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Smurfit-Stone gets credit rating increase


November 6, 2007
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Creve Coeur, MO and Chicago, IL – Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation’s corporate credit rating was raised by Stand…

Creve Coeur, MO and Chicago, IL – Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation’s corporate credit rating was raised by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Services from ‘B’ to ‘B+’. S&P called the company’s outlook stable, and raised the senior secured ratings of Smurfit-Stone’s subsidiaries from ‘BB-‘ to ‘BB’ and senior unsecured debt ratings from ‘CCC+’ to ‘B-‘.

S&P said the upgrade reflects the combination of Smurfit-Stone’s continued solid operating performance and meaningful debt reduction as a result of improved containerboard market conditions. Smurfit-Stone reduced its debt by $328 million in the third quarter 2007, largely as a result of the sale of its Brewton, AL, mill. Debt reduction is almost $1.2 billion from year-end 2005.

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“Our focused strategy is improving our financial results and we remain on track to deliver greater shareholder value over the long term,” said Patrick J. Moore, Smurfit-Stone chairman and CEO.

Balanced supply and demand fundamentals should continue to support favourable pricing, according to S&P, and the company’s strategic initiatives are improving profitability. The release went on to say that these factors, along with lower debt and interest expense, have resulted in credit measures that are reaching levels more appropriate for a higher rating.


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