During his review at Metso Corporation's Annual General Meeting, President and CEO Tor Bergman stated that in the next few years, improved profitability will be more important to Metso than growth. However, Metso also targets healthy, profitable growth through the Metso Future Care business concept and by developing new businesses.
Metso Minerals continues measures to fully utilize the targeted synergy benefits and to release working capital. Metso Paper will transfer into its renewed operating model by the end of the second quarter. Metso Automation's business has been refocused to support other core business areas. In addition, Metso will improve its profitability through efficiently utilizing internal synergies within and between its businesses.
Metso continues actions to reduce gearing by disposing of non-core assets and operations and releasing working capital.
With regard to the short term outlook, Mr. Bergman noted that Metso's operating environment is expected to continue challenging. The crisis in Iraq and the general uncertainty in the market environment have increased uncertainty.
Despite the challenging market situation Metso's order backlog has improved from the year-end to close to 2 billion euros. The delivery volumes in the beginning of the year have remained at a low level partially also due to seasonality. As a result, the net sales of the first quarter totalled approximately 1 billion euros. The deliveries and consequently the results of the operations are this year expected to be weighted towards the following three quarters. Metso remains confident that its strengthened order backlog and actions taken to streamline the cost structure create a basis for improved full year profitability in 2003.
Metso Corporation is a global supplier of process industry machinery and systems, as well as know-how and aftermarket services. The corporation's core businesses are fiber and paper technology (Metso Paper), rock and mineral processing (Metso Minerals) and automation and control technology (Metso Automation). In 2002, the net sales of Metso Corporation were EUR 4.7 billion and the personnel totaled approximately 28,500. Metso Corporation is listed on the Helsinki and New York Stock Exchanges.