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Boise Cascade Posts a Loss

Boise Cascade (BCC) reported a second-quarter loss on Thursday, reversing a profit in the 2002 quarter, but the results exceeded Wall Street's expectations.

The paper and forest-products manufacturer, which recently announced plans to acquire OfficeMax (OMX), lost $3.9 million, or 12 cents a share, for the quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call predicted a loss of 25 cents a share, on average. The company earned $3.2 million a year ago. In the first quarter, Boise lost $27.5 million, or 53 cents a share. Revenue rose to $1.93 billion from $1.89 billion a year ago.

While the company's office-solutions unit saw gains in the quarter compared with last year, the building and paper-making units lost ground. The office-solutions unit earned $23.9 million on an operating basis, up from last year's $23.4 million.

The building unit saw operating income of $9.8 million for the quarter, compared with last year's $14 million. After a wet and cold spring, especially in the eastern U.S., the company said the building season finally got underway in the second quarter, but the improvement came too late to help the quarter's results.

The paper-making unit posted operating income of $1 million, compared with $8.8 million in the second quarter of 2002. The company said its results were low because a 5% increase in average paper prices was more than offset by a 12% decline in sales volume and higher manufacturing costs.

"We expect all three of Boise's businesses to show improved results in the third quarter," Chairman and Chief Executive George J. Harad said in a statement. "Sales and income in our office products business typically strengthen from second-quarter levels and should again this year."

He also said the company doesn't expect its planned acquisition of OfficeMax to have any effect on its third-quarter operating financial performance because the transaction won't be completed before the fourth quarter.

Shares of Boise Cascade were recently up 6 cents to $23.57 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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