UPM improves its outlook for 2021. Comparable EBIT is now expected to increase both in H1 2021 compared with H1 2020, and in the full year 2021 compared with 2020. Earlier, the company expected its comparable EBIT in H1 2021 to be lower than in H1 2020.
UPM’s comparable EBIT in Q1 2021 was EUR 279 million, in line with Q1 2020. Pulp demand has continued to be good and pulp prices have increased faster than expected. At the same time, strong markets have continued for labelling materials, specialty papers and energy. Demand and pricing for communication papers have materialised as expected, decreasing from the comparison periods.
UPM has also rescheduled the maintenance shutdown at the UPM Kymi pulp mill from Q2 to Q4 2021. The maintenance shutdowns at the UPM Fray Bentos pulp mill and at the Olkiluoto power plant will be carried out in Q2 2021, as planned.
UPM is currently in its pre-result silent period. The company will publish its Interim Report Q1 2021 on 27 April 2021.
For reference, the previous outlook for 2021 (published on 28 January 2021):
“The global economy is expected to start recovering in 2021 from the deep downturn experienced in 2020. World regions will progress at different pace, and China is leading this development. Demand for most UPM products is influenced by overall economic activity and hence, depends on the shape and rate of the economic recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant uncertainty in 2021. In 2020, lockdowns had a significant negative impact on graphic paper demand but supported the strong demand for self-adhesive labelling materials and specialty papers. Opening of the economies is likely to allow for some normalisation of these demand impacts. However, further waves of the pandemic and related lockdowns remain possible.
In the beginning of 2021, pulp prices are expected to increase compared with Q4 2020. Paper prices are expected to decrease moderately, compared with Q4 2020.
UPM will continue to implement measures to decrease fixed and variable costs.
UPM’s comparable EBIT in H1 2021 is expected to be lower than in H1 2020, due to lower paper prices and higher maintenance activity. Comparable EBIT is expected to recover in H2 2021.”