Brazil’s Suzano posts quarterly profit fall, switches CEO after 11 years

By Thomson Reuters Feb 28, 2024 | 5:42 PM

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian pulp maker Suzano posted on Wednesday a 39% fall in its fourth quarter net profit from a year earlier as lower pulp prices hit its revenue, while the company also announced its first CEO change in more than a decade.

Suzano posted 4.52 billion reais ($908.94 million) net profit in the quarter ended in December, above analysts’ expectations of 2.85 billion reais profit, though it was not clear if the numbers are comparable.

Its net revenue fell 28% in the period year-on-year to 10.4 billion reais, with pulp sales stable in volume, but prices down 31%.

Still, Suzano said it saw a material improvement in market sentiment, especially in the second half of the year, after what it called a “challenging first semester marked by the drop in pulp prices.”

Suzano has been raising prices in the past several months, with the latest hike, to be implemented in March, announced this week.

Compared to the third quarter, the firm’s net revenue rose 16%.

Suzano’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came in at 4.51 billion reais in the quarter, down 45% from the same quarter a year earlier.

Separately, the firm also announced that its board approved Joao Alberto Fernandez de Abreu, current head of rail operator Rumo, as its new CEO, replacing Walter Schalka, who has led Suzano for 11 years and will be appointed to its board.

The company did not say why it had decided to recruit a new chief executive.

A succession process will begin in April, and Schalka will leave the role on July 1, Suzano said in a securities filing.

Rumo said in a filing that Pedro Marcus Lira Palma was appointed as its new CEO.

($1 = 4.9728 reais)

(Reporting by Andre Romani; Editing by Steven Grattan and Sonali Paul)