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VENTURES AFRICA – JSE-listed paper and pulp giant, Sappi, on Monday said the past financial year had made the firm realise more than ever before the importance of ramping up profits as it would allow them reduce debt levels in the next year.
“The two major dissolving wood pulp conversion projects are now both contributing to earnings and profitability,” it said when it presented accounts for the quarter ended December 2013.
“…the paper businesses, although dealing with difficult market conditions, continue to generate cash that will enable us to reduce debt,” it continued.
The group, which is searching for a new CEO after the incumbent CEO, Ralph Boetger, resigned early last month due to a serious illness, said during the period under review European and South African businesses had been successfully turned around.
It is expecting to post further earnings increases in its paper businesses and plans to return North American paper businesses to good revenues are already afoot.
During the quarter under review, the group returned to positive earnings, posting profits before costs of $147 million and an operating profit of $60 million.