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1998 Annual Report

Re-energize the Business

Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation begins 1999 with optimism and a strong sense of purpose. With the merger completed and a new management team in place, the company will focus on strengthening its position as the industry leader in paper and paper-based packaging — known for its financial discipline, marketing expertise, and creative approach to solving customers' packaging problems.

     The key to re-energizing the business is a four-point strategy that will lead the company into the next decade. That strategy incorporates increasing shareholder value through aggressive debt reduction and improved financial performance; strengthening our leadership position by staying close to customers; managing for results by setting and meeting aggressive targets; and establishing a solid, robust organization with a single culture and set of values.
     Following the Smurfit-Stone merger, the new company took immediate steps, which included restructuring its manufacturing system by shutting down overlapping operations for the sake of trimming the system to the right competitive size. It will continue to rationalize its container plant operations.
     Ultimately, all of these actions will produce a new, invigorated, more cost-efficient organization with a singular focus and a stronger balance sheet. This will be accomplished by setting, pursuing, and achieving very precise financial targets in terms of debt reduction, divesting assets, and timing of key strategies. These targets will serve as the linchpin for a new approach to managing the business.

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