In 2020, COVID-19 ravaged the world, and the economy of various countries was severely impacted and plunged into recession. In the second quarter, the global economy was almost shut down, and international crude oil and raw material prices also shocked. With the control of the pandemic and the stimulus of quantitative easing and various relief policies in various countries, the economic activities were restarted in the world’s major economies in the third quarter, and the economy gradually recovered. The economic performance of some advanced countries was better than expected. The stronger economies were the U.S. and emerging Asia, while Europe and emerging Latin America were still weak. In the fourth quarter, the economic recovery was affected by the impact of the escalation of the pandemic, the disruption of economic activities in some countries, as well as the risks, including the changes in economic and trade policies after the U.S. election, protracted US-China conflicts, and rising global financial fragility. Global Insight predicted that the global economic growth rate in 2020 was -4.4%, which was much lower than 2.8% in 2019.
In the first half of the year, Taiwan’s paper industry was impacted as its export markets of Europe, the U.S., and Japan were the worst-hit areas. However, China's waste import ban and its rapid recovery as a major economy after the pandemic were beneficial for the export of Taiwan's containerboard to China. The effect of supply chain transfer caused by the US-China trade war and the return of investment from overseas Taiwanese firms continued to increase the domestic demand for containerboard and converting products. In addition, the pandemic prevention demand has driven the panic buying of toilet paper and the prosperity of the e-commerce market, which indirectly contributed to the consumption growth of the paper market. With the leading economic recovery of Taiwan, Vietnam, and China, the business of the paper industry improved quarter by quarter. Also, the rebounded market price of containerboard and the relatively low costs of international raw materials, contributed to the business performance of the paper industry. Taiwan’s paper industry was relatively less affected by the outbreak; however, the surge in international ocean freight rates and the shortage of shipping containers in the fourth quarter had put the paper industry under pressure of raw material shortage and surging transportation costs, which required close attention. Overall, Taiwan’s paper industry grew steadily in 2020 and was even better than the great performance in 2019. According to statistics from the Taiwan Paper Industry Association, total production volume of paper made in Taiwan increased by 2.67% year-on-year to 4.36 million tons, and the total sales volume increased by 2.34% nearly 4.36 million tons, of which export grew by 4.16% to approximately 1.57 million tons. This pandemic has prompted people to change their consumption patterns. The stay-at-home economy has driven strong demand for cartons. The production and sales of corrugated containers across Taiwan have also increased by 9.37%, or around 2.3 billion square meters, compared with last year.
In 2020, total consolidated revenue of the whole group was around NT$40.74 billion, a decrease of 0.8% compared with the previous year, and net profit after taxes amounted to approximately of NT$3.74 billion, an increased by 59.5%. The overall profile of production and sales is as follows：
Our efforts and achievements in management and operations in 2020 are as follows:
- With the improvement of the operating efficiency and the efforts of all employees, the company's operating gross margin, operating profit margin, net income after tax, and EPS all achieved great results.
- The project of installation of PM2 at Cheng Loong Binh Duong Paper Co., Ltd. was implemented. The company also planned to set up a converting plant in Ben Cat and in Bac Giang, respectively. Meanwhile, company invested in biomass-fired boilers at the ChuPei Mill, a bleached pulp production line and a renovation project of PM1 at the Tayuan Mill, and biogas power generation equipment, while constructing a new corrugator plant in Yanchao.
- The company continued to improve circular economy as well as energy conservation and carbon reduction and has obtained a number of awards and certificates. The Company's ESG performance was excellent and also won a number of domestic sustainability awards, including Taiwan Corporate Sustainability Awards (TCSA) in Corporate Comprehensive Performance, the Award for Circular Economy Leadership, and the Gold Award of the Sustainability Reporting Awards.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company actively cooperated with national policy and produced household paper products in full capacity, to ensure that the supply was stable so as to assure the public, which earned the Company a National Anti-pandemic Team Medal. In addition to the improvement of the business and management, the Company strove to realize the corporate vision of "caring for life, making good use of resources, and giving back to society."
In 2021, as the benefits of vaccines gradually emerge, the global economy is expected to recover gradually after the middle of the year. Global Insight predicted that the global economy will grow by 4.5% in 2021, and there is a chance for a V-shaped recovery, but the development of the pandemic, the U.S. economic and trade policies, the relationship between the US administration and Congress, global trade and technological conflicts, global central banks' monetary policies, and other risks will affect the global economy and market trends. Although the pandemic has had an impact on the global market, Taiwan’s economic performance continues to be stable. Under the influence of the gradual easing of the pandemic, the transfer of production lines back to Taiwan, and the booming demand for emerging technologies, exports are expected to increase significantly. It is predicted that Taiwan's economic growth rate in 2021 will reach 4.64%. The paper market in China will be a growth opportunity for the Company's overseas business as China's waste import ban will be officially launched in January 2021, alongside the US-China trade war and the decentralized global supply chains. In 2021, China and Vietnam are expected to have economic growth rates of 8.2% and 6.8% respectively, and these two countries have launched various industrial revitalization policies to stimulate the markets with a view to recovering the economy as soon as possible. Therefore, the packaging demand, derived therefrom will benefit the paper industry; in particular, Vietnam is expected to play a positive role in the post-pandemic stage; thus, the prospects are optimistic.
We cannot predict the future but can re-examine the risks of the Company/industry and control, invest, and make improvement to mitigate possible future impacts. Cheng Loong has listed the circular economy as one of the Company's focal points in development, and has not only assessed the financial impact of climate change but also implemented relevant projects, improved manufacturing processes, and promoted low-carbon sustainable products. Over the past few years, the Company has invested in green energy, smart recycling, and development of carrier tape paper in field of papermaking, while exploring new fields of household paper, ranging from pure pulp, eco-friendly toilet paper, diapers to detergents. In the corrugated container field, the Company has expanded from the bulk orders of cartons to cartons for freezing, preservation, and waterproof functions, while improving the packaging design capabilities and studying flexible packaging materials. A sustainability department is also established at the Headquarters to strengthen ESG. All of this aims to enhance the values of the Company and the industry.
In the coming year, the Company’s main business policies are as follows:
- 1. Integrate production and marketing resources to achieve synergy; push forward digital transformation and build a smart production and marketing system.
- 2. Focus on R&D and innovate, cultivate international talents; consolidate the business in the Taiwan market and focus on overseas market growth.
- 3. Keep abreast of market trends, ensure high-quality sources of materials, and enhance the competitiveness in green supply chains.
- 4. Integrate the packaging service system, increase clients' value, implement brand marketing, and expand market share.
- 5. Optimize inventory, make good use of assets, evaluate benefits, and invest prudently.
- 6. Strengthen low-carbon green energy, develop circular economy, and implement the concept of sustainability.