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Abitibi-Consolidated Reports First Quarter operating results impacted by fibre, energy and currency


April 28, 2003
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. reported first quarter net earnings of $181 million, or 41 cents a share compared to a l…

Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. reported first quarter net earnings of $181 million, or 41 cents a share compared to a loss of $50 million, or 11 cents a share in the same quarter of 2002.
Included in the current quarter’s results is an after-tax gain of $239 million on translation of foreign currencies mainly from US dollar debt and a positive income tax adjustment of $32 million.
The first quarter operating loss from continuing operations was $35million compared to an operating profit from continuing operations of $41million for the same period last year.
The change in profitability when compared to the first quarter of 2002 is attributable to lower value-added paper and lumber prices, higher costs in the newsprint segment of the Pan Asia operations, as well as the impact of a stronger Canadian dollar. These elements were partly offset by higher sales volumes of both newsprint and value-added papers.
“Despite the pressures on both paper and lumber markets in the first quarter, the Company’s newsprint prices continued moving back towards normalized levels,” said President and Chief Executive Officer, John Weaver. “The successful implementation of our recent newsprint price increase is evidence that supply and demand are coming back into proper balance. What is required now is less uncertainty in the global economy.”
The Company took 200,000 tonnes of market-related newsprint downtime in North America during the quarter.

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