Portugal's Navigator reports 64% jump in Q4 net profit despite pandemic

LISBON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Portugal’s pulp and paper producer Navigator reported on Monday a 64% jump in its fourth quarter net profit, showing resilience in the face of new lockdown measures imposed in some European markets due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Navigator said it made a 34 million euro ($41.27 million)profit, significantly higher than the around 20 million euros posted during the same period last year.

“In an extremely troubled year, Navigator’s business model proved both flexible and resilient, adjusting swiftly to changes in the market and taking significant action to reduce its fixed and variable costs,” the firm said in a statement.

But Navigator, which sells more than 80% of its products to 130 countries on five continents and the rest to domestic clients, also said “demand for its products was hit hard by the pandemic and prices fell sharply”.

The company saw total sales fall 17.5% to 341 million euros in the fourth quarter of this year, but it only dropped 2% compared to the previous three months.

“Over the course of the fourth quarter, in a context of further partial lockdowns in several European countries, the group returned to its normal levels of output,” Navigator said.

EBITDA - earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation - stood at around 75 million euros, an increase of 4.5% from 2020.

In 2020 as a whole, the company’s profit fell 35.1% to 109 million euros, while EBITDA fell 23% to 285 million euros.

Navigator said its fixed costs fell 15% to 47 million euros in 2020 and personnel costs dropped 9.6% to 132 million euros. ($1 = 0.8238 euros) (Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)