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Executives

Tero Huovinen – IR

Wolfgang Büchele – President and CEO

Jyrki Mäki-Kala – CFO

Analysts

Jussi Uskola – Deutsche Bank

Markku Järvinen – Evli

Rauli Juva – Nordea

Martin Evans – JP Morgan

Carl Frejborg – Carnegie

Kemira Oyj (OTC:KMRAF) Q1 2012 Earnings Call April 24, 2012 5:30 AM ET

Tero Huovinen

Welcome to Kemira’s First Quarter 2012 Results Conference. My name is Tero Huovinen. I am responsible for Investor Relations.

We will start with the presentation by Kemira’s President and CEO, Wolfgang Büchele followed by a presentation by CFO, Jyrki Mäki-Kala. After the presentations, we will have time for question.

With that I will leave the floor to Wolfgang, please.

Wolfgang Büchele

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It’s my first presentation of a quarterly result to you and in a nutshell Kemira in Q1 2011 was performing slightly below expectations.

Paper and Oil and Mining were performing well. The M&I market was weaker than anticipated so, M&I was well below our expectation. And ChemSolutions was slightly falling short due to a too warm weather so the deicing season was lower than our anticipation. That is in a nutshell where we are standing; details will be later on shown by Jyrki Mäki-Kala, our CFO.

I want to give you now a little bit of guidance what based on these results our plans are, where we are heading and what we are going to do. Our water strategy is a unique strategy in the industry and this is something we wanted to keep it that way. We want to further foster that strategy and we want to develop that. We also have employees, which have a new unique vision how this water strategy can be developed and that is a real competitive advantage and a differentiator in the market which we want to embark on.

Based on that, we want to focus on three strategic priorities in the near future. The first is to improve our internal efficiency. Kemira clearly has quite some potential to further streamline and optimize the work flows and the way we are doing our business and that is something we will now start to analyze and to looking into.

We also want to substantially strengthen our position in the emerging markets. As you all know and as you might recall from previous presentations, we are currently very strong in our home market Europe. We have a good position in the North American market, but we are comparably weak still in APAC and in South America and we want to address that by an accelerating growth there.

And thirdly, we want to further sharpen our strategy in a way that we get to a proper roadmap including transferable resources in order to in a faster and more accelerating way to develop our water strategy and ultimately our position.

So these are the three pillars which we want to deal with in the near future and want to align our organization along and towards these three pillars.

Ultimately, this is focusing on achieving E10 which we have talked about for quite some while in an accelerated way by reducing the business complexity on the one hand, but at the same time embarking on profitable growth. And you might recall that our growth pattern in the most recent quarters was slightly below our own objectives, and we want to change and we want to address that.

Why is APAC and to a certain extent, South America so relevant. If you look to the distribution of the order market, which accounts for some €28 billion in 2010. You already today see that the European part is smaller than APAC. So even in 2010, APAC accounts for a bigger order market. And going forward, the growth in APAC is substantially higher than the growth in Europe.

So in other words, the relevance of the Asian market for Water is growing year-on-year. If you mirror that to Kemira’s actual sales distribution, you will see that APAC currently accounts for unfortunately just 6% of our sales. So we are underrepresented in the Asian market and we take that very serious. So we are now looking with our Asian organization, how to accelerate our position building in that market, which is of major relevance going further without of course sacrificing our excellent positions in Europe and the United States.

Obviously when you talk Asia, you talk different challenges, we have mega cities, which have totally different water infrastructure in comparison to a country like Finland or even more densely populated countries in Europe, like France and Germany.

We have mega cities with up to 40 million people which simply require different approaches than we currently have them and we currently supply them in Europe and we will develop additional solutions, tailor-made solution for the specific markets via our SWEET project, via our R&D lab in Shanghai, where we are also in the future will devote more time and resources to cooperate with local universities in order to tap into the local prime pool, when it comes to R&D.

We also have topics like, lake restoration, which is not that much an issue in Europe and in United States. We have already some good experience in South America, where we are currently engaged in lake restoration projects. But this is getting a very big issue also in Asia in particular in the People’s Republic of China and we want to benefit from this upcoming and developing market.

In a nutshell, when it comes to strategy, we are focusing on three strategic pillars, when it comes to water. The one is the recovering and the helping to make available resources which we have summarized in the oil and mining segment. We will continue to outrange from the United States where we have meanwhile a very good position particularly in shale gas.

We want to outrange into other the geographies in particular also get a strong foothold in South America where a lot of sources are currently devoted into the exploration and production in the oilfields of Argentina and of Brazil as well as in the mining activities ranging Chile to Peru and some other countries.

We clearly have a strong position in pulp and paper. We will foster that because this is where we’re already today also in emerging markets have a very high degree of recognition. We are risible in China as a strong supplier of chemicals to the paper industry and we are a quite remarkable supplier in South America where in particular we have cut inroads into the fast growing pulp and paper.

The challenges for us are related and you will see that also from the financials to a certain extent to M&I, Municipal and Industrial. We see currently a weak business in South Europe. The municipalities are shorting cash and that has had an impact on volumes. Looking to the current situation in Europe we are not expecting this to change shortly.

On the other hand, clearly as I’ve said before, our current offering to the municipalities in Europe and in North America is not the most attractive to mega-cities because they have different concepts, different approaches. So we have to define in our R&D portfolio how we are going to address that and what we’re going to do there.

If you look to the paper business, we have developed quite nicely. The profitability of the paper business has continuously improved and we want to keep it that way. The repositioning of the paper business has started. Clearly our focus is on the fast-growing packaging and board market as well as the developing tissue market.

We will, of course, maintain our position in paper and writing. However, we accept that we follow the decline of the market, which we see going forward. Yes, electronic media play an ever strong role and will replace largely printed media in the next five to ten years.

So, therefore, our focus in this market going forward is packaging and board as well as tissue without giving up the established positions, which we have in the other segments.

If you go to Oil & Mining, I don’t have to repeat the details of that success story. It was a great move in 2008-09 when the segment was established. The segment is growing nicely ever since and profitability has made quite good success and improvement over the last three years.

We have had with 14.2% a very high profitability in the first quarter. I would like to caution you a little bit depending on the raw material developments, we are very much depending obviously on probably in price, which is one of the major raw materials for us.

We will see eventually some slight stabilization or perhaps also slight decline in the one or other quarter of that year but we will definitely stay at a very high level with that segment.

Clear issue, which we have taken very high in our agenda is the M&I industry, is the M&I business, I said before that we have such a slowdown in south Europe, which has an impact on volumes and also has obviously therefore an impact no our top-line.

At the same time and you will realize that later on when our CFO gives you some more insights into the financials. We had some extraordinary maintenance costs, so we have to pay attention also to our asset base in that segment and we have to look into what is the right way forward, it was the right asset base for the M&I segment in the key markets long-term.

This is particularly obvious when you look to the slide showing our current asset footprint. Clearly, whilst the construction of the two you have plants in Tarragona Spain, in Dormagen, in Germany there is room for consolidation of the asset footprint and we will address that in due course in order to get our asset base aligned with the market needs.

There was always a discussion on ChemSolutions. Here you see the development of ChemSolutions. ChemSolutions consists mainly of the three sub-segments, Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals, its Feed and Food industry as well as De-icing.

And clearly we had in Q1, 2012 a lower the de-icing business as anticipated and we also had some hits from the raw materials. So, from that point of view, we could not improve our profit margin beyond to the level we have currently reached. But generally, it’s a very sustainable. It’s a very good business. And it’s contributing substantially to the performance of the company, and we want to keep it that way.

Clearly, in this business we are focusing on different industries and we have to understand even better the dynamics of these industries. And clearly, we have to think about how we are budgeting going forward the de-icing business, because you might recall that also Q4 2011, was much weaker than expected due to the weather. So that is something we’re going forward. We might see a change that the relevance of de-icing in that part of Kemira will slow down over time.

With this, I would like to hand over to Mr. Mäki-Kala in order to give you a more detailed insight into the financials.

Jyrki Mäki-Kala

Okay. Good early morning, late morning to you as well. Just a highlight first of the quarter one result for Kemira, maybe so called positive thing, the negative things you start-up. We start with the positive ones. Each of our four segments basically managed to increase their sales prices more than the raw material prices went up. It was good achievement.

That also meant that our so called gross margin was better in quarter one this year compared to last year’s first quarter. And then like I mentioned already earlier, two of our segments mainly Paper and Oil & Mining, their EBIT margin was actually very good in quarter one. 8.6 with Paper and more than 14% in Oil & Mining, which in fact was their -highest ever EBIT margin in Oil & Mining. So very good achievement.

During the first quarter, but also the other side of the coin, somewhat – let’s say not so positive thing, but of course performance with our Municipal & Industrial business, their EBIT margin going below 4, is totally not acceptable like I mentioned earlier actions are in place to take that into more – more, more better levels.

We also had some higher fixed cost compared to last year. Part of that was maintenance cost that was unplanned. And also we have some more resourcing in Kemira roughly 50 people more than when we started this year, really focusing on the emerging market.

And basically, at the end of the story, going to the cash flow that we have slightly negative free cash flow compared to last year, minus 8 million. So basically, those were the summaries of the first quarter and of course that meant that we slightly changed our guidance for this year, we will talk that little bit later – later during the presentation.

First quarter really like we had also the headline in our review was that stable revenue, but we have the higher fixed cost. Our sales was basically at the same level as in 2011 roughly, €550 million, but really our operative EBIT decreased roughly €7 million to a level 38 million.

And if we go behind the figures basically – sales prices basically met the increases of variable cost and the volumes as well so the difference basically was the fixed costs, roughly €6 million increase in the fixed cost so that basically alone explains the difference what we had in our EBIT.

We really have some unplanned maintenance mainly in M&I, we will come back to that when presenting the M&I story in that sense, but when we go down in our P&L going to the net profit level then we can see another big thing in our P&L and that’s financial expenses that were basically more that 10 million this year compared to roughly 4 million last year.

And the reason why it went up are the changes in the fair values of our electricity (inaudible) contract that basically – so mathematical issue because has to the do with the fact the system price in the Nordics markets, meaning the average price in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia is much lower than the local price here in Finland.

And that’s just mainly due to the fact that we don’t get enough electricity from Sweden at the moment because of the transmission line is broken. So that’s just issue that we have the physical deliveries of electricity going forward and they are based on the Finnish market price very efficient. But when looking for the system price they are not efficient. So that makes the 4.6 million-difference basically in our financial expenses.

And then the last part of the P&L again our joint venture activities brought very nice results in our bottom-line compared to 2011 roughly 30% better income in our P&L that of course then have the positive impact also on our earnings per share that went slightly down compared to 2011.

If we look the revenue growth for the last years and last quarters, you’ll see it from the graph that basically quarter one this year we are coming to the point we basically didn’t record any growth in our sales.

Volume and price development was basically zero compared to quarter one, 2011, and that is something of course we need to work hard to get us back into the growth track remember in our strategic target 3% growth in developed countries and 7% in the emerging markets.

This graph is about granular basis always 12-month rolling figures behind, how we have developed our sales prices meaning the green graph and then green line and then the blue one is corresponding how the raw material price has developed. You will see that on a yearly basis, the swings are quite a lot and quite a big one from 100 million minus to 100 million positive.

And currently, we are in the phase that our sales prices are in a very good level compared to raw material prices. So that’s why for example our margin level, gross margin is better than last year, very clearly coming out of this – this graph – the raw material prices certainly, basically grow for Kemira.

Just a bit analysis about the EBITDA, basically repeats the same story what I mentioned. At the end of the day the difference between last year’s first quarter and this year’s first quarter is the fixed costs, minus 6 million, everything else is more or less balancing each other. So many think fixed costs going forward is of course important for us and this so called on plant maintenance, what we had in the first quarter of course hits our EBIT, when those takes place.

Earnings per share finally is 5% decrease compared to 2011, lower profit, higher financial expenses, better profit coming from joint ventures and of course less taxes due to lower profit ends up to is $0.19 per share.

If we called briefly two or the three – this time four segments, starting with the paper segment, the graph that was earlier shown is that paper segment has done a lot of thing in their business, reaching 8.6% EBIT margin this quarter with higher sales prices, slightly lower volumes basically globally and of course affecting in the sales line in the divestment we made last November in Maitland with the hydrogen peroxide.

EBIT, what mentioned 8.6% slightly down compared to 2011, a good achievement with the sales prices slightly higher variable and fixed cost in the background. But still the business is generating positive cash flow roughly €7 million. So this business performance was pretty nice during the first quarter this year.

When we come to the Municipal & Industrial segment basically, the small growth in the revenue couldn’t offset the higher cost in the background. The first quarter EBIT of 6 million was one of the lowest in the history, and of course partly can be explained by the seasonality, first quarter is always the weakest in that business due to the weather conditions. But the other thing is like mentioned earlier, the fixed costs were higher and that leave to this 3.8% EBIT margin.

If you recall quarter four when we came up with the results, this business had decisives in the Southern European countries and like also mentioned earlier, we are still seeing that the communities are not in that shape that they are basically consume in normally the volumes they used to consume.

So we need to be careful with how that development cost. But overall 8, – sorry, 3.8% EBIT margin is not enough going forward. We need to improve. And that also lead to slightly negative cash flow coming out of the inventories as well.

Oil & Mining then, like I mentioned, the best quarter of performance in their roughly four years historical impact. We had certain this year a little bit low margin contract that we give up.

So actually behind the sales growth, is 8% sales growth when we take this into account. So, it’s again, closer to the double-digital growth at this business has been during the last years, very favorable pricing in the background. But like mentioned earlier, little bit careful how the raw material prices will change going forward.

But quarterly EBITDA, best ever slightly higher fixed cost, but since we are recording pretty good sales and raw material price position was positive. You can see the positive impact still in the business P&L.

Then combining the ChemSolution and Group expenses, ChemSolution is roughly a €50 million quarter sales, roughly flat sales in the background. But has a still positive thing going on in the background especially with the Feed segment, the icing like you all know, three icing season was very short in the Continental Europe. It nearly ended the same week when it started. So that’s basically one of the reasons behind lower sales and slightly lower profitability.

But the Group expenses there in the background more or less at a same level as in 2011. So the performance in that sense was coming from the lower business volumes with ChemSolutions.

Then, few slides more concerning our balance sheet and a little bit with the cash flow, balance sheet basically has a changes in our gearing level and net debt affected by the dividend payment of €77 million which was paid to shareholders, everything else pretty much normal, normal course of business.

And of course the cash flow then at the end of the day, what impact but – by negatively by the networking capital, mainly coming from the inventories, the inventory values of products are of course higher due to the raw material prices and of course working capital is an issue that we need to work harder, in order to get the free cash flow back in to the positive shape. It was minus 8 million in the first quarter. That is certainly what we are – what we are committed to do.

So with these words, we basically finally come to this outlook graph that we basically slightly changed. The outlook was earlier that we are expecting sales and EBIT to be slightly higher than 2011. What we changed now is basically stating that we are expecting sales and EBIT to be approximately at the same level as in 2011 and also remembering that this is used in the background with macroeconomics in Europe, oil prices, et cetera. We expect them to be as they are today. If there are big changes, of course, those are then different stories for us as well.

So, thank you.

Question-and-Answer Session

Tero Huovinen

Thank you, Wolfgang and Jyrki. We are now ready to take some questions. Please remember to state your name and company.

Jussi Uskola – Deutsche Bank

Thank you. Jussi Uskola from Deutsche Bank. I have two questions. The first is more strategic one probably directed to Wolfgang. I’m just wondering your Asian and Latin American growth ambitions. What kind of an acquisitive element does that include or is it purely organic?

Wolfgang Büchele

We are obviously pursuing both strategic directions. Now as you might be aware, I have quite some history in Asia. Acquisitions in Asia are not as easy as it is the case in United States or Europe, and therefore we will finally base on proposals which have to be accessed, make a very careful decision which route you finally and we finally will follow. Obviously, and it was the T5 route is a faster one, but at the same time, is a more riskier one. And that’s why at this point in time, I don’t know yet, which one will be the one, we pursue, but we’re analyzing those.

Jussi Uskola – Deutsche Bank

Okay. Thanks. You also answered to my follow-up question regarding those difficulties. The second question relates to the guidance. I am a bit confused here after Q1 numbers; you were having relatively strong or very strong results in the segment, which I was expecting to fail in Q1 after raw materials have been increased. I mean, if I am looking at other chemical companies, what I – what we are hearing is that especially oil derivatives have been increasing already in Q1.

I didn’t see any such impact on your results. And at the same time, you are addressing the problems, what we are right now seeing in the water treatment chemicals. So this at background, why should we assume flat EBIT year-on-year? What kind of raw material mix or volume we’re certainly expecting with these assumptions?

Wolfgang Büchele

Let me start, there is perhaps a slight misunderstanding how raw materials hit us. In United States, where a large part of our polymer production takes place, the propylene price of the previous quarter is valid for the following quarter. So basically, the propylene price of Q4, 2011 was the relevant price for us, and that was low in Q1 propylene price increased and that increase we will see now in Q2.

And that’s why I already indicated beforehand that we are not expecting that for the whole year. The margin of our Oil and Mining business will stay above 14%, but due to that impact, we see a certain slowdown in the margin driven by the higher propylene prices. We don’t know right now what the propylene prices are doing in the following quarters, but we are not expecting at this point in time a substantial decline and that’s why we have factored into that forecast and into our guidance also some carefulness.

Jussi Uskola – Deutsche Bank

Okay. How about the volume outlook? When should we assume the bottom?

Wolfgang Büchele

That’s a good one. I would expect in the Oil and Mining industry what we see currently, is a certain slowdown in shale gas. You might be aware of that. We see a certain shift to shale – to shale oil. So that will have a slight impact in the next one or two quarters on us. And for – I will suggest the M&I industry, I would see the lower end of the volumes to be more or less achieved.

The key question to me is, what is going to happen in South Europe, will this volumes ever come back to the full extent because the more and the longer in municipalities operate with lower dosage, the less likely that they will come back in the long run to the old volumes which we have experienced.

Jussi Uskola – Deutsche Bank

Okay. Thanks.

Tero Huovinen

Any more questions from the floor?

Markku Järvinen – Evli

Hi, Markku Järvinen, Evli. Just about the Asian growth you have this 7% target, are you planning to increase that?

Wolfgang Büchele

We will now first of all focus to bring our current investments on stream. So you might recall that we have a plant in India under construction, and we have a plant in Nanjing under construction. They will come on stream in the fourth quarter with latest with trial operation. And based on startup of these facilities, we will reconsider our growth perspective. We will not change the growth target until these plants are fully on stream.

Markku Järvinen – Evli

Okay. Thank you.

Tero Huovinen

The next question here.

Rauli Juva – Nordea

Rauli Juva, Nordea. On the municipal and industrial, can you specify how much was the cost for the – on plant maintenance and what’s going of normal increase in the fixed cost side?

Wolfgang Büchele

Yeah, it is on plant maintenance with municipal/industrial of course let’s say a few million euros coming from several sources is for not just one plant at all. It’s of course that the (inaudible) in that business meant a lot in the EBIT level.

Rauli Juva – Nordea

And then on the same segment, I am assuming that the high raw material cost will also hit the Municipal & Industrial in Q2 and going forward this year. So at what point your actions to decrease the fixed cost will have a meaningful impact – any guidance on that?

Wolfgang Büchele

As I pointed out – as I showed in my slide, we will now investigate the fixed cost distribution of the M&I business and based on speed of the results, and we need tangible results before we start to talk how they are been. We will then definitely once we are clear, what we want to do, we will speedily implement our conclusions.

Rauli Juva – Nordea

Okay. Thanks and finally on Paper, should we assume a similar kind of stabilization or decline in margins as to raw materials to go up in Q2 as you refer in Mining, always different for Paper?

Wolfgang Büchele

For Paper, it’s less prominent. So therefore, I would suggest, we are not seeing a decline there.

Rauli Juva - Nordea

Okay. Thanks.

Tero Huovinen

Mr. Mark, questions from the floor.

Unidentified Analyst

(Inaudible) Enskilda. Just on Municipal Industrial steel in accordance with Q4 results, you were guiding for improving profitability this year. Could you provide what is your view in terms of margin development this year?

Wolfgang Büchele

If you look to our Q1 results, clearly, the margins were to a certain extent hit by raw materials. So the iron source is rising in price, so that has hit us, but we also have some volume issues, so that’s why it’s the lower result of the M&I industry is a result to a lesser extent raw materials margin to a larger extent volume and as referred a couple of times now the unexpected fixed costs.

Unidentified Analyst

And maybe just secondly, on your changes in the guidance, could you say, was it related to this Q4 performance as that your results were below expectations, so are you also seeing that maybe in the future of this year is more challenging compared to what you’ve seen three months back?

Wolfgang Büchele

I would suggest that on the one hand we see that there are some challenges in the course of 2012 and based on the lower than expected M&I performance, we concluded that we take more conservative view on the year.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. Thank you

Tero Huovinen

Operator, is there any questions from the call?

Operator

Yes. We have a question from the line of Martin Evans. Please go ahead.

Martin Evans – JP Morgan

Thanks very much. Martin Evans with JP Morgan, and the sort of seeing the collapse in the margin, I appreciate, much of that is due to the increased in the fixed costs, slightly say 4 million that was a year ago. And I am just trying to see your (inaudible) costs do you refer to higher maintenance and our expenses, depreciation can you just explain a little bit from (inaudible)? Secondly, in our risk distribution in the short-term given how input cost – loss concerns you? Thanks.

Jyrki Mäki-Kala

So let’s start with the maintenance. We are dealing with chlorine containing compounds in the Coagulant business. This is by nature highly corrosive environment and therefore we’ve seen some corrosion issues in various plants, one in South America, but also in Europe, and as we have currently 42 coagulants plants globally, as you could see we have a quite distributed asset footprint.

On the one hand it came by surprise, but you cannot fully exclude this from happening and that’s why I said before, we will have to look into what is the right asset footprint going forward for that business. And in the context of that we will of course also investigate now what’s the status of the individual plant in order not to be surprised yet.

From a loss point of view, I do not expect a loss in that business. We have that business now high on the radar screen. The teams are working. The teams are looking into that. And I am confident that we are not seeing any major further problem which would ultimately lead to a loss situation. Does that answer your question?

Martin Evans – JP Morgan

Yeah. That’s very clear. Thank you.

Tero Huovinen

Any other questions from the line?

Operator

Yes. The next question comes from the line of Carl Frejborg, Carnegie. Please go ahead.

Carl Frejborg – Carnegie

Yes, this is (inaudible), just one question (inaudible).

Wolfgang Büchele

As you might be aware, we have what we call Chemical Island in Uruguay in a UPM in Fray Bentos at the boarder to Argentina. We have there under operation a chlorate plant and a hydrogen peroxide plant. We have now the opportunity. We see additional market opportunities in the neighborhood of that facility and we have for a fairly small investment in the single million range the possibility to increase the capacity and kept into this additional market potential and that’s what’s behind this announcement.

Carl Frejborg – Carnegie

Okay and when (inaudible)?

Jyrki Mäki-Kala

We expect that to come on stream in the course of 2013. So we are now starting the engineering and we will then go into the construction phase most likely early 2013. So in the second half of 2013 I expect that to become operational.

Carl Frejborg – Carnegie

Okay. Thanks so much.

Operator

We have a follow-up question from the line of Martin Evans. Please go ahead.

Martin Evans – JP Morgan

Thanks again. Question for Jyrki, I guess on the financials, just really guidance on financing costs for the year, given that in Q1 your costs at 10.3 million, which was almost half the whole of last year’s 21. I mean, presumably some movements in debt and then possibly interest rates – any sort of full year guidance for the finance charge would be very helpful? Thanks.

Jyrki Mäki-Kala

Yeah, the financing expenses like I explained got it off roughly 5 million out of this electricity derivative, fair values. I’d say that the estimate for the financial expenses for the whole year it will be very close to last year’s figure. Because the interest rates are slightly lower this year compared to full year 2011 and if – part of this effect of these electricity derivatives will go away later this year when we get the physical delivery of the electricity.

So in that sense, it’s a temporary effect at the moment with our P&L, but safely to say, roughly at the same level overall with the financial expenses compared to last year.

Martin Evans – JP Morgan

And then finally, any change on the tax rate guidance for the current year?

Jyrki Mäki-Kala

No changes what we have guided basically, the full year figure of 22 is still very valid.

Martin Evans – JP Morgan

Excellent. Thank you very much.

Tero Huovinen

Operator, is there any other questions from the...

Operator

We have no further questions.

Tero Huovinen

Okay, let’s check from the floor whether any follow-up questions, if not, I think that concludes our conference. Thank you very much.

Wolfgang Büchele

Thank you very much for your interest.

Jyrki Mäki-Kala

Thank you.

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