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Stora Enso Reports Q4 Loss, Sees Better 2006

Friday, February 03, 2006

Press release from the issuing company

Fourth Quarter Results - Stora Enso's earnings per share were EUR 0.13 (EUR 0.08) excluding non-recurring items. Operating profit excluding non-recurring items rose by 13.8% to EUR 120.9 (EUR 106.2) million, which is 3.3% of sales. Profit before tax amounted to EUR 96.4 (EUR 93.0) million excluding non-recurring items. There were several non-recurring items in the fourth quarter related to the previously announced Profit 2007 and Asset Performance Review (APR) programmes. The non-recurring items totalled EUR -439.4 million, comprising EUR -285.8 million of write-downs, EUR -18.7 million of restructuring charges with immediate cash impact and EUR -134.9 million of provisions, mainly related to redundancies, which will have a cash impact mostly during 2006. Sales at EUR 3 636.1 million were 13.0% higher than the previous quarter's EUR 3 219.2 million. Cash flow from operations was EUR 169.7 (EUR 349.9) million and cash flow after investing activities EUR -109.7 (EUR 93.6) million. Cash earnings per share were EUR 0.50 (EUR 0.44) excluding non-recurring items. Full year results Full year sales increased by EUR 791.7 million to EUR 13 187.5 million, an increase of 6.4%. Operating profit, excluding non-recurring items, decreased by EUR 69.2 million to EUR 357.5 million. Earnings per share excluding non-recurring items increased by EUR 0.03 to EUR 0.28. Cash earnings per share were EUR 1.70 (EUR 1.67) excluding non-recurring items. Cash flow from operations was EUR 1 057.0 (EUR 1 200.1) million and cash flow after investing activities EUR -88.3 (EUR 220.5) million. Short-term Outlook Commenting on the outlook, Stora Enso's CEO Jukka Härmälä said, "In Europe a slight pick-up in advertising and direct marketing is expected to stimulate demand for advertising-driven papers. Demand for newsprint and magazine paper is good and forecast to grow moderately in 2006, with demand for SC paper in particular recovering following a weak 2005. Prices are expected to rise as a result of the year-end contract negotiations. The fine paper market is heading into a seasonally good first quarter and the demand outlook is favourable, which should support some price increases. In packaging board order books are good in most grades and demand is expected to remain firm with some price improvements. Demand for wood products is steady, but continuing oversupply in Europe is keeping the market challenging." In North America print advertising is forecast to remain healthy. However, increases in postal rates may have some negative impact on the growth in magazine and catalogue markets, and only modest demand growth is anticipated in magazine and coated fine paper. A further decline in newsprint demand is predicted. Prices are expected to remain firm in magazine and coated fine paper, and to improve in newsprint. In Asia demand for coated fine paper is slowing following the normal seasonal pattern. At Port Hawkesbury Mill in Canada labour negotiations have been ongoing for over 20 months. The machines have been at a standstill since 24 December 2005.As the negotiating parties could not reach an agreement, a lockout was declared on 26 January 2006.




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