In Metso Corporation's Annual General Meeting, which will take place today, starting at 2 p.m. local time, President and CEO Jorma Eloranta will estimate in his review that Metso's net sales for January-March 2004, taking into account the divestitures completed, will remain approximately at the same level as during the corresponding period last year. Metso's profitability performance has not yet in the first quarter of 2004 shown improvement. The demand for Metso's products has remained at the previous year's level with the exception of Metso Minerals, where in line with previous estimates the demand in North America and for mining products has recovered from the previous year.
"Together with the Board of Directors of Metso Corporation, to be elected by the Annual General Meeting today, we will continue the work to improve the Corporation's profitability. We will inform about the progress during the year and as decisions are made," Eloranta says. "Already now it is evident that we must intensify our customer interaction. Metso has significant know-how, which should be developed in a dynamic cooperation with the customers by listening to their views and needs."
The focus of the practical implementation of Metso's efficiency improvement program, announced in June 2003, is on 2004. The program will, to a large extent, be concluded during the first half of 2004.
"Operational efficiency, cost awareness and the ability to react rapidly to the changes in the operating environment with new and innovative solutions will become a constant, inseparable part of our work," Eloranta reminds. "We will develop our management system to support this operating model."
"Our goal for 2004-2005 is to build Metso a solid foundation for development. In 2004, the primary focus in managing the Corporation will be on the decisive implementation of the efficiency improvement actions and on other measures to improve the profitability and strengthen the balance sheet."
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 2003, the net sales of Metso Corporation were EUR 4.3 billion. It has approximately 26,000 employees in 50 countries. Metso Corporation is listed on the Helsinki and New York Stock Exchanges.