Sanoma Says European Paper Prices Will Rise Less Than Planned

Sanoma Oyj (SAA1V), the biggest publicly traded Nordic media company, rejected the European paper industry's plans to lift paper prices by as much as 20 percent next year.

``We are a very big purchaser of paper in the Finnish and European marketplace,'' Chief Financial Officer Kim Ignatius said today at a conference organized by Morgan Stanley in Barcelona. ``There isn't one paper price for all the customers. Our estimates are much, much lower than the paper industry's.''

The European paper industry is trying to push through price increases for newsprint and magazine paper after they have fallen as much as 25 percent since 2001, saying capacity reductions outpace the slide in demand. Norske Skogindustrier ASA (NSG), the world's second-biggest newsprint company, said last month it planned to raise newsprint prices about 15 percent to 20 percent in Europe. Stora Enso Oyj (STERV) and UPM-Kymmene Oyj, Europe's two biggest paper makers, have also announced plans to raise prices.

Ignatius said Helsinki-based Sanoma's annual paper bill is about 6 percent to 7 percent of total sales. The company is among the biggest magazine publishers in Europe and its Helsingin Sanomat daily has the highest circulation in the Nordic region. Stora Enso and UPM are also based in the Finnish capital.

To contact the reporter on this story: Juho Erkheikki in Barcelona at jerkheikki@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lars Klemming at lklemming@bloomberg.net; Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net

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