The slowdown in demand for pulp in Europe caused the group’s total revenues to fall by 18.2% in the first half of this year, a period during which investments almost doubled.
Altri recorded a profit of 28 million euros in the first half of this year, which represents a decrease of 59.8% compared to the 69.6 million presented in the same period of 2022.
In a press release, the group recalls that until June, the total turnover reached 426.6 million euros, or 18.2% less than in the same period last year, which he attributes “to a rapid negative evolution of hardwood pulp prices, a consequence of a decline in world prices”. demand for pulp, which ended up affecting the volumes sold as well”.
In the first half, sales fell by 10.8% in volume compared to the same period last year, due to “the destocking effect, a consequence of the global slowdown in pulp demand”, adds -he.
EBITDA reached 81.2 million euros, 37.9% less than a year ago.
Investment, meanwhile, almost doubled to reach 36.2 million euros in the first half, of which approximately 14.2 million euros related to the new biomass boiler at the Caima industrial unit.
“Given the sharp increase in investments (+92.5%), but also the distribution of a cash dividend, the net debt of the Altri group amounted to 401 million euros, which is equivalent to a net debt/EBITDA ratio of 1.6x,” writes the pulp. also mentions the producer, believing that this ratio allows him to “continue the effort to improve the efficiency and sustainability of industrial units, but also to seize the opportunities created by the bioeconomy”.
José Soares de Pina, CEO of Altri, points out in the message that accompanies the publication of the half-year results, that “we continue to witness the adjustment of the pulp and paper market: at the same time as we observe signs of recovery On the part of one of the world’s largest consumers, China, we are faced with a context of destocking and weak demand in Europe”. A process, he adds, which “leads to a recalibration between demand and supply, resulting in lower prices”.
The manager admits that this context obliges the group to “maintain a cautious posture” and to reinforce the optimization of operations. “We do this in two ways: by working to accelerate the downward trend in production costs, but also by adapting our production volumes to real market demand,” he underlines.
In terms of production costs, the CEO indicates that he will continue to work to maintain the downward trend in costs in the second half of 2023, namely the costs induced by wood, chemicals and energy, as well as the control of fixed costs.
In addition, he adds, “we hope to make further progress this year with a strengthening of electricity production thanks to the installation of photovoltaic electricity production units”.
“The investment in the Caima biomass boiler, which represents more than a third of the total investment of 36.2 million euros paid in the first six months of 2023 alone, allows us not only to reduce costs but also to move forward coherently in our commitment to eliminate fossil fuels”, specifies José Soares de Pina, specifying that the surplus electricity production of this asset will be sold to the public network.
Regarding the Gama project, for the production of sustainable fibers for the textile industry, in Galicia, the CEO only mentions that “we continue to work on several fronts in order to be able to make the final investment decision by the end of 2023 “.