Moelven earned NOK 420 million from operations in 2017. This is an earnings improvement of NOK 125 million compared with the previous year. Operating revenue for the full year rose by 4.5 per cent to NOK 10,768 million.
For Moelven, 2017 was a year in which the positive development from 2016 continued. Internally, we have continued to improve underlying operations and, externally, we have benefited from good market conditions.
The restructuring work we started in 2014 has produced results. During the last year, we have reduced our net interest-bearing debt and increased our equityratio to 41.5 per cent. The return on capital employed (ROCE) is now at 14.2 per cent. All of this is well within the target we set ourselves in 2014. It gives a good basis for being able to provide our owners with a good return on investment over time.
The improvement and restructuring measures aimed at achieving our long-term goals will continue in 2018 as well.
Efforts aimed at reducing injuries have been given high priority for several years. When one looks at Moelven’s progress on HSE, the figures tell us two things. The number of reports of hazardous situations and near accidents has risen in the last year. This shows there is a greater focus on HSE. However, there are still far too many injuries at Moelven, and the development during 2017 has not been satisfactory.
We are more than 3,500 employees and all of us should “come home safe”. We have a shared responsibility here, and the effort to reduce injuries will be important in the time to come.
How have Moelven’s divisions done in 2017?
All three of Moelven’s divisions have shown clear improvements in profitability, despite the fact that they operate in different markets that are impacted differently by economic cycles.
The improvement work in the Timber division continued in 2017. The main tasks involve primarily developing and improving its competitiveness in the global markets. During the year, it has been pleasing to see the improvements in profitability that have taken place, amongst others at Moelven Dalaträ AB and at Moelven Årjäng Såg AB.
The Wood division continues to benefit from a growing market for building materials. In particular, there is an increase in the demand for products that require minimal processing after assembly.
Moelven Vänerply AB is Scandinavia’s only plywood producer, and is another company in the Wood division with a positive development. We have invested more than NOK 100 million in modernising its machinery since we acquired the company in 2011. The investments has increased capacity and productivity, which in turn has produced a good return. In order to further improve the technical standard and increase the share of prefabricated products, additional investments will be made.
Moelven’s Building Systems division is experiencing a higher level of activity, especially within Modular Buildings and Laminated Timber.
The glulam-technology, which took off 30 years ago in connection with the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer in 1994, has been a great journey so far. Since the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, we have developed technology that has taken us from the Vikingship arena to the construction of Gardermoen international airport and onwards, via innumerable wooden bridges, to the “Treet” apartment block in Bergen and now the world’s tallest wooden building, “Mjøstårnet” in Brumunddal.
At just above 80 metres tall, “Mjøstårnet” will be an international landmark building. Moelven is proving that the high rises of the future can be built of wood. We are very proud of this. The building and technology are being noticed far beyond the borders of Norway and the Nordic region.
What does the future look like for Moelven?
Sustainability and the environment are gaining more attention in society. Wood and its characteristics are often emphasized in order to meet both public requirements and, not least, end-users’ expectations for environmentally friendly products. This contributes to an increase in the demand for wood products.
With solid, well-run operating units and a positive market development with a focus on sustainable business, we believe that Moelven is facing a positive future.
We must continue our internal improvements for increased efficiency and profitability, but ensure that we deliver products and solutions that are sought in the market. We must continue to focus on quality and reliability and further develop our competitive edge.
Technology brings Moelven into Industry 4.0 - the fourth industrial revolution. The development is fast and provides exciting opportunities for the Group. “The smart digital sawmill” is a two-year project at our largest sawmill, Moelven Valåsen AB. The purpose is to use technology that enables increased yield and increased capacity by reducing the number of production stops and reducing energy consumption. We are looking forward to following the project and the results in the year to come.
The technological development has also been implemented, among other things, by increasing the level of robotization in the production of modules. At Moelven Byggmodul AB in Säffle, a new production line has been built with a high degree of robotization. The production line has contributed to an increase in capacity of 80%. This has meant that the need for employees by the way has increased, and in total we have created 40 new jobs. We are now well in the process of transferring experience and knowledge to other units in Moelven.
We must also be more forward-thinking in the way we work. For example, we must be better at thinking holistically, also regarding the working careers of our employees. We are now entering a time when continuous learning will be a natural part of the job. Global changes affect us faster than before. This means that in the future, skills must be learned, unlearned and learned again several times.
Internally, we have developed education programs for our employees so that they can further develop the skills they possess. The digitization of the value chain continues, and places great demands on new skills. In order to meet the future need of skilled personnel resources, we have also established our own trainee programme. We strongly believe in this. We notice that more and more people want to work in Moelven. our employees so that they can further develop the skills they possess.
Our industry is forward-looking, and with framework conditions in line with those of our international competitors, we will be well-equipped for the future. The infrastructure is of great importance to our business. Looking at our colleagues in Sweden, they have better framework conditions regarding infrastructure than we have in Norway. If the domestic industry is to be a driver for Norway in the future, a cost-effective infrastructure must be facilitated.
We will continue to focus on continuous operational improvements. If our in-house work is successful and we seize opportunities in the market, then we will have a good starting point for the future.
Moelven Industrier AS