NEW YORK, NY, May 8, 2001 -- Westvaco Corporation (NYSE: W) today announced that it expects earnings for its fiscal 2001 second quarter, which ended on April 30, to be about 17 to 18 cents per share. Factors affecting expected results include weaker volumes and lower prices in markets for printing papers and in certain competitive sectors of global bleached board markets, as well as higher energy prices. Lower production and higher maintenance costs associated with the acceleration of scheduled downtime also had an effect on expected results, as did higher costs related to the introduction of new technology platforms.
Operating results for Westvaco's wholly owned Brazilian subsidiary and for its Chemical Division are expected to be somewhat below last year's levels. A weakening local currency is a factor affecting earnings in Brazil. In the chemical segment, sales of carbon and dye dispersants have been weaker than last year while sales in certain other specialty markets have been relatively strong.
Markets for premium packaging for media, pharmaceutical and cosmetics products, which Westvaco entered recently through acquisitions, continued to grow in the quarter and the integration of these new businesses is proceeding well. However, the second quarter is a seasonally slow time in some premium packaging markets and sales in the period were delayed for a few customers who experienced regulatory and supply chain issues expected to be temporary in nature.
In the face of difficult markets for printing papers and some grades of packaging board, Westvaco continues to focus on building a leading global platform in high-value consumer packaging, strengthening its technology base and maintaining sound cost control programs.
The company will report second quarter results on May 24, 2001.
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