Nordic paper maker Stora Enso sees lower third-quarter sales as demand declines in Europe

HELSINKI – Nordic paper maker Stora Enso reported Tuesday a 6 per cent drop in third-quarter sales and predicted business will remain tough as it continues to be hit by the declining market, especially in Europe.

The company’s share price fell, closing down 3.5 per cent at 6.68 euros on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.

Although sales fell to 2.5 billion euros ($3.4 billion), lower costs helped Stora improve net profit slightly, to 84 million euros from 81 million euros a year earlier.

The company said it was on track to achieve fixed annual savings of 200 million euros by the second quarter of 2014 by streamlining operations that could result in 2,500 layoffs worldwide.

CEO Jouko Karvinen said it was “more important than ever” to save on fixed costs and embark on new projects “in a focused and responsible manner.”

The company gave a grim outlook, saying that weak demand would continue and that its fourth-quarter operating earnings will be “clearly lower” than in the same period in 2012.