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CHH Announces Strong Year End Result

CHH Announces Strong Year End Result

Carter Holt Harvey today announced its December quarter result finishing a strong performance for 2002. Consolidated net earnings for the year ended 31 December 2002 were $137 million, compared with $25 million for the same period last year. Operating EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) was $333 million, up 101% on the previous year.

The December quarter’s operating earnings were a good result at $82 million, given the normal impact of the holiday season and low pulp prices.

Net earnings were $4 million after the company took restructuring costs and one-off expenses of $47 million.

These mainly related to the Kinleith reorganisation to make the mill internationally competitive and an early repayment of bonds to reduce interest costs. Carter Holt Harvey CEO Peter Springford said the strong full year result reflects improved operational performances across the board, higher realisations for logs, and the buoyant housing market.

“Our 2002 operating result is good progress. It reflects our excellent regional market positions and the hard work that is going into ensuring international competitiveness. This focus will continue in 2003.”

“During the year the company also reduced health and safety incidents by 15% and made gains in building a performance culture, as shown by an increase in our Gallup culture survey score.”

“Strong cash flows from our operations, reduced capital expenditure and working capital have resulted in a strong balance sheet. The company’s net debt to total capitalisation is now 19%, a great position to be in given mixed indicators for global markets.”

The company finishes the year focussed on Australasian based manufacturing and international marketing of wood fibre based products. This focus was strengthened in 2002 with the sale of its paper distribution businesses, an agreement to sell its Chile plastics business and the purchase of the MDF plant in Tasmania which settled in December. The company’s Board of Directors declared a final dividend of NZ 3 cents per share to be fully credited with dividend withholding payment and conduit tax relief credits, to be paid on 3 March 2003.

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