2017年は、業績結果が好転した1年となりました。2017 was the first year of satisfactory financial performance after a sustained period of weak results. So, it marks an important turning point.
We intend to continue to expand the company. We started some 30 years ago with an initiative based on Pulp which has now been developed to seven internationally visible divisions in Pulp, Paper, Recycling, Packaging, Chemicals, Metals and Basic Chemicals. We are also trialing operations in Medical Devices, Biomass and Technology. Our risk management has been improved further and each division has now appointed Controllers to monitor our assets and our business with a forward-looking perspective but also generating conclusions from the past.
We are now able to continue our growth strategy through strategic acquisitions in our core divisions, add-ons of new teams or in companies that would fit our international presence. We have confirmation that our international platform, corporate culture and support functions can service additional products being marketed in many countries all over the world. We continue to look for people and companies with a proven track record that we can develop through our network of international offices.
We have also started a project to improve our efficiency in all aspects of the supply chain. We must continue to improve, evolve, digitalize and automate to remain relevant and competitive. As a specialized marketing and supply chain service company, we can play a large or small role for various producers or consumers to allow them to concentrate on what they do best. In this day and age of price transparency, it’s our global footprint, competence, efficiency and our human assets that benefits our business partners and streamlines and expedites their access to world markets.
During 2017 we invited an outside investor as owner of shares in CellMark. The reason is that since many of the original owners are entering a succession phase we need to secure that we have a stable professional owner that can help guide the company into the future. Ernström is a great fit and have agreed that CellMark should stay as a company controlled and managed by its employees. Ernström has also subscribed a preferential share which has strengthened the balance sheet and allowed for further expansion.
CellMark’s employees are at the center of the company’s success, and our corporate culture remains strong. One area I am proud of is the engagement in support of the PaperSeed Foundation. As a result, we can help the less fortunate obtain an education and break the cycle of poverty where they live.
CellMark would like to encourage our business partners and others to use PaperSeed as a vehicle to meet their own corporate social responsibility goals. PaperSeed welcomes new members to directly give back without have to set up their own nonprofit – if you chose to, you may join their board, share the impact you are making with your employees and visit their work firsthand.
We are proud to say that the ability of PaperSeed to change the lives of children has far exceeded our expectations.
As always, we are thankful to our employees, our customers and our suppliers for their ongoing support and hope that we have assisted you well in your day to day challenges.
Let’s enjoy 2018.