LISBON, May 28 (Reuters) - Portugal's pulp and paper
producer Navigator reported on Friday a 23% fall in
its first quarter net profit to 23.5 million euros, as demand
dropped due to intense coronavirus lockdowns in the main
destination countries for its exports.
Navigator said sales fell 16% to 340.8 million euros in the
first three months of this year, but they remained almost stable
compared to the previous quarter.
The company sells more than 80% of its products to 130
countries on five continents and the rest to domestic clients.
It said in a statement that "the beginning of 2021 continued
to be marked by severe adversity with an intense lockdown until
the end of the quarter in most of the group's main markets",
hurting the demand for paper in Europe and the United States.
Navigator said that in 2020 lockdowns in these markets only
started to impact economies by the end of the first quarter.
"Despite the uncertain future, the prospects for the next
quarter are that there will be an improvement in the pulp, paper
and tissue sectors as the (global) economy recovers and
vaccination plans are implemented", Navigator said.
Its EBITDA - earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation
and amortisation stood at 70.6 million euros, a drop of 20% from
the first quarter last year.
The operating margin - EBITDA/sales - went down to 20.7% in
the first quarter versus 22% in the previous quarter and 21.8%
in the same quarter of 2020.
Navigator said that "it will continue to act on the
variables that are within its reach," namely in the management
of its fixed and variable costs.
Third party supply and service costs fell to 89.4 million
euros in the first quarter of 2021, compared with 109.5 million
euros a year earlier.
(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by David Gregorio)