UPDATE 1-Chile's Copec Q3 net nosedives 95 pct vs. year ago
* Higher taxes, lower pulp prices bite profits * Q3 revenue virtually unchanged yr/yr at $5.437 bln SANTIAGO, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Chilean industrial conglomerate Copec's third-quarter net profit took a nose-dive, due to lower wood pulp prices, a fire at one of its plywood plants and higher taxes on businesses in Chile as part of a school funding reform, the company said on Friday. Copec, which owns the world's second-biggest wood pulp producer, third-largest commercial fishing company, and the main fuel distributor in Chile and Colombia, saw its third-quarter net profit sink 95 percent to $7.22 million versus a year ago. Its January to September net profit dropped 64.9 percent to $247.58 million. "(The fall) is chiefly due to a 44.5 percent drop in operational results," Copec said in a statement to Chile's regulator. "Tacking on to that is a non-recurrent $168 million negative effect on profit, linked to a hike in the Chilean tax rate." Chile's Congress in September approved changes in tax laws. Businesses in the Andean nation face a higher tax rate of 20 percent and fewer loopholes to evade them, though the rate remains well below Latin America's average rate of 25.06 percent in 2011, according to accounting firm KPMG. Revenue for the September to July period remained virtually unchanged from the year-earlier period at $5.437 billion. Shares in Copec closed down 0.13 percent on Friday, before the results were announced, slightly underperforming the Santiago blue-chip IPSA stock index, which rose 0.09 percent.
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