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Carter Holt operating earnings hit 5-year high

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Thursday 3rd August 2000

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Carter Holt Harvey says its operating earnings in the quarter to the end of June hit $120 million, the highest for any quarter in nearly five years.

Net earnings also rose dramatically from $13 million to $90 million - a jump of nearly 600%.

Nearly all divisions posted better results.

Forests almost doubled earnings before interest and tax, rising to $50 million from $26 million, thanks to increased log volumes, better prices for both export and domestic markets and a lower exchange rate.

Wood Products sales bounded up to $310 million compared with $199 million in last June's quarter, with an EBIT of $31 million -- more than triple last year's result.

The company says its pulp & paper business completed an outstanding quarter with EBIT up by $51m compared with last year and $14m ahead of the March quarter.

Packaging was one of the few dull spots in the results, with sales slightly higher than last year's June quarter, but earnings remaining static.

Despite the good result CEO Chris Liddell says the future outlook is mixed, with the Asian markets for pulp and logs remaining solid but a slowdown in construction in both New Zealand and Australia.

CAH says the Australian panels business and sawmill, which it bought in May for A$330 million, made an immediate contribution to earnings and generally exceeded management's expectations.

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