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Stora Enso Says Earnings Satisfactory in the Face of Difficult Markets

Press release from the issuing company

HELSINKI, Finland, Jan. 30 -- Stora Enso today announced results for year 2001. Stora Enso's earnings per share for October - December were EUR 0.22 (EUR 0.23) and cash earnings per share EUR 0.58 (EUR 0.58), excluding non-recurring items in both cases. Sales were EUR 3 282.9 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and goodwill amortisation (EBITDA), excluding non-recurring items, totalled EUR 609.4 million. Operating profit, excluding non-recurring items, was EUR 286.8 million, 15.4% less than in the third quarter and equalling 8.7% of sales. The decrease was attributable to seasonal and market-related production curtailments, as well as to down time for machine rebuilds. Production curtailments amounted to 625 000 tonnes, of which 485 000 tonnes were due to the weak market (507 000 tonnes in the third quarter). Profit before taxes and minority interests amounted to EUR 249.2 (EUR 305.6) million and net profit for the period to EUR 274.5 (EUR 213.7) million. Full year sales rose to EUR 13 508.8 million, up 3.8% on the previous year mainly as a result of Consolidated Papers. Operating profit excluding non-recurring items was EUR 1 495.2 million or 11.1% of sales, a decrease of 22.4%, due to lower sales volumes and prices as well as increased depreciation. Profit before tax and minority interests was EUR 1 223.0 million and net profit for the period EUR 926.3 million. Earnings per share were EUR 0.94 and cash earnings per share EUR 2.34, excluding non-recurring items in both cases. Commenting on the outlook for 2002, Stora Enso's CEO Jukka Harmala said, "Market sensitivity generally has increased as production curtailments and de-stocking have emptied inventories. However, a pick-up in paper and board demand is conditional on a firm improvement in the global economy. Stora Enso will continue to adjust its capacity to market demand. Once demand improves, Stora Enso will be in a good position to benefit from the full effects of synergies in North America, and the extensive restructuring and rebuild projects realised in recent years."