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posted a $28 million first-quarter loss, citing the weak economy and higher energy and fiber costs.

The per-share loss for the quarter came to 11 cents a share, including charges, compared with a loss of $484 million, or $2.10 a share, a year ago.

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Excluding items, the company lost $9 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with earnings of $70 million, or 30 cents a share, in the prior-year quarter. Analysts were expecting a loss of 4 cents a share. Unusual items included a pretax asset impairment charge of $74 million related to the closure of tissue manufacturing and converting operations, Georgia-Pacific said.

"Our first quarter 2003 results were negatively impacted by weak economic conditions in North America, higher energy and fiber costs, severe winter weather in the eastern United States and facility closures," said A. D. Correll, Georgia-Pacific's chief executive. "However, near the quarter's end, our businesses began to experience improved conditions, which is encouraging for the coming periods." Correll said the second quarter is historically a strong season for building materials.

Shipments and retail prices that were lower than a year ago also contributed to the segment's results. The company reduced its production by approximately 50,000 tons.

Revenue was $4.6 billion, compared with $5.8 billion in the first quarter last year.

Shares of the company closed at $13.97 Wednesday.