May 8, 2008 / 11:56 AM / in 10 years

Cascades slips to loss in first quarter

TORONTO (Reuters) - Cascades Inc (CAS.TO) said on Thursday it had slipped to a first-quarter loss, blaming higher fiber costs, a stronger Canadian dollar, and “challenging” conditions in the boxboard and tissue paper sectors.

The packaging and paper products company said it lost C$4 million, or 4 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31. That compared to a profit of C$22 million, or 22 Canadian cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding items such as restructuring and merger costs, Cascades lost 9 Canadian cents per share, compared to a year-earlier profit of 5 Canadian cents.

Earlier this year, Cascades announced it would integrate its North American boxboard business with its containerboard operations, saying the move would improve profitability.

“We are convinced this move will create a stronger packaging group that will be better able to respond to the needs of the market,” Alain Lemaire, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Quarterly sales slipped to C$959 million from C$1 billion.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Renato Andrade

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