Commenting on the group’s results, Sappi Chief Executive Officer Steve Binnie said: “I am pleased with the steady recovery from the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. EBITDA continued to improve quarter-on-quarter from a low of US$26m in our third quarter of 2020 through US$98m in the previous quarter to US$112 for the current quarter, with further improvement expected for our third quarter.”
He continued: “The North American and South African regions recorded strong improvements in profitability. This was in contrast to Europe where extended lockdowns and restrictions on economic activity hindered the performance. COVID-19 also severely affected global shipping and container availability, which impacted sales volumes in a number of product categories. Our comprehensive COVID-19 action plan is fully entrenched in all of our operations and employee safety remains a top priority. The rate of employee and contractor infections reduced significantly during the quarter across all regions and as a consequence, there was minimal impact on mill operations.”
Looking forward, Binnie stated: “Given the favourable market conditions for DP and packaging and speciality papers, offset partially by the weak graphic paper demand and global logistical challenges, we expect the third quarter EBITDA to improve relative to the second quarter. However, earnings in the European business will be lower due to rising pulp costs.”
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