Drop In Newsprint Demand Hurts Bowater

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(AP) Bowater Inc., the nation’s second-largest newsprint maker, said a severe drop in demand led fourth quarter earnings to fall 68%.

The company said a 10% drop in average newsprint prices for the fourth quarter led to earnings of $18.7 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with $58.5 million, or $1.12 a share, for the same period in 2000. Sales rose to $700.3 million from $657.9 million a year earlier.

The company said without one-time gains in the quarter, it would have reported a $36 million loss.

“Our poor financial results reflect the worst industry conditions in decades,” said Arnold M. Nemirow, chairman, president, and chief executive. “The unprecedented decline in advertising expenditures for the print media during 2001 had a major impact on demand and pricing levels for our company’s paper products.”

For the full year, Bowater reported net income of $73.2 million, or $1.37 per share, compared with net income of $159.4 million, or $3.02 per share in 2000. Sales totaled $2.45 billion, compared with $2.5 billion in the previous year.

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