Sappi shares surge 17% as interim profit more than doubles

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

SAPPI shares jumped as much as 17% on Monday after the pulp and paper producer more than doubled its first-half profit and reduced net debt.

The share price rose to its best level since February, adding about R6bn to its market value in less than two hours of trading.

Profit in the six months to March rose 119% to $175m despite sales falling 5% to $2.58bn.

Sappi has steadily made progress in repositioning its portfolio, which traditionally was focused on producing a coated paper used in glossy magazines.

It is now the world’s largest producer of dissolving wood pulp, primarily supplied to the textile industry.

Net debt, which analysts have previously cited as the company’s Achilles heel, reduced to $1.65bn at the end of March from $1.92bn previously.

The stock was up 16.18% at R71.80, valuing the company at R38.9bn.


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