For Koskisen Group, 2015 was largely similar to the previous year. The Group’s net sales totalled EUR 247 million, up 2.7% from 2014. The operating profit amounted to EUR 7,9 million, which is slightly weaker than in the previous year.
Plywood and Sawn Timber production made up 66% of the Group’s net sales. Total net sales of the parent company Koskitukki’s wood procurement was EUR 109 million, including intra-group sales. Exports accounted for 55% of the Group’s net sales and our products were delivered to 64 countries.
Overall, 2015 was a very mixed year: Plywood performed well, while the other business units saw their operations affected by weak domestic demand and a decline in the market prices of sawn softwood. However, the Finnish market price of softwood logs failed to flex correspondingly downward.
At the end of the year, the Group had 1,057 employees, of which 120 worked abroad. The Group’s employee satisfaction survey 2015 showed positive results: on a scale of 1–5, we received a score of 3.7, an improvement on the previous year.
Occupational safety was one of the main focus areas at Koskisen Group in 2015. The entire personnel and subcontractors were coached in an effort to improve their ability to make safety observations and develop safety issues. In 2015, the Incident density (serious incidents / million working hours) was 20.6, which leaves plenty of room for improvement.
Of the EUR 5 million invested during 2015, most was used for replacement and upgrade investments in the plywood mill and the sawmill. In addition, a number of system projects were launched.
In 2015, we defined Koskisen Group’s strategy 2020, which places a strong focus on both personnel and customer programmes in the next few years. We will continue to evolve as a versatile wood products expert, with the customer-oriented development of our products and services and value creation in all of our activities being top priorities in our renewal. Taking care of the well-being of employees and the environment in furthering business goals is at the heart of sustainable business operations.
Plywood operations benefited from rising prices and improved productivity in the use of raw material. Over the course of the autumn, Plywood hired 50 new employees to increase production. The objective is to ramp up production capacity by 15% this year.
Sawn Timber industry was burdened in particular by the decrease in global market prices and a decline in competitiveness, above all, with regard to Swedish and Russian competitors. Demand for spruce timber seemed to recover somewhat in the latter part of the year, with deliveries to China and Japan in particular being on the rise.
Domestic demand for chipboard continued to be weak and the low price level of imported board dumped market prices. The press problems that impeded production were resolved towards the end of the year.
Koskisen Houses continued to suffer from a historically low level of private house building starts (less than 5,000 houses 2015) in Finland. In the autumn, the Housing industry was forced to take the decision to reduce its personnel by 15 people. The new strategy, which is strongly focussed on professional building products, took shape over the course of the autumn. The factory’s capacity utilisation rate was high.
In Birch Products, demand for veneer and thin veneer plywood was steady, but the markets were fragmented and price competition was fierce. Demand for birch sawn timber varied according to product, and the best grades sold well.
Wood procurement succeeded fairly well and the sluggish supply of the autumn improved with the arrival of winter. Energy wood net sales fell short of the targets mainly due to the mild winter in Finland.
2015 turned out to be satisfactory. Although we fell slightly short of our
targets, we were able to avoid the worst-case scenarios by enhancing our
operations. General expectations of growth in domestic demand or the recovery
of the global economy are not high. Koskisen is nevertheless capable of
developing and growing its sales through a customer-oriented approach, high
quality products and successfully targeted investments in accordance with its