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POPE & TALBOT EXPECTS SHARP INCREASE IN FIRST-QUARTER EARNINGS

 PORTLAND, Ore., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Pope & Talbot Inc. (NYSE: POP) today stated that it expected 1993 first-quarter earnings to exceed 75 cents per share. This would be a sharp increase from both last year's first-quarter earnings of 1 cent per share and the final three months of 1992, when the company earned 25 cents per share.
 The reason earnings are advancing sharply is a dramatic increase in lumber prices since year end. The price changes have been steadily upward to the point where prices for lumber sold from its Port Gamble, Wash., sawmill now are about 50 percent higher than at year end, while the increase in Canadian lumber prices has been about 70 percent. The price explosion has been particularly beneficial to Pope & Talbot because lumber activities represent about 45 percent of consolidated sales for the company. Pope & Talbot has nearly 800 million board feet of lumber capacity, and more capacity per common share than most, if not all, of its competitors.
 There have been relatively few changes in Pope & Talbot's other businesses. Market pulp prices have declined since year end; a weak tissue market is essentially unchanged; and disposable diapers are ahead of the fourth quarter's very satisfactory rate of earnings.
 Peter T. Pope, chairman, president and chief executive officer, stated, "These lumber price advances are a direct result of increasing demand from an improving economy and housing industry meeting a supply system which cannot
respond because of log shortage." He continued, "Sawmills that in the past could have been expected to add production shifts either cannot do so this time, or already are shut down because of log shortages.
 "Another contributing factor is the 6.5-percent tariff imposed last year on Canadian lumber imported into the United States," he said. Pope continued, "Lumber prices have always been volatile, but this time the up cycle may last longer because of log shortages and the tariff. For these same reasons, when the price correction comes, it should not be nearly as severe as in past cycles." He concluded, "Pope & Talbot's exposure in lumber, and particularly purchase of the Castlegar, British Columbia, mill about one year ago, will be very valuable to earnings in 1993, and probably beyond."
 Pope & Talbot Inc. is a publicly held, Portland-based paper, pulp and wood products company traded on the NYSE. Pope & Talbot was founded in 1849 and has operations throughout the United States and in Canada.
 -0- 3/18/93
 /CONTACT: C. Lamadrid of Pope & Talbot, 503-228-9161/
 (POP)


CO: Pope & Talbot Inc. ST: Oregon IN: PAP SU: ERP

LM-JB -- SE004 -- 7460 03/18/93 11:49 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 18, 1993
Words:433
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