MONTREAL - Resolute Forest Products Inc. has reported a net loss of $5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, on sales of $1.074 billion. This compares to net income of $23 million on sales of $1.054 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, 2012. "Our efforts to restructure mills and machines during the last two years will lower our manufacturing costs, which will help to mitigate the challenges facing the North American forest products industry," said CEO Richard Garneau.

The wood products segment generated operating income of $16 million during the quarter, up $2 million from the fourth quarter. Average transaction price improved $36 per thousand board feet, but shipments were down 3% as a result of limited rail car availability. Operating costs per thousand board feet were 8% higher in the quarter because of higher wood costs -- mainly increases in stumpage fees, which are linked to lumber selling prices -- lower wood chip selling prices and a $4 million favorable inventory adjustment in the fourth quarter.

“Recent demand and pricing trends in the pulp market are giving us reason for cautious optimism that it is gaining momentum after its prolonged slump,” Garneau added . “Finally, lumber pricing has been strong, and we expect it to remain at or near current levels, as shipments from Canadian producers continue to be limited by strained supply chains from the increase in demand."

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