Financial information

CEO's comments on the Interim Report January 1-March 31, 2024 published May 3, 2024

Solid start for the year in Wood Processing and Services business units

We had a good start to the year with solid progress in project deliveries supported by our all-time high order book. However, the market environment remained uncertain as many of our customers were in a wait-and-see mode in relation to making firm investment decisions.

In the first quarter, comparable EBITDA developed in line with our expectations and was EUR 3.0 million, representing a margin of 6.7%. The result indicates improved efficiency of the underlying operations while considering that the comparison figure was positively impacted by the release of provisions related to the wind-down of the Russian operations.

I am particularly pleased with the performance of the Services business unit, where we have also developed a concept for performance-based maintenance offering. In the first quarter, we announced an agreement with Paged Group of Estonia. It is an excellent example of this concept, where we take full maintenance responsibility for the customer’s production machinery, including spare parts, small upgrades, and process improvement work, to support the customer in ensuring optimized production.

The Wood Processing business also improved its performance by making good progress in the project deliveries of the mill-sized orders won last year. Meanwhile, Analyzers had a disappointing quarter due to the timing and delays of some deliveries. On the Group level, our costs were at a more normalized level after being elevated in the last quarter of 2023.

The political strikes in Finland had an impact on the operations of our main production site in Lahti. With good preparations we were able to mitigate the impacts of the strikes for the most part. However, there still was some negative impact on net sales and profitability.

Order intake in the first quarter was rather modest, excluding the mill-sized order received from Latvia’s AmberBirch, and mainly consisted of service and modernization projects. Nevertheless, we can be very happy to have received yet another complete mill-sized order. This continues to demonstrate our strong offering and the continuous customer interest in these solutions over the business cycle, driven by sustainability needs.

Given our nearly record-high order book, we are in a good position to continue implementing Raute’s growth strategy. We believe that Raute has a unique opportunity to capture new business opportunities in engineered wood product segments by combining our offering into innovative production solutions, powered by data and digital tools. In line with our newly announced values, we aim to Show the Way - Drive Change for positive development in our industry together with our customers. We will do this together as one team with our dedicated and skilled personnel.

Mika Saariaho
President and CEO