FINLAND & BALTICS
The business area includes the Group’s operations in Finland and the three Baltic States.
Compared with the fourth quarter of last year, net sales were 7 percent higher and amounted to SEK 546 M (510). The tonnage was in line with last year and higher average steel prices and mix effects contributed to the increase in sales. The operating result decreased to SEK 8 M (16) mainly due to a weaker development in the production business in Finland. Adjusted for inventory gains of SEK 1 M (4), the underlying operating result amounted to SEK 7 M (12).
The distribution business in Finland delivered an improved result compared to last year although the tonnage volume was at the same level. The production business in Finland showed higher net sales while volume, gross margin and profit were lower than last year due to temporarily increased production and material costs.
Net sales increased by 9 percent compared to last year, amounting to SEK 2,299 M (2,114). The operating result amounted to SEK 81 M (105) and, adjusted for inventory gains and losses, the underlying operating result decreased to SEK 68 M (89). The lower profitability is mainly due to the provision for an anticipated bad debt and adjustment of inventory in the Baltics of SEK -12 M that impacted the second quarter. The distribution business continued to be affected by the price pressure on thin sheets in the Finnish market, which had a negative effect on the gross margin. In addition to this, the production business in Finland had a weak ending of the year. Tonnage decreased by 1 percent compared with 2017.