Falling demand for printing and writing papers as well as declining sales prices have negatively impacted Sequana's financial results in 2012, contributing to its losses. The specialty paper and non-paper segments performed well, the group said.
Despite positive sales revenues, Sequana was even deeper in the red in the 2012 financial year than the year before. Sales went down by 2.3% reaching €3.85bn while the operating result decreased from a loss of €3m in 2011 to a loss of €68m in 2012. The net result dropped by 35% year-on-year, down to €119m. This amount includes non-recurring expenses of €114m related to asset impairment and restructuring costs. The company was satisfied with its EBITDA which was stable at €134m compared to €135m in 2011.
Sequana attributed the drop in sales and results mainly to dwindling demand for printing and writing papers as well as downward pressure on sales prices for these products. The company said that volumes went down by 5% in 2012. On the other hand, the group benefited from a drop in raw material prices, especially for recovered paper and cotton, which is used for banknote paper production. Furthermore, Sequana was able to reduce its costs.
The company reported that demand for specialty papers, which are produced by the group's Arjowiggins subsidiary, had held firm and business in the non-paper segment as well as in emerging economies within the Antalis subsidiary had developed well, too.
Antalis' Packaging business grew in 2012 since the company took over the trading companies Ambassador in the UK, Pack 2000 in Germany, Abitek in Chile as well as Branopac in the Czech Republic. These measures are said to have contributed €53m to Antalis' sales which amounted to €2.70bn in 2012, down by 2.3% year-on-year. The subsidiary's EBITDA fell by 17.1% to €83m in the review period.
Arjowiggins posted slightly lower sales in 2012 at €1.42bn, down by 3.2%, but the company's EBITDA increased by 29% to €64m. In 2012, Arjowiggins closed its Dalum and Witcel plants in Denmark and Argentina; the closure of the Ivybridge plant in the UK is currently in progress.
Sequana expects demand for printing and writing paper to decline further during 2013 and anticipates falling sales revenues. However, the group's specialty paper, packaging products and visual communication material businesses should fare better, the company said.