Interim Report January-March 2012
The beginning of 2012 was significantly more stable than the end of 2011 from the perspective of a pulp supplier. Strong deliveries to China, which started before and continued after the turn of the year, have altered the momentum of the global pulp market. The price falls have been transformed into an upturn. Demand has primarily been for short-fibre chemical pulp, as the price fell too low and there was a very significant price difference in relation to long-fibre pulp; more than USD 200 per tonne compared with the normal historical difference of USD 50-100 per tonne. The PIX Europe price index for short-fibre pulp rose by over USD 100 per tonne in 2012, while the index for long-fibre pulp rose by just over USD 10 per tonne, which means that the price difference is now normal. The Swedish krona strengthened in relation to the US dollar during the first quarter of the year, so that the PIX index in Swedish kronor is now lower than it was at the turn of the year. However, there is momentum in the market. All of the major market pulp suppliers announced price increases for both March and yet again for April so that the list price in Europe now amounts to USD 870 per tonne for long-fibre chemical pulp. These price increases will gradually have an impact during the spring; this combined with falling pulpwood prices will mean that our margins will improve once again. Our operational surplus for the quarter was SEK 10 million and our operating loss after depreciations was SEK -3 million.
It finally looks as though CTMP prices will follow chemical pulp prices upwards. Three price increases have already been made this year in Asia, albeit from a low level. In the course of the significant price rise for chemical pulp following the global financial crisis in 2008/09, CTMP prices became entrenched at a low level, with an ensuing negative impact for both the Canadian and Nordic forestry industry, which persisted until 2012. We are now seeing a high demand for primarily long-fibre CTMP for the packaging sector in Asia, where this pulp’s unique combination of properties makes it possible to manufacture packaging that is both rigid and light. Better demand including improved sales prices combined with low timber and electrical energy prices mean that the low margins will now improve.
Despite the improving position for both of our two main products, a shadow is being cast over an old and proud Rottneros product, namely groundwood pulp. We are the last remaining supplier of bleached fine groundwood pulp and have therefore been able to retain a good price level. However, non-integrated groundwood pulp customers in the tough and vulnerable printing paper sector are losing both volume and market shares and are increasingly being forced to discontinue this paper production. We are still hoping for renewed opportunities in Japan where groundwood pulp is traditionally used for thin printing paper. We are also attempting to offer the board market an extremely high bulk pulp to keep the cost of board to a minimum without impairing the stiffness of the product.
President and CEO
(For full report, see attached file)
Rottneros, a company that was originally established in the 1600s, is an independent and flexible supplier of customised paper pulp of high quality. Rottneros has been able to adapt in order to meet high customer expectations by continually developing its products and maintaining high levels of delivery reliability, technical support and service.
Rottneros has an annual production capacity of almost 400,000 tonnes of pulp at two mills in Sweden. Increasingly intensive product development in line with the requirements of customers will result in profitability that is higher and more stable throughout the business cycle.
Rottneros AB (publ)
Box 70 370, SE-107 24 Stockholm, Sweden
Visiting address: World Trade Centre, Kungsbron 1, C6, Stockholm, Sweden
Telephone +46 8-590 010 00, Fax +46 8-590 010 01