International Paper Beats

International Paper ( IP) managed to double its profit in the second quarter as the forestry and paper giant raised prices and lowered costs.

The Connecticut-based company, which was removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average in April, had net income of $193 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with $88 million, or 19 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue was $6.5 billion, compared with second-quarter 2003 sales of $6.1 billion

Earnings from continuing operations were 21 cents a share, vs. 18 cents a year ago. Special items in the quarter added up to 20 cents a share, including a pretax charge of $107 million for restructuring and other costs. Excluding items, the company earned 41 cents a share.

Analysts were expecting 38 cents a share, based on a Thomson First Call survey.

"Our volumes were up sharply, we realized higher average sales prices for wood products and we had lower interest expense. We also continued to improve the way we manage our costs," the company said. "Improving business conditions combined with excellent mill performance and our ongoing focus on cost management are contributing to our improved profitability."

The company did not offer specific earnings guidance, but said: "We expect the positive trend in business conditions will continue." The consensus estimates are for 51 cents a share for the current quarter and $1.62 a share for the year.

IP shares closed at $42.31 Friday.

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