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Jan 31, 2019

Resolute shares plunge after earnings release

Resolute Forest

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MONTREAL -- Shares of Resolute Forest Products Inc. closed down about 12 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the company released disappointing fourth quarter results.

The company, which reports in U.S. dollars, reported Thursday a net income of $36 million, or 38 cents per diluted share for the quarter ending Dec. 31, compared with net income of $13 million or 14 cents per share for the same period a year earlier.

Excluding special items, such as a $141-million gain from asset sales, net income was $4 million or four cents per diluted share, down from $14 million or 15 cents per share for the fourth quarter in 2017.

The earnings per share were far below the 51 cents per share expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

"We experienced significantly weaker pricing for lumber in the quarter, unforeseen operational disruptions, planned maintenance, as well as higher energy and wood costs," said CEO Yves Laflamme in a statement.

"With our optimized asset base, we were able to deliver strong annual performance with the positive market dynamics in the year, despite cost headwinds and a soft lumber market in the fourth quarter," he said.

Full year adjusted net income came in at $183 million, compared with analyst expectations of $205.4 million.

The company's shares closed down $1.47, or 12.37 per cent, at $10.41 on the TSX.

Lumber prices have fallen steeply in recent months as the U.S. housing market shows signs of slowing after a run-up to record lumber prices last summer.