• Kyodo News

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Oji Paper Co. said Friday its group pretax profit for the April-September first half of the fiscal year fell 16.8 percent from the previous year to 27.11 billion yen as raw material and fuel costs rose faster than sales, which expanded 8.5 percent to 622.26 billion yen.

But its group net profit increased 3.4 percent to 5.77 billion yen thanks to extra gains on securities sales. Oji attracted attention with its failed hostile takeover bid for smaller rival Hokuetsu Paper Mills Ltd. in the summer.

Oji said its paper-pulp division saw a fall in operating profit of 29.3 percent to 16.25 billion on 339.70 billion yen in sales, up 0.7 percent.

In the processed-paper division, operating profit declined 15.4 percent to 5.29 billion yen on 217.50 billion yen in sales, up 28.0 percent.

For fiscal 2006, Oji Paper projects an increase in group pretax profit of 1.1 percent from the previous year to 71.5 billion yen, and a net profit growth of 42.7 percent to 30.0 billion yen on 1.29 trillion yen in sales, up 6.3 percent, unchanged from April.

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