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Clearwater Paper reports higher earnings, lower sales

Clearwater Paper Corp. on July 25 reported second quarter net earnings of $21.5 million, or 91 cents per diluted share, up 54.6 percent from $13.9 million or 59 cents per share a year earlier.

Net sales dropped 4.25 percent to $473.6 million. The Spokane, Wash.-based company in November sold its sawmill in Lewiston, where it has a pulp and paper mill. Clearwater also used more pulp in its own operations instead of selling it.

Analysts on average expected Clearwater to earn 85 cents per share on $467.61 million in revenue, Yahoo Finance reported.

Cost savings from Clearwater’s late 2010 acquisition of Cellu Tissue are ahead of estimates, and sales from Clearwater’s consumer products unit have been strong, Chairman and CEO Gordon Jones said in a conference call with analysts.

Pulp and paperboard net sales declined 15.5 percent from last year, when the company saw record high volume, Jones said. Paperboard volume dropped 4.3 percent. Pulp sales dropped 73 percent due to increased internal use and a 30 percent drop in selling prices.

Consumer product net sales increased 5.2 percent on higher prices and volumes, including a 3.3 percent increase in tissue sales volume.

Selling, general and administrative expenses increased by 11 percent. Operating expenses fell 6.9 percent.

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