Further published January-September 2021 trading figures were also highly encouraging. The company’s orders grew by 44% to €4,111 million (€2,846 million), sales totalled €2,958 million (€2,920 million), and Metso Outotec’s operating profit over the nine months was €295 million, or 10% of sales (€209 million, or 7.2% in Jan-Sep 2020).
Commenting on the new trading results, Metso Outotec president and CEO Pekka Vauramo said: “The market activity continued to be strong across our businesses during the third quarter, resulting in a record-high order intake. All three of our segments saw strong demand for our Planet Positive product portfolio, which is designed to help customers improve the sustainability of their operations. We also saw improvement in our aftermarket businesses, as customers’ utilisation rates remain high and a gradual easing of the pandemic-related restrictions support productivity investments, such as rebuilds and modernisations.
“The aggregates market saw normal seasonality compared to the second quarter, but the market activity during this low season has been higher compared to previous years. Our orders received totalled €1,649 million, which is more than two times higher compared to the same quarter in 2020. The order growth was supported by large orders booked in the Minerals and Metals segments.”
Vauramo said Metso Outotec sales grew slower than orders due to the company’s backlog consisting of longer lead-time equipment orders and supply chain and logistics constraints. He noted that Metso Outotec continues to focus on mitigating these challenges and improving its delivery capabilities.
“Our quarterly result was good, and all our segments were able to improve their profitability, resulting in an increase of the Group’s adjusted EBITA margin to 13.6%, compared to 11.6% a year ago. The improvement is largely thanks to realised synergies and actions related to our footprint and pricing. In addition to the adjusted EBITA, our cash flow from operations has been strong at €172 million in the third quarter and €444 million during the nine months.”
Metso Outotec’s integration has continued to proceed ahead of plan. As of the end of September, the company had achieved a run-rate of €116 million in cost synergies. The business is confident that its target of €120 million will be delivered by year-end.
Vauramo added: “We continue to make progress in sustainability, which is a strategic priority. The latest IPCC report calls for faster action to ensure that global warming is limited to 1.5°C. Accordingly, we have updated our target for reducing emissions in our operations. Our updated target is to achieve a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2024 and achieve net-zero by 2030. This compares to the previous target of a 50% reduction in own CO2 emissions by 2030.
"We are making good progress in cutting our emissions, as several of our sites have already switched to renewable energy. We are continuously taking action and making investments to reduce energy use on our sites. Also central to our sustainability efforts is our Planet Positive product portfolio, consisting of about 100 products that are demonstrably more energy, carbon, or water-efficient than the market standard or help achieve other sustainability priorities for customers such as circularity. Demand for Planet Positive products has lately been growing faster than the market. We expect this growth to continue, and we aim to develop our portfolio to have a Planet Positive product offer for every part of the process.”
Local and regional COVID-19-linked restrictions and lockdowns continue limiting Metso Outotec’s access to customer sites; despite the gradual easing of restrictions, there are still challenges related mainly to international travel. Vauramo stated that these are apt to slow down decision-making and overall cooperation with customers. Metso Outotec’s operations have been running without any significant disruptions.
Metso Outotec expects market activity to remain at the current strong level, subject to the development of the Covid-19 pandemic.