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Tembec’s loss nearly doubles on flat sales, Temiscaming costs up

Tembec Inc. reported Monday that its net loss nearly doubled to $26-million in its most recent quarter on flat revenues.

The Montreal-based forest products company lost 26 cents per share for the period ended March 30, compared to 14 cents per share or $14-million a year earlier. Sales were unchanged at $407-million.

Included in the results was a $22-million non-cash impairment charge for a B.C. pulp mill up for sale.

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Adjusting for one-time items, RBC analyst Paul Quinn said Tembec earned $3-million or three cents per share. Analysts had on average expected the company to break even.

Tembec also announced Monday a nearly 24-per-cent increase in the cost of the upgrade to its specialty cellulose mill in Temiscaming, Que.

The project will cost $235-million, up from $190-million when the project was announced in March 2012. A total of $94-million has been spent on the project.

The replacement of three low-pressure boilers with a single boiler to burn waste sulphite liquor generated in the cellulose manufacturing process is slated to be completed in September 2014.

The company said the increased cost stemmed mainly from its decision to buy a larger boiler. The financial benefits of the project have also been increased by $6-million to $48-million.

The company said its specialty cellulose pulp segment's performance was weaker in the quarter, earning $14-million on $120-million of sales, half the adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amoritization of a year ago on a 10 per cent drop in sales.

The lumber and paper pulp businesses reversed last year's combined $24-million in adjusted EBITDA losses.

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Lumber earned $7-million, while paper pulp earned $4-million on $104-million and $122-million of revenues respectively.

Paper segment earnings increased by $1-million to reach $5-million on a 6.3 per increase in revenues to $87-million.

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