Yesterday, the JSE-listed group said underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) were down by 18percent to 383million (R6.39billion) compared to 466m reported in the same quarter last year.
Third quarter Ebitda was also down compared to the second quarter earnings of 423m.
“Lower average selling prices from the highs reached towards the end of 2018 and into early 2019, coupled with the anticipated lower forestry fair value gain, more than offset the benefits of its ongoing profit improvement initiatives,” the group said.
The group's like-for-like sales volumes were, on average, marginally lower than the comparable prior year period as a result of lower industrial bags and uncoated fine paper volumes. It said this was partly offset by growth in corrugated packaging.