Metso Q1 orders up despite COVID-19 pandemic

Finnish quarrying equipment giant Metso saw its orders increase by 5% to €1.065bn in the first quarter of this year – despite company trading being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crushing Static & Mobile / May 7, 2020
By Guy Woodford
Metso CEO and president Pekka Vauramo
Metso CEO and president Pekka Vauramo

Sales were unchanged year-on-year at €832mn, adjusted EBITDA was €91mnm, while the company's operating profit was €91mn or 8.8% of sales.

Commenting on the Q1 2020 figures and Metso's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, company president and CEO Pekka Vauramo said: "We had a positive start to the year, but as the Covid-19 situation started to escalate, our focus turned to the safety and well-being of our personnel, customers and business partners. During these challenging times, we have been ensuring the continuity of Metso's and its customers' operations by leveraging the flexibility of our global presence and supply chain. Our earlier investments in digital and IT platforms have enabled us to introduce real-time information sharing and dialogue with our customers and partners while facilitating fast internal decision-making."

Vauramo said that the impact of COVID-19 on the company's financial performance was still relatively limited during the first quarter. In February, Metso's operations in China were impacted by lockdowns, which had some impact on sales and results during the month. The firm's Chinese business has restarted successfully and has been running at a standard capacity since early March.

He continued: "More material implications have resulted from the containment measures that have been quickly enforced around the world since mid-March. The aggregates equipment business has seen the most rapid decline in demand, whereas the mining equipment market has been stable. The services business has been affected by the restrictions relating to travel and workforce mobility that have prevented our experts from carrying out service at customer sites. Our operations have been affected by lockdowns imposed by authorities in some countries.

"We have been actively controlling our costs and preserving our cash flow and financial position. In preparation for the upcoming demerger, we have had strong cost control in place since the second half of 2019. Since the escalation of the Covid-19 situation, we have imposed cuts on discretionary spend across the organization. In addition, we have introduced temporary savings affecting our personnel, such as the reduction of worktime or compensation, and the Metso Executive Team also agreed to lower their own compensation, all effective from April. Metso's financial position continues to be good, and we have further increased our funding facilities available to help us navigate through this challenging situation."

Despite what Vauramo said had been "exceptional circumstances", he noted than Metso had made good progress in the creation of the new Metso Outotec company, and the Neles transaction.

"There are some approvals from competition authorities still pending, but we are working to obtain them so that we could close the transaction in line with the previously disclosed estimate of 30 June 2020," Vauramo concluded.

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