Finnish forestry firm UPM's profit falls more than expected

Credit: REUTERS/Bob Strong

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HELSINKI, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Finnish paper and pulp producer UPM UPM.HE reported on Tuesday a bigger-than-expected fall in quarterly profits due to weak paper markets and low pulp prices, sending its share down more than 4% as markets opened in Helsinki.

UPM, which announced vast job cuts in the quarter, said its earnings per share for July-September fell to 0.15 euros from 0.46 euros a year earlier, missing the 0.29 euros expected on average by analysts in a Refinitiv Eikon poll.

Third-quarter sales tumbled 19% to 2.03 billion euros ($2.40 billion) due to lower deliveries of graphic papers and lower pulp and paper prices.

UPM's comparable earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were down 37% year-on-year, at 215 million euros.

"Demand for UPM Communications Papers has been most severely affected by COVID-19-related measures," Chief Executive Jussi Pesonen said in a statement, adding market prices for paper used in advertisements and publications had decreased by 5%.

UPM said it expected comparable EBIT to be significantly lower in 2020 than in 2019.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Mark Potter)

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