Finnish forestry firm Stora Enso posted on Wednesday a bigger-than-expected rise in its second-quarter operating profit and revenue aided by strong growth in biomaterials and wood.
The company said its full-year core result for 2021 remains on track to exceed last year's earnings.
The pulp, paper and cardboard maker said its operating profit rose to €364 million ($428.32 million) from €178 million a year ago, beating the €302.2 million estimate of nine analysts polled by Refinitiv.
"With profitable growth of over 28%, excluding paper, we once again prove the strength of our core businesses," chief executive Annika Bresky said in a statement.
Second Quarter Sales
Stora's second-quarter sales rose 22.6% to €2.59 billion, with its packaging materials unit up 20.2%, biomaterials 57% and wood products 37.7%.
The analysts had estimated the revenue to be €2.35 billion.
Operational EBIT increased to €364 million during the quarter, driven by higher prices and volumes, especially in biomaterials, wood products, and packaging materials. Operational EBIT excluding paper increased to €413 million.
Operational EBITDA for the period increased to €524 million, from €331 million in the same period last year, while EBITDA margin increased to 20.2 % from 15.7%.
The company said its Oulu mill, which was converted to make packaging cardboard instead of paper, had broken even in the third quarter, three quarters ahead of Stora's initial expectation.
The company added that the global economy is recovering strongly from the impact of the pandemic and demand for Stora Enso's products, except for graphic paper, continues to be very healthy.
The company's sales amounted to €4.9 billion in the first six months, up 12.7% compared to the same period last year.
Operational EBIT in this period increased by 93.6%, amounting to €692 million from €357 million in the same period last year.
Last month, the company announced plans to plant more than 48 million saplings in the Nordic forests in 2021.