We are living in exceptional times as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Hygiene has become increasingly important and this is directly reflected in Metsä Tissue’s business. Demand for tissue papers – toilet paper and hand towels in particular – increased very quickly throughout March.
The movement of people has been restricted in several countries to prevent COVID-19 from spreading and because more people are staying at home, the focus on tissue business increases for consumer products. However, the demand for hand towels has also increased strongly. A high-quality paper towel is a hygienic way to dry hands after washing, as the mechanical rubbing removes bacteria and viruses effectively from the hands and the paper can then be hygienically disposed of afterwards.
As a result of the COVID-19 situation, the delivery volumes to our customers increased significantly, but so far, this special situation has not significantly affected our production or ability to deliver. Our customers have also been very understanding where we have not been able to deliver all listed products and have agreed to replace some items with a close substitute. We are planning the ongoing continuity of our operations on a daily basis so that we can continue to deliver products to our customers reliably. The most important things in our continuity planning are the safety of our personnel and product safety and quality. To continue to maximise the delivery capacity of our mills, we will continue to analyse our most effective production processes, which may result in further narrowing our offering in the near future.
The exceptional situation has also posed some challenges to raw material supply. The availability of high-quality recycled fibre has been a challenge for some time, and will continue to be so at least for the immediate future, because paper is not being used in offices and schools, and the news is largely being read digitally. At Metsä Tissue we use both fresh fibres, recycled fibres or a combination of both in our products. In recent years, around half the fibre we use has been fresh fibre, most of which comes from the mills of Metsä Group, our parent company. In the future, we will increasingly focus on fresh fibre-based products. Our company has a steady financial position and a strong background as part of Metsä Group. This guarantees that our fresh fibre raw material supply is secured even in challenging market situations.
With our employees, subcontractors and suppliers, we are striving to ensure the continuity of our business operations as planned, and we are doing everything we can to minimise the negative impacts of these exceptional circumstances on our customers.