Tornator’s risk management is aimed at securing profitable business in the long term and to create opportunities for well-managed risk taking using the selected strategy. It is based on the systematic identification and analysis of all significant risks to the company.
Tornator’s risks are divided into three main categories: strategic risks, operational risks and financial risks.
Fluctuation in timber demand is naturally a risk for a forestry company. Demand risk has decreased as the use of wood has increased and diversified, and many new innovations are still unknown. With new investments by the forest industry and as the importation of timber from Russia came to a halt, wood demand has increased in all countries in which Tornator operates. The company has also secured high demand for wood by certifying all of its forests.
The volatility of wood prices is a significant risk factor in terms of Tornator’s results. If prices fall, Tornator can temporarily increase the volume of cutting right sales or plot and forestland sales, or both. However, the goal is to follow a sustainable felling plan in order to optimise annual cash flows in the long run.
Risks concerning the quantity and quality of wood raw material are controlled through long-term forest resource management planning and focusing operations according to the structure and age-class distribution of the forests. In 2021, for the verification of growing stock growth, the company adopted the MOTTI Finnish forest growth model, developed by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), based on the latest research results. These models are used in the preparation of the longterm felling plan (longer than 30 years).
The change in the forest valuation method in Finland may lead to greater volatility in the change in forest value recognised in profit or loss. In the transaction-based method, fluctuations in the forestland market may be larger than in the previous model based on future cash flows.
Changes in current certification criteria may affect opportunities for forest use and cause a loss of income for Tornator, unless there is an agreement on full compensation. The Finnish Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has now redefined its national criteria. Tornator was closely involved in this process and does not foresee that the changes will cause any significant loss of revenue.
Forestland purchasing entails risks, and the success of investment often becomes apparent only later. The forest resources and structure of the estate to be purchased are determined using highly advanced technology, but some decisions must still be based on estimates. The pricing of estates is based on clear criteria, but pricing and the underlying appraisals may have an effect on the success of purchases in terms of returns.
Tornator monitors the current economic trend when planning plot sales. A downturn may decrease demand for holiday home plots and temporarily reduce profits. In 2020, the pandemic had a positive impact on the demand for land, but this trend slowed down during 2021. The past year did not bring any change in demand. The risk involved in investments made in wind power project development is managed by preparing accurate feasibility studies before launching such projects, by selecting partners among well-known operators in the sector, by dispersing the projects throughout Finland, and by planning them carefully. Tornator does not participate in wind power construction or ownership of production, but sells its shares in projects before construction and remains the lessor of land.
When utilising forest resources Tornator manages risks to the environment by complying with environmental legislation and certification criteria. Risks are discussed in employee training and introduction, and minimised through the careful planning of operations and a high standard of implementation.
Significant new statutes or other factors impeding operations can be regarded as political risks. An example of this is the debate in Finland on the acceptability of forest use, or discussions on regulation at EU level that would restrict forestry. The role of forests in halting biodiversity loss, among other things, has been in the headlines. Acquiring forest assets as a foreign company may also subject the company to political risks in the target countries in question. In managing risks, it is important to cooperate with authorities, educational institutions and various NGOs as well as participate in societal debate. Proactive risk management also involves participation in research in the field and the preparation of various carbon calculations. Tornator pursues open communication with an emphasis on the positive overall responsibility of the company’s forestry activities and corporate values.
Tornator also aims to continue expanding its operations outside Finland, in countries where the related growth potential is considered profitable. Geographic expansion is both a way to manage risks and a risk in itself. With regard to Tornator’s operations, Romania and Estonia score relatively poorly in corruption statistics. Tornator makes economic, social and environmental sustainability an integral part of its business, guided by the Code of Conduct that is common to all countries of operation. Furthermore, the risks associated with expansion are managed by selecting competent partners and reliable customers, and by balancing out long and short-term timber sales agreements. The company performs internal control in all countries, and the group has a whistleblower channel in place.
Attracting and retaining skilled employees is a risk in forestry as well. Tornator has prepared for rising numbers of retirements among forest workers by signing on new contractors and increasing machine work. With regard to salaried employees, the company collaborates with educational institutions and recruits proactively. The risk is also managed with active HR management and development. Because of the war, workers from Ukraine have not been available for forest management work. Future reconstruction could cause a shortage of forestry workers in Tornator’s countries of operation, should forestry labour move from these countries to Ukraine.
To manage internal business risks, Tornator has operational processes that are approved by the board of directors and senior management. Operational work is increasingly carried out with entrepreneurs’ resources, which poses challenges in terms of control of environmental damage and occupational safety, among other things. The expansion of the forest services business throughout Finland has increased the risks posed to Tornator through factors such as an increase in the number of contractors used. This control is being improved by means of training and the use of information technology.
Greater frequency of natural disasters due to climate change pose an ever-greater risk to forest assets. For Tornator, the size and geographic extent of its holdings, the good health and growth of its forests, and the measures required by the Act on Prevention of Forest Damage form an intrinsic risk management tool. In addition, Tornator has a Finnish forest insurance policy that covers damage in the case of a major disaster. However, the company regards the insurance of its forest holdings abroad as unprofitable, because the target countries lack an operational forest insurance market. The threat of a cyber attack on corporate information systems may also be considered a risk. Tornator is prepared for this by utilising advanced security technology and by providing instructions and training to users.
A substantial proportion of loan capital in the company’s balance sheet constitutes a risk which Tornator manages with special attention. Ready access to the capital markets will enable the successful refinancing of loans. The company adjusts its loan portfolio depending on the financial market situation, so that loans mature over several years and as far into the future as possible. The company has also spread the risks related to funding by issuing a bond maturing in 2026 besides bank loans. The company has prepared for market rate changes with derivative contracts. Hedging is applied to mitigate the interest rate risk on the loans and to reduce the volatility of the discount rate used in calculating the fair value of forests. This makes it easier to predict the development of the company’s value in the long term. Liquidity management is based on advance payments and up-to-date cash management. The company also has a commercial paper programme to optimise the need for cash. Cash reserves are invested in bank deposits and short-term, liquid and highly rated funds.
Tornator manages customer risks by advance payments based on sales agreements.