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International Paper


posted third-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates by a penny, and the company disclosed plans to scale down operations.

Excluding items, the paper and forest products company earned $260 million, or 53 cents a share, up 15% from $193 million, or 46 cents a share, in the same period last year. According to

First Call/Thomson Financial

, 10 analysts expected the company to earn 52 cents a share.

Third-quarter net sales rose to $7.8 billion from last year's figure of $6.3 billion.

International Paper also said it will close three mills and scale back one plant. The moves will reduce production capacity by 1.2 million tons a year in the uncoated paper, market pulp, unbleached Kraft paper and containerboard businesses. The affected facilities include mills in Mobile and Courtland, Ala.; Lock Haven, Pa.; and Camden, Ark. About 2,500 workers will be affected by the shudowns.

Shares of International Paper recently climbed $1.25, or 4.7%, to $28.06 on the

New York Stock Exchange