From the CEO
April 29, 2020
OUR FUTURE PLANS WILL GET US THROUGH THE PANDEMIC
2020 began with low net sales and a negative result. Our net sales declined on the comparison period as expected and significantly due to the timing of our order book.
Net sales fell and the operating profit declined also due to the postpone of schedules for a few projects, for reasons attributable to the customers, and due to the coronavirus pandemic, which caused the several weeks long shutdown of our Chinese plant and the travel restrictions affecting our field operations. Also the industrial action in Finland early on in the year caused difficulties for the carrying out of maintenance services. The impacts of the pandemic on our operations in the first quarter were limited, but not insignificant.
Regardless of the increase in the uncertainty resulting from the coronavirus, we succeeded in achieving a relatively good order intake and our order book remained strong. The majority of the orders we received came from projects that had been negotiated long before the coronavirus pandemic escalated into a global crisis and from there into a rapid deceleration of the economy. The starting up of our customers' investment projects indicates that they consider the impacts of the pandemic on their business to be limited and temporary, for now at least.
The escalation of the coronavirus epidemic, which had started in January, into a global pandemic has impacted and will continue to impact the global economy and our market situation to an extent and for a period of time that are currently difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Visibility, even into the near future of our business, is poor. Predicting the order intake is exceptionally difficult and our customers' investment decisions involve considerable uncertainty in terms of both implementation and timing. Risks related to the availability of components and assuring the flow of production have risen. Guaranteeing successful field operations is also especially difficult both when it comes to the installation and commissioning of project deliveries and maintenance operations. It is clear that we will not reach our targeted and previously predicted net sales and operating profit this year. We would like to repeat our estimate given on April 24th: our net sales will decline and operating profit will weaken clearly year-on-year.
In this situation, our strong balance sheet, market position and long-standing customer accounts are important competitive advantages and enablers of long-term work. We are doing our utmost to minimize the impacts of the unprecedented situation and continue our planned investments in product development, marketing and digitalization to ensure our success in the post-coronavirus world. We will succeed when our personnel, customers and other partners work together.
President and CEO