UPDATE 1-Chile's Copec Q3 net nosedives 95 pct vs. year ago

Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:06pm EST

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* 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
    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
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