Södra's operating profit for the first half of 2012 was SEK -203 million compared with SEK 577 million for the same period the previous year. Profit after net financial items was SEK -215 million. The corresponding figure for the previous year was SEK 573 million.
The first half of the year was characterised by weak economic development in the markets for Södra's products. Production in Södra's business sectors also declined as a result of the market stoppages that were implemented at the beginning of the year. The result was also impacted by one-off items.
The economic crisis in Europe is causing anxiety which is affecting all major markets for Södra's main products. The recession has had an adverse effect on European paper demand, in turn reducing demand for pulp. The consumption of wood products in Europe, meanwhile, has also remained at a very low level, while the interior products market, too, has been hit by the weak performance of the construction and the Swedish home renovation sectors.
"We expect to see our markets gradually growing stronger in the second half of the year. We have also implemented a series of measures to strengthen our earnings potential. As a result, we anticipate that the capacity utilisation at our pulp mills and sawmills will be normal. Despite this, the full-year financial result for 2012 is forecast to be significantly lower than in the last few years," said Gunilla Saltin, Acting CEO and President of Södra Cell.