comparable ROCE, %12.215.512.912.814.6
Operating cash flow, EURm 1)5923845001,8471,330
Operating cash flow per share, EUR 1)1.110.720.943.462.49
Equity per share at the end of period, EUR18.8718.3618.2818.8718.36
Capital employed at the end of period, EURm11,47410,57511,17211,47410,575
Net debt at the end of period, EURm-453-311-2-453-311
Net debt to EBITDA (last 12 months) 1)-0.24-0.170.00-0.24-0.17
Personnel at the end of period18,74218,97819,02018,74218,978

1) The 2018 comparative figures have been restated due to accounting policy change of forest renewal costs.

Jussi Pesonen, President and CEO, comments on Q4 and full year 2019 results:

“The year 2019 was a milestone year in UPM’s strategic transformation. In July, we made the decision to build a highly competitive pulp mill in central Uruguay to drive a step change in UPM’s future earnings, as well as in the scale of UPM’s pulp business. At the same time, all our businesses continued developing product innovations beyond fossils. Biochemicals and biofuels businesses are at the forefront of this development.

In 2019, our business performance continued at a good level despite the slowing economic growth. We were able to maintain stable margins throughout the year and achieved a record-strong cash flow. This was a good achievement given the erosion of our product prices during the second half of the year.

Our 2019 sales decreased by 2% and comparable EBIT fell by 7%. Our operating cash flow increased by more than half a billion euros to EUR 1,847 million and we finished the year with a record-low negative net debt of EUR -453 million. I would like to sincerely thank all UPMers for making 2019 a success.

In the fourth quarter of the year our sales decreased by 10%, mainly due to the fall in pulp sales prices and graphic paper deliveries. Margins and profits remained at the level of the two previous quarters, but comparable EBIT decreased by 15% from Q4 in the previous year. We achieved a new quarterly record with an operating cash flow of EUR 592 million.

UPM Biorefining continued to experience good customer demand for pulp, renewable biofuels and timber. However, its earnings were affected by substantially lower pulp prices, as expected. The best performer of this business area was UPM Biofuels. Lappeenranta Biorefinery, which has been important in breaking new ground for UPM, celebrated five years of commercial production at the beginning of 2020.

UPM Communication Papers had an excellent quarter and enjoyed a sweet spot of stable contract prices and decreased variable costs. However, the slow economic environment in 2019 impacted the demand for paper, which declined faster than in previous years.

To adjust to customer demand, UPM reduced its graphic paper capacity by 620,000 tonnes during the second half of the year through closures at UPM Plattling, Germany, and UPM Rauma, Finland, and through the conversion at UPM Nordland, Germany. At UPM Chapelle, France, there are ongoing sales and employee consultation processes concerning a potential further reduction of 240,000 tonnes of newsprint.

Despite the decline in demand, the graphic paper market continues to have significant volumes. We are committed to profitable business and will serve our customers from our most competitive units and geographies. Our track record in managing our own operations is strong. However, the competitiveness of the operating environment is also decisive.

Customer demand for UPM Specialty Papers was good. The business achieved record comparable EBIT, supported by lower input costs and several initiatives on fixed costs. The release liner capacity expansion at UPM Changshu, China, started production ahead of schedule in December, and the conversion of PM2 to release liner at UPM Nordland is currently ramping up.

UPM Energy delivered strong earnings supported by improved hydropower generation. For UPM Raflatac, the fourth quarter saw good margin management and record cash flow. However, UPM Plywood ended the year on a negative note with weakening demand, declining prices and industrial action in December.

In January we announced our commitment to the United Nations Global Compact’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C. UPM has a unique opportunity to make a positive impact and contribute to limiting the climate change. We innovate climate-positive products and turn them into growing businesses. Furthermore, we will limit risks from climate mitigation policies and physical impacts of changing climate. This is important for the long-term value of the company.

We have many things to look forward to in 2020. We have exciting transformative projects either in progress or in planning, which will drive the company’s future earnings and value. In Uruguay, our project for the new world-class pulp mill is proceeding as planned. Last week, UPM and Andritz Group signed a preliminary agreement under which Andritz is to supply us with energy-efficient and environmentally leading pulp-production technologies.

UPM’s financial position is exceptionally strong, which enables us to make these opportunities real. At the same time, we are in a position to pay an attractive dividend to our shareholders.

UPM’s Board of Directors has today proposed a dividend of EUR 1.30 (1.30) per share for 2019, representing 38% of operating cash flow per share. The proposal reflects UPM’s exceptional financial position and confidence in future cash generation.

Outlook for 2020

Global economic growth is expected to continue in 2020, albeit at a modest level. Growth is expected to be slow in Europe. Potential intensification or easing of trade tensions between major economic areas cause uncertainty to the business environment. These issues may impact UPM’s product and raw material markets in 2020.

In 2020, robust demand is expected to continue for most UPM businesses, whereas demand decline is expected to continue for UPM Communication Papers.

In the beginning of the year 2020, paper prices are expected to decrease moderately, compared with Q4 2019. Pulp prices are starting the year 2020 at a low level, after the decreases that took place throughout the year 2019.

UPM will continue its actions to reduce fixed and variable costs. In 2020, the intensifying phase of UPM’s transformative growth projects is expected to add project-related costs to the fixed costs.

UPM’s comparable EBIT in H1 2020 is expected to be significantly lower than in H1 2019, due to lower sales prices, partly offset by decreases in variable costs. Comparable EBIT is expected to recover in H2 2020.

Invitation to UPM’s webcast and press conference on Financial Statements for the year 2019

UPM's President and CEO Jussi Pesonen will present the financial results in a webcast and a conference call for analysts and investors, held in English language, on 30 January 2019 at 13:15 EET.

Later in the afternoon, Pesonen will present the results in a press conference held in Finnish language at the UPM Group Head Office (The Biofore House) in Helsinki, Alvar Aallon katu 1, at 14:30 EET.

Webcast and conference call details:

The conference call can be participated in either by dialling a number in the list below or following the webcast online at www.upm.com or through this link.

Only participants who wish to ask questions in the conference call need to dial in. All participants can view the webcast presentation online. We recommend that participants start dialling in 5-10 minutes prior to ensure a timely start of the webcast.

The presentation is available at www.upm.com for 12 months after the call.

Conference call title: Financial Statement Release for the year 2019

International telephone numbers with a pin code 76190544#

AU: +61 284 058 549
AT: +43 192 879 07
BE: +32 240 358 14
CH: +41 225 809 034
DE: +49 691 380 3430
DK: +45 354 455 77
ES: +34 935 472 900
FI: +358 981 710 310
FR: +33 170 750 711
HK: +852 306 002 25
IN: +91 227 127 9610
IR: +353 143 112 52
IT: +39 023 601 3821
JP: +81 344 556 492
NL: +31 207 095 189
NO: +47 235 002 43
SE: +46 856 642 651
SP: +65 642 983 49
UK: +44 333 300 0804
US: +1 855 857 0686


It should be noted that certain statements herein, which are not historical facts, including, without limitation, those regarding expectations for market growth and developments; expectations for growth and profitability; and statements preceded by "believes", "expects", "anticipates", "foresees", or similar expressions, are forward-looking statements. Since these statements are based on current plans, estimates and projections, they involve risks and uncertainties which may cause actual results to materially differ from those expressed in such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: (1) operating factors such as continued success of manufacturing activities and the achievement of efficiencies therein including the availability and cost of production inputs, continued success of product development, acceptance of new products or services by the Group's targeted customers, success of the existing and future collaboration arrangements, changes in business strategy or development plans or targets, changes in the degree of protection created by the Group's patents and other intellectual property rights, the availability of capital on acceptable terms; (2) industry conditions, such as strength of product demand, intensity of competition, prevailing and future global market prices for the Group's products and the pricing pressures thereto, financial condition of the customers and the competitors of the Group, the potential introduction of competing products and technologies by competitors; and (3) general economic conditions, such as rates of economic growth in the Group's principal geographic markets or fluctuations in exchange and interest rates. The main earnings sensitivities and the group’s cost structure are presented on pages 135–136 of the 2018 Annual Report. Risks and opportunities are discussed on pages 30–31 and risks and risk management are presented on pages 106–109 of the report.


UPM-Kymmene Corporation
Pirkko Harrela
Executive Vice President, Stakeholder Relations

UPM, Media Relations
Mon-Fri 9:00-16:00 EET
tel. +358 40 588 3284

We deliver renewable and responsible solutions and innovate for a future beyond fossils across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Communication Papers and UPM Plywood. We employ around 19,000 people worldwide and our annual sales are approximately EUR 10.5 billion. Our shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. UPM Biofore – Beyond fossils. www.upm.com

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UPM presents certain measures of performance, financial position and cash flows, which are alternative performance measures in accordance with the guidance issued by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). The definitions of alternative performance measures are presented in notes to the consolidated financial statements in UPM annual report.