NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mercer International Inc. (Nasdaq:MERC) (TSX:MRI-U) today reported strong results for the fourth quarter and record results for the year ended December 31, 2010. Operating EBITDA in the fourth quarter of 2010 was €64.6 million ($87.8 million), compared to €23.5 million ($34.7 million) in the last quarter of 2009 and €65.5 million ($84.7 million) in the third quarter of 2010. In 2010, Operating EBITDA significantly increased fivefold to a record €224.0 million ($297.3 million) from €41.4 million ($57.7 million) in 2009. Operating EBITDA is defined on page 4 of this press release and reconciled to net income (loss) on page 8 of the financial tables in this press release.

We reported net income of €35.3 million ($48.0 million), or €0.84 ($1.14) per basic share, for the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to €2.7 million ($4.0 million), or €0.08 ($0.12) per basic share, in the last quarter of 2009 and €46.1 million ($59.6 million), or €1.17 ($1.51) per basic share, in the third quarter of 2010. For 2010, we reported net income of €86.3 million ($114.5 million), or €2.24 ($2.97) per basic share, compared to a net loss of €62.2 million ($86.7 million), or €1.71 ($2.38) per basic share, in 2009.

Summary Financial Highlights of the 2010 Fourth Quarter and Year End Results
  Q4 Q3 Q4 Year Year
   2010   2010   2009   2010    2009 
  (in millions of Euros, except where otherwise stated)
Pulp revenues € 232.2 € 224.7 € 154.9 € 856.3 € 577.3
Energy revenues  13.4  9.7  10.2  44.2  42.5
Operating income (loss)  50.4  51.4  9.8  167.7  (12.8)
Operating EBITDA (loss)  64.6  65.5  23.5  224.0  41.4
Unrealized gain (loss) on derivative instruments  12.4  0.5  5.1  1.9  (5.8)
Foreign exchange gain (loss) on debt  (1.5)  9.9  (1.8)  (6.1)  2.7
Income tax benefit (provision)  0.2  7.2  1.0  5.9  5.9
Net income (loss) attributable to common shareholders  35.3  46.1  2.7  86.3  (62.2)
Net income (loss) per share attributable to common shareholders          
Basic € 0.84 € 1.17 € 0.08 € 2.24 € (1.71)
Diluted € 0.63 € 0.82 € 0.07 € 1.56 € (1.71)
Common shares outstanding at period end (000s)  43,000  42,030  36,443  43,000  36,443

Summary Operating Highlights of the 2010 Fourth Quarter and Year End Results
  Q4 Q3 Q4 Year Year
   2010   2010   2009   2010    2009 
Pulp Production ('000 ADMTs)  356.2  380.9  356.9   1,426.3  1,397.4
Scheduled Production Downtime ('000 ADMTs)  –  8.3  14.0   43.5   52.1
Pulp Sales ('000 ADMTs)  386.0  344.8  351.8   1,428.6   1,445.5
NBSK pulp list price in Europe ($/ADMT)  957  980  787   938   667
NBSK pulp list price in Europe (€/ADMT)  704  758  533   707   478
Average pulp sales realizations (€/ADMT)  593  642  434   591   393
Energy Production ('000 MWh)  393.0  330.8  358.7   1,444.1  1,445.3
Energy Sales ('000 MWh)  149.7  119.1  116.0   520.0  478.7
Average Spot Currency Exchange Rates:          
€ / $ (1)  0.7361  0.7729  0.6774   0.7541   0.7176
C$ / $ (1)  1.0129   1.0385  1.0557   1.0298   1.1412
C$ / € (2)  1.3766  1.3438  1.5604   1.3671   1.5851
           
(1) Average Federal Reserve Bank of New York noon spot rate over the reporting period.
(2) Average Bank of Canada noon spot rate over the reporting period.

President's Comments

Mr. Jimmy S.H. Lee, President and Chairman, stated: "We are very pleased with the strong fourth quarter and overall yearly performance in 2010 as we achieved record annual pulp production and Operating EBITDA of €224.0 million. Fourth quarter Operating EBITDA of €64.6 million was down marginally from the record third quarter as a result of a slightly weaker U.S. dollar versus the Euro, extreme winter weather conditions in Germany and temporary equipment outages which negatively affected production at our German mills. Both the quarterly and yearly results reflect strong performances by all of our mills, including our Celgar mill which started to achieve our projected performance targets." 

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