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Central Wisconsin paper mills' Canadian parent reports Q4 loss


MONTREAL (WTAQ) - A Canadian firm with paper mills in central Wisconsin reported a 31 percent loss in its net earnings for the final quarter of last year.

Domtar of Montreal said its net income was $19 million U.S. dollars from October through December, down from $61 million in the same quarter a year ago. The quarterly earnings totaled 54 cents a share, down from $1.63 a share the previous year.

Domtar CEO John Williams cited lower average selling prices for pulp and paper, higher unit costs for fiber and energy, higher freight and maintenance costs, and lower pulp and paper volumes.

Domtar employs about 450 people at a mill in Nekoosa, and another 400 in Rothschild south of Wausau.

For the year as a whole, Domtar reported earnings of $4.76 a share – just over half of 2011’s total earnings of $9.08 a share.

Williams said Domtar completed two acquisitions in its personal care business. It also announced the conversion of a mill to make specialty papers, and started projects providing alternative uses for wood fiber and byproducts.