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Sappi swings to profit

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By Reuters

South African paper maker Sappi posted a return to fourth-quarter profit on Thursday and said it expects a tough year ahead due to growth uncertainty in its key markets.

Sappi, the world's largest maker of fine paper used in glossy magazines, reported diluted headline earnings per share of 12 US cents for the quarter to end September from a loss of 8 US cents a year earlier.

Headline earnings are the main profit gauge in South Africa and exclude certain one-off and non-trading items.

The company said operating profit, excluding special items, for the quarter rose to $118 million compared with $80 million last year.

The company said it expected trading conditions to remain tough for the next 12 months due to the uncertainty in global markets and the timing of any meaningful economic recovery in its major markets.

Sappi shares were up 1.74 percent to 25.20 rand as of 09:19 SA time, compared with a 0.32 percent fall in the broader All-share index. - Reuters

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