M-real's third-quarter result before taxes moves into the black (28 October, 2005)

M-real Corporation Stock Exchange Bulletin 28.10.2005 at 1.00 p.m

M-real's consolidated result before taxes, excluding non-recurring items,
improved in the third quarter to EUR 1 million from a loss of EUR 124 million
in the previous quarter. The operating result net of non-recurring items
improved to EUR 20 million, from a loss of EUR 57 million. Profitability was
improved mainly by the rise in the price of coated magazine paper, the increase
in the volume of coated fine paper delivered and the ending of the labour
dispute that had disrupted the Finnish paper industry. 
 
All in all, the labour dispute in Finland is estimated to have cut EUR 15-20
million off of the third-quarter operating result. The figure takes into
account the lost delivery volumes, the positive effect on earnings of the
return of product stocks to a normal level, the effects on fixed costs as well
as Metsä-Botnia's lower operating result. In the second quarter, the total
effect was a decrease of about EUR 70 million in the operating result. 
 
Key figures for the third quarter of 2005, excluding non-recurring items:
- Operating result: EUR 20 million (a loss of 57 million in the previous
quarter) 
- Result before taxes: EUR 1 million (a loss of 124 million)
- Earnings per share: EUR 0.01 (0.32 negative)
- Return on capital employed: 2.3 per cent (0.3 negative)
 
Key figures for the third quarter of 2005:
- Turnover: EUR 1,269 million (1,259 million)
- Operating result: EUR 20 million (a loss of 72)
- Result before taxes: EUR 1 million (a loss of 143 million)
- Result for the report period: EUR 2 million (a loss of 121).
- Earnings per share: EUR 0.01 (0.37 negative)
- Return on capital employed: 2.3 per cent (5.7 negative)
- Equity ratio: 37.4 per cent (38.4)
- Gearing ratio: 87 per cent (85)
 
- Volume of paperboard delivered: 226,000 (231,000); volume of paper delivered:
991,000 (999,000) 
 
The third-quarter result before taxes was improved by a valuation gain on
interest rate derivatives of EUR 11 million owing to the rise in the level of
interest rates. In the previous quarter, a valuation loss of EUR 17 million was
booked on the corresponding instruments. Operating profit in the second quarter
was also burdened by a one-off expense provision of EUR 15 million to cover the
efficiency-boosting programme in Sweden. 
 
The cumulative result before taxes for January-September was a loss of EUR 65
million. During the corresponding period last year a loss of EUR 69 million was
posted. Excluding non-recurring items the result weakened by EUR 62 million to
a loss of EUR 131 million, particularly due to the losses caused by the labour
disputes, the weakening in the United States dollar and the British pound, the
fall in the price of uncoated fine paper, the rise in oil-based raw material
prices as well as the higher energy costs. 
 
Commenting on the progress of M-real's cost-savings programme and the market
situation for its main products, President & CEO Hannu Anttila said: 
 
"M-real's 230 million euro savings and efficiency-boosting programme is
progressing in line with targets, and we are actively looking for new areas
where savings can be realized." 
 
"After the labour dispute in the Finnish paper industry came to an end, demand
for most grades of paper and paperboard has been good and the market balance
more favourable. The revival in our volumes of packaging board delivered has
nevertheless been slower than forecast, but we believe the situation will
improve during the latter part of the year. Within coated magazine paper, we
have a strong order book at present and price increases have been put through.
Sales volumes of coated fine paper have developed favourably and prices have
been rather steady. Within office papers, the company has succeeded in raising
the prices of the lowest quality grades." 
 
"The efficiency improvement of the Map paper merchanting business has proceeded
according to plans. Integrating the functions of the Modo Merchants chain into
James McNaughton - a process that was started towards the end of last year -
was seen to completion." 
 
In the last quarter of the year, demand for the company's main products is
forecast to remain good. Deliveries are estimated to increase in the Consumer
Packaging and Publishing business areas, where the labour dispute lowered the
volume of deliveries in the third quarter. Average prices of coated magazine
paper and uncoated fine paper are estimated to rise slightly. No significant
change is expected in the price of coated fine paper, and the price of folding
boxboard is expected to remain stable. The fourth quarter result before taxes,
excluding non-recurring items, is not estimated to differ significantly from
the previous quarter. The full-year result before taxes will be in the red. 
 
M-REAL CORPORATION
 
Corporate Communications
 
For further information please contact Hannu Anttila, President and CEO, tel.
+358 10 469 4343 or Juhani Pöhö, Executive Vice President and CFO, tel. +358 10
469 5283. 



M-real Corporation, headquartered in Finland and employing some 16,000 people,
is a European paper and paperboard company, providing premium solutions for
consumer packaging, communications and advertising end-uses. Through its
worldwide sales network, M-real serves its customers who mostly comprise
publishers, printers, paper merchants, offices and well-known consumer product
companies and carton printers. M-real is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
Its turnover in 2004 was EUR 5.5 billion. 

www.m-real.com

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Metsä Groupwww.metsagroup.com Metsä Group is a forerunner in sustainable bioeconomy utilising renewable wood from sustainably managed northern forests. Metsä Group focuses on wood supply and forest services, wood products, pulp, fresh fibre paperboards and tissue and cooking papers. Metsä Group’s sales totalled EUR 4.7 billion in 2016, and it employs approximately 9,300 people. The Group operates in some 30 countries. Metsäliitto Cooperative is the parent company of Metsä Group and is owned by approximately 104,000 Finnish forest owners.

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