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Cascades reverses yearearlier loss

KINGSEY FALLS, Que. — Cascades Inc. has reversed a year earlier loss to post a $6-million profit in the first quarter as the packaging and tissue maker saw revenue soar by more than $100 million.The Quebec-based company which makes its products mainly from recycled fibres, said Thursday that the earnings amounted to 6¢ per share. That compared with a year-earlier loss of $8 million or 8¢ per share.Sales revenue in the three months ended March 31 was $891-million, up from $774-million.President and CEO Alain Lemaire described the results as a “significant improvement,” but still “below our expectations due to a low level of productivity of our containerboard manufacturing operations.”Meanwhile, Lemaire said the company’s tissue papers group continued to perform well and its specialty products group had shown improvement.“During this past quarter, we benefited from lower recycled fibre costs and average selling prices have held for most of our products despite volatile demand,” Lemaire added.Looking ahead, he said the economic environment remains difficult in the near term, but “seems to be gaining momentum in North America, which is encouraging as we enter what have been historically our two strongest quarters of the year.”Shares of Cascades have fallen almost 36% on the Toronto Stock Exchange in the past year.With a file from the Financial Post

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