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Stora Enso Operating Profit in Line With Previous Quarter

Press release from the issuing company

HELSINKI, Finland, April 23 - Stora Enso today announced results for Q1 2002. Stora Enso's operating profit for the first quarter was EUR 274.0 million (EUR 286.8 million in the previous quarter), equal to 8.5% of sales. Earnings per share were EUR 0.18 (EUR 0.22), and cash earnings per share EUR 0.55 (EUR 0.58). There were no non-recurring items in the first quarter of 2002. Sales were EUR 3 228.9 million (EUR 3 282.9 million), and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) totalled EUR 602.9 million (EUR 609.4 million). Market-related production curtailments amounted to 335 000 tonnes (485 000). Profit before taxes and minority interests amounted to EUR 240.5 million (EUR 265.9 million). Commenting on the outlook for 2002, Stora Enso's CEO Jukka Harmala said, "Forecasts are generally expecting a pickup of activity in Western economies over the course of 2002, but for the time being, advertisement volumes remain weak and there are no signs of a sustained improvement in the market for graphic papers. However, prospects are brighter in grades with consumption more directly related to changes in GDP, such as office papers and consumer boards. With the added pressure of imported coated papers, the situation is more challenging in the USA than in Europe. Although markets are showing the first signs of more favorable conditions, a clearer upturn will be needed before the financial results of the Group improve."