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Stora Enso Financial Position Further Strengthened, Reports Q4 Results

Friday, January 31, 2003

Press release from the issuing company

HELSINKI, Finland, Jan. 30 -- Stora Enso today announced that Stora Enso's earnings per share excluding non-recurring items were EUR 0.12 (EUR 0.15) in the fourth quarter. Profit before tax and minority interests, excluding non-recurring items, amounted to EUR 143.0 (EUR 196.8) million. The non-recurring items of the fourth quarter totalled EUR 99.8 million, comprising the divestment of forestlands in Finland and the USA (EUR 75.4 million), and a positive currency effect (EUR 24.4 million) from the change in the USD conversion rate applied to the impairment charge in the third quarter. The share write-down relating to the impairment was tax-deductible, resulting together with non-recurring items in an increase of EUR 0.34 in earnings per share. Profit before taxes and minority interests was EUR 242.8 (EUR -1 032.7) million. Sales of EUR 3 212.1 million were 3.3% more than the previous quarter's EUR 3 108.6 million. Cash flow from operations was EUR 405.1 (EUR 565.5) million. The cash flow after investing activities amounted to EUR 118.8 (EUR 380.3) million and the cash earnings per share excluding non-recurring items, EUR 0.44 (EUR 0.51). Market-related production curtailments totalled 325 000 tonnes (271 000 tonnes). Full Year Results Full year sales amounted to EUR 12 782.6 (EUR 13 508.8) million, a decrease of EUR 726.2 million or 5.4% on the previous year. The operating profit excluding non-recurring items was EUR 926.5 million, or 7.2% of sales (EUR 1 495.2 million), a decrease of 38.0% on the previous year. Earnings per share were EUR 0.57 (EUR 0.94). Cash flow from operations totalled EUR 2 083.8 (EUR 2 757.5) million. The cash flow after investing activities amounted to EUR 1 247.7 (EUR 1 849.9) million and the cash earnings per share excluding non-recurring items EUR 1.97 (EUR 2.34). Outlook Commenting on the market outlook, Stora Enso's CEO Jukka Haermaelae said, "In Europe demand for advertising-driven papers is stable at low levels, but prices are under pressure mainly due to oversupply. In North America demand improved from low levels in advertising-driven paper grades towards the end of 2002. This positive trend has continued thus far in 2003. The further continuation of the positive trend in North America, and indeed the outlook for global paper markets, depends largely on the outcome of the current geopolitical situation"




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