International Paper

(IP) - Get Report

eked out a profit in the first quarter despite anemic demand that reflected bad weather and the war.

The company said it earned $44 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.1 billion, or $2.31 a share, last year. The year-ago quarter included a big accounting charge. Operating earnings were $68 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with $58 million, or 12 cents a share. Sales rose to $6.1 billion from $6.0 billion. The 14 cents was slightly better than analysts had been forecasting.

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The company said higher energy costs and extreme weather conditions raised fiber costs, but were offset by volume and pricing gains. "While we're still nowhere near where we want to be, our strong focus on internal improvements and customer service continues to positively impact our results," IP said.

First-quarter forest products operating profits were $161 million, up slightly from $156 million in the fourth quarter, as slightly improved lumber and plywood results offset lower harvest volumes and lower gains from land sales.