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Copyright © 2000 Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation
Smurfit-Stone Reports 2nd Quarter Gain Of $.17 Per
CHICAGO, July 24, 2000 -- Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation (Nasdaq: SSCC) reported net income of $38 million, or $.17 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2000, compared to a net loss of $25 million, or $.12 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 1999. The quarterly results include the impact of a $.10 per share cost to close the company's York, PA, containerboard mill, and Torrington, CT, corrugated container plant, partly offset by a gain of $.03 per share on the disposal of newsprint assets. Sales for the three-month period were $2,031 million, compared to $1,730 million in the second quarter of 1999.
Smurfit-Stone's sales and earnings include the results of St. Laurent Paperboard Inc., from June 1 through June 30. The company acquired St. Laurent on May 31.
For the first half ended June 30, Smurfit-Stone reported net income of
$78 million, or $.35 per diluted share, compared to a year-ago loss of
$113 million, or $.52 per diluted share. Sales for the 2000 half-year
were $3,896 million, compared to $3,435 million registered during the
first half of 1999.
"The improvement resulted primarily from higher average corrugated box prices resulting from the successful implementation of containerboard and container price increases beginning in March," Curran said. "In addition, the company's folding carton business had a strong quarter, increasing carton volume and prices as well as improving mix and efficiency."
Curran said the company's second quarter performance was strong despite higher prices for recycled fiber than first quarter and year-ago levels. Smurfit-Stone also took 308,000 tons of containerboard mill downtime during the quarter, including 187,000 tons to adjust its inventories. This had a negative impact of about $.12 per share.
Strong cash flow from operations and the sale of the Port Wentworth, GA, mill in May enabled the company to achieve $200 million in debt reduction during the second quarter. Total debt was $5.7 billion on June 30, 2000, reflecting additional debt of $1.025 billion to finance the acquisition of St. Laurent Paperboard Inc.
Looking ahead, Curran said, "Recycled fiber costs are quite a bit lower at this point than they were in the second quarter, and packaging prices are firm. The combination of these factors should have a favorable impact on third quarter results."
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Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation is the premier manufacturer of paper- and paperboard-based packaging. Smurfit-Stone holds industry-leading positions in the production of containerboard (including white-top linerboard and recycled medium), corrugated containers, industrial bags, and clay-coated recycled boxboard; and is the world's largest paper recycler. In addition, Smurfit-Stone is a leading producer of folding cartons, solid bleached sulfate, paper tubes and cores, and labels. The company operates more than 300 facilities worldwide and employs approximately 40,000 people.
This press release contains statements relating to future results, which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in general economic conditions, continued pricing pressures in key product lines, seasonality and higher recycled fiber costs, as well as other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.