Cascades reports $8-million first-quarter loss, sales up at $914 million

KINGSEY FALLS, Que. – Cascades Inc. (TSX:CAS) said Thursday it lost $8 million in its latest quarter compared with a profit a year ago despite an increase in revenue, but signalled the second half of the year should be better.

“As we expected, the first quarter of 2013 was similar to what we experienced towards the end of 2012,” Cascades executive chairman Alain Lemaire said in a statement.

“This quarter was marked by weaker results in the tissue papers sector and a negative contribution from our boxboard activities in North America that offset the benefits from improved productivity and price increases in our containerboard activities.”

The loss amounted to nine cents per share for the quarter ended March 31 compared with a profit of $3 million or three cents per share a year ago.

Sales were $914 million, up from $891 million.

The company said a favourable foreign exchange rate and higher shipments counterbalanced lower average selling prices.

In the company’s outlook, Lemaire said that strategic initiatives Cascades took last year should translate into a better performance in the second half.

“In the short term, our containerboard sector should perform better due to seasonality and improved productivity. Furthermore, the price hike announced in fourth quarter of 2012 has been fully implemented and will be reflected for a full quarter in the second quarter.

“In addition, the current market environment leads us to believe that the second price increase will be successful.”

Cascades produces and sells packaging and tissue products from mostly recycled fibres.