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Industry News » Catalyst\'s loss widens on loonie, fires
OTTAWA — Catalyst Paper's second-quarter net loss was nearly four times the size of its first-quarter drop, the company said Monday, blaming downtime and a strong Canadian dollar for the decline.

Catalyst, a pulp and paper manufacturer based in Richmond, B.C., reported a net loss of $47.4 million, or 13 cents a common share, compared with a net loss of $368.4 million, or 96 cents a common share.

Catalyst's net loss in the first quarter was $12.9 million, or three cents a common share.

Revenue for the quarter was $297.8 million, a slight decline from the $299.4 million in sales in the year-ago quarter, and down from sales of $303.6 million in the first quarter.

Before restructuring costs, and before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization (EBITDA), the earnings loss in the second quarter was $3.9 million, the company said.

“We took steps to address mill productivity and to strengthen our order book in the face of very challenging currency and market conditions,” said president and CEO Kevin J. Clarke. “While our pulp business performed well in the quarter, the unforeseeable factor of fires at two mills hurt paper production and sales in what we had already indicated would be a heavy scheduled-maintenance quarter.”

A stronger Canadian dollar and higher fibre prices also negatively affected results, the company said.

Capital upgrades meant to increase the energy efficiency at Catalyst's facilities in Port Alberni and Powell River are on track to be completed by March, 2012, before the federal funding credits for the work runs out. The upgrades are expected to save the company $5 million a year.

The company said it expects demand to increase in the second half of the year for coated and uncoated mechanical grades, while demand for directory and newsprint are expected to continue to decline. Fewer orders from China in the third quarter will slow demand for some pulp products, Catalyst said.
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