Stora Enso struggles into profit, eyes China project

Finnish paper maker Stora Enso returned to profit in the second quarter, but the figures it reported on Friday were sharply down on a 12-month basis and fell short of analysts' expectations.

Stora Enso is suffering from falling demand from print media in Europe.

The company reported net profit for the second quarter of the year of 19 million euros ($25.0 million), showing a fall of 71.0 percent from the equivalent figure last year.

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a net profit of 44.0 million euros.

In the first quarter, the business had turned in a net loss of 17 million euros.

Chief executive Jouko Karvinen said: "The operating environment is not easy, but it has never been."

Sales were steady, slipping 0.1 percent to 2.717 billion euros.

In April, the company announced a plan to save 200 million euros, and it said on Friday that this was progressing as intended

Karvinen said that this was "crucial to guarantee our future."

Having decided to cut its capacity radically to produce paper for printing industries, the group decided in June to shed 2,500 jobs, mostly in Finland and Sweden.

Two months earlier it had decided to merge its forestry and paper operations while continuing to run the more profitable biomaterials and packaging operations separately.

The group said it wanted to accelerate its development in China after receiving Chinese approval to build two integrated pulp and board plants at Guangxi in the south of the country.

The value of the first phase, for a factory making packaging board, is put at 760 million euros.

The price of shares in the company was showing a gain of 0.91 percent in mid afternoon trading.