Essity, the world's second-biggest maker of consumer tissue paper, surprised on the upside on Friday, reporting a rise in third-quarter profit back to pre-pandemic levels.
Essity - whose products include toilet paper and paper handkerchiefs with brands such as Lotus, Edet, Tempo and Vinda - said an easing of pandemic restrictions and growing consumer awareness of the importance of hygiene helped boost profit.
Shares in the Swedish company were up 6% in early trade.
The rival to Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark raised prices in the quarter and said it was planning for further increases to offset upcoming higher costs for raw materials, energy and distribution.
It reported an operating profit of SEK 3.9 billion ($451 million) for July-September, up from SEK 3.8 billion a year earlier.
Sales rose 9% in the quarter, with organic sales increasing 7%, it said.
Analysts polled by Refinitiv had on average estimated a profit of SEK 3.4 billion.
'Sales were positively impacted by more favourable market conditions and growing awareness of the importance of hygiene and health,' Essity said in a statement.
Compared with the pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019, profit was unchanged while organic sales were up 2%.
Essity, which is also the global leader in hygiene products for businesses under the Tork brand and in incontinence products with TENA, announced a net sales growth target of more than 5%. Its previous target was for organic sales growth of more than 3%.
In April, Essity said that its first-quarter profits fell by a third due to lockdown measures, but the group added that it is expecting vaccination programmes to boost demand this year, particularly from business customers.