Sales of $273.9 million were negatively impacted by 8,000 tonnes of paper that were not shipped in the quarter due to the extended container truck driver strike at Port Metro Vancouver.
Catalyst recorded net earnings before specific items of $6.5 million in 1Q compared to $1.7 million the previous quarter. Including specific items, the net loss for the quarter was $3.8 million, the majority of which was a non-cash foreign exchange loss on long term debt, versus a net loss of $95 million for the 4Q. Prior quarter results reflected an $86.9 million non-cash impairment adjustment to the carrying value of goodwill and fixed assets.
"We are starting to see the positive impact of cost control, improved safety and productivity in our operations," said Catalyst President and CEO Joe Nemeth. "While the domestic paper market remains challenging, we continue to grow our market share in freight-logical, niche markets for coated mechanical and lightweight newsprint. Pulp markets are holding steady and as long as we keep up the strides we are making in productivity and cost control, we are well-positioned for the future."
North American paper demand fell in all the grades that the company supplies, a combination of secular declines as well as publishers and retailers entering the seasonally slower time of the year. Benchmark prices for our specialty papers declined slightly, while newsprint remained flat.
Demand for lightweight newsprint in Latin America and coated specialty papers in western North American niche markets continues to support the company's sales and marketing focus in growing market share in these product lines.
For NBSK pulp, the benchmark price increased $16 per metric tonne as supply and demand conditions continued to be positive.
Catalyst Paper manufactures diverse specialty mechanical printing papers, newsprint and pulp.