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International Paper Q4 Profit Falls 16%

International Paper Co. (IP) said Tuesday that its fourth quarter profit fell 16% from last year, as higher costs and expenses more than offset an 11% increase in revenue.

However, the company's quarterly earnings per share, excluding items, came in above analysts' expectations as did its quarterly revenue.

"Our success capturing merger benefits from the Temple-Inland acquisition contributed to our fourth quarter results and IP's record cash generation from operations in 2012," said John Faraci, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of International Paper. "Given our runway levers and ability to execute, we are positioned to deliver a step-change in earnings as we move through 2013."

International Paper shares are currently trading at $41.88, down 24 cents.

For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2012, the Memphis, Tennessee-based paper and packaging company reported net income of $235 million or $0.53 per share, compared to $281 million or $0.65 per share for the year-ago quarter.

Excluding items, operating earnings in the latest quarter were $305 million or $0.69 per share.

On average, 14 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $0.65 per share for the fourth quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales for the fourth quarter rose 11% to $7.08 billion from $6.37 billion in the same quarter last year. Ten analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $6.97 billion for the fourth quarter.

Last month, International Paper agreed to sell its Temple-Inland building products unit to Georgia-Pacific LLC for $750 million in cash in order to focus on its paper and packaging business. International Paper took over the Temple-Inland building products unit when it bought smaller rival Temple-Inland Inc. for $3.7 billion earlier last year.

by RTT Staff Writer

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