UPM: better Q4 after “weak” year

1 February 2005 – Helsinki (FIN): UPM has reported improved in results in Q4, following what the company’s president/CEO Jussi Pesonen described as a "weak" 2004, largely on the back of low paper prices.

Net profit for the quarter was €444 million ($579 million), up from €120 million in last year’s Q4. Sales were at €2.423 billion, down from €2.449 billion in 2003.

Full year net profit was at €958 million, up from €319 million in 2003 and €500 million in 2002. Sales for the year were €9.820 billion, up from €9.787 billion in 2003, but down from €10.417 billion in 2002.

Pesonen said: "UPM’s results improved during the second half of last year. However the result was weak, although delivery volumes were good."

But on a more positive note, he said: "During the year UPM introduced a number of measures that will influence our profitability and future competitiveness. We embarked on restructurings and made several investments, and results from some of these will already be visible this year.

"The decline in paper prices came to an end in 2004," he added. "We expect profitability in 2005 to be better than for last year. The order inflow was stronger in January, and paper deliveries are forecast to grow further."