Sappi fourth quarter results positive

South African pulp and paper company Sappi reported a strong performance in its 2015 fourth quarter results.

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Full-year earnings per share, excluding special items, increased by 55% and net profits for the year increased by 24% to US$167 million (R2,4 billion).

Sappi CEO Steve Binnie said in a statement that he was satisfied with the performance of the group. All regions increased their profitability during the fourth quarter.

In rand terms, group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization excluding special items increased by approximately 8% from R7 billion to R7,5 billion. Group net profit increased 40% from R1,4 billion to R2 billion on group sales of R64,5 billion for the year.

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The company achieved higher average prices and volumes compared to both the equivalent quarter last year and the prior quarter. Demand for virgin fibre paper packaging grades remained satisfactory, and the recycled container board market showed signs of improvement.

According to Binnie, the markets for graphic paper and dissolving wood pulp have improved since the third quarter. The group also benefitted from strong export performance combined with a weaker rand.