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Cascades Reports Improved Third Quarter Earnings

Nov. 8, 2006 - Cascades Inc. reports net earnings of $10 million ($0.12 per share) for the quarter ended September 30, 2006 or $17 million ($0.21 per share) excluding specific items(1). This compares to net earnings of $3 million ($0.04 per share) for the same period in 2005 or $2 million ($0.02 per share) excluding specific items(1).

Commenting on the quarterly results, Mr. Alain Lemaire, President and Chief Executive Officer stated: "We are pleased with the positive trend in our quarterly results which reflects our focus on less-performing assets, the partial implementation of price increases and generally higher shipments. While benefiting from relatively stable market conditions in our core segments of packaging and tissue, we have been able to reduce our cost structure and with the support of our employees, we will continue in this direction to better position ourselves for the future."

Three-month period ended September 30, 2006

Taking into account business acquisitions that occurred over the last twelve months, sales increased by 4% during the third quarter of 2006 amounting to $868 million compared to $834 million in 2005. Operating income from continuing operations amounted to $34 million or $41 million when excluding specific items. This compares to an amount of $8 million earned for the same period last year or $23 million when excluding specific items(1). Results from the Boxboard Group were particularly impacted by a lower contribution from the North-American sawmill and virgin pulp operations as well as by operational difficulties at the boxboard mill in La Rochette, France. The $10 million of net earnings earned during the third quarter includes, amongst others, an after-tax loss of $9 million which represents the closure costs of a specialty board mill located in France and a $2 million after-tax gain on the disposal of a non-core joint-venture interest.

Nine-month period ended September 30, 2006

Net earnings for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2006 were $49 million ($0.60 per share) or $39 million when excluding certain specific items ($0.48 per share). This compares with net earnings of $7 million ($0.09 per share) or $5 million when excluding certain specific items ($0.06 per share) for the corresponding period in 2005. Operating income from continuing operations amounted to $109 million or $113 million when excluding specific items. This compares to $61 million earned during the same period last year or $70 million when excluding specific items(1).

Outlook

Mr. Alain Lemaire, President and Chief Executive Officer added: "We remain cautious with regard to our expectations for the next few months, given the uncertainty surrounding US business conditions as well as seasonal patterns normally associated with the fourth quarter. Furthermore, we intend to make every effort to realize synergies anticipated in relation to the recent transactions and improve the overall profitability in our Boxboard Group. We will also continue to be proactive in managing our costs by focusing on less-performing assets while continuing to explore selective acquisition opportunities in our core segments."

SOURCE: Cascades Inc.




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