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Abitibi-Consolidated Sees Higher Volume & Lower Costs Offset By Lower Paper Prices In 2002


February 25, 2003
By Pulp & Paper Canada

2002 OPERATING HIGHLIGHTS:…

2002 OPERATING HIGHLIGHTS:
– Revenues of $5.1 billion ($1.3 billion in Q4)
– 6.4 million tonnes of paper sold
– Lumber sales of 1.76 billion board feet
– EBITDA of $846 million ($191 million in Q4)
– Loss from continuing operations of $47 million (earnings of $25 million in Q4)
– SG&A of $169 million ($46 million in Q4)
– Net debt reduced by $370 million

Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. reported fourth quarter operating income today of $18 million, including a $12 million asset write-off for the Thorold, Ontario TMP facility, related to the mill’s conversion to 100% recycled newsprint. These results compare to operating income of $29 million recorded in the third quarter and $151 million recorded in the same period last year.
Including an after-tax currency translation gain of $25 million, interest income of $7 million as well as a $42 million income tax recovery, fourth quarter earnings from continuing operations amounted to $25 million or 6 cents a share. This compares to a loss from continuing operations of $215 million in the third quarter and a loss of $21 million, or 5 cents a share from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of 2001.
For all of 2002, net earnings were $259 million, or 59 cents a share on sales of $5.1 billion. These results include the following non-recurring items, net of income tax: a countervailing and antidumping duties reversal of $13 million; a currency translation gain of $56 million; a gain of $293 million on the sale of Saint-Flicien; income tax adjustments of $64 million and interest income of $7 million, offset by the asset write-off of $8 million for the Thorold TMP plant and a $7 million premium on debt repayment.
Cash flows from continuing operating activities totalled $243 million or 55 cents a share in 2002 compared to $990 million or $2.25 a share in 2001.

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