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Finland's UPM sees weaker first half

HELSINKI, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Finnish pulp and paper maker UPM said on Thursday weak paper prices would hit its profit in the first half of 2020, after it reported a smaller than expected fall in underlying operating profit for the October-December quarter.

UPM also said underlying operating profit (EBITDA) for the October-December quarter fell to 442 million euros ($490 million) from 473 million a year earlier, but beat the 408 million expected by analysts in a Refinitiv poll.

UPM said it expected comparable operating profit in the first half of 2020 to be significantly lower than a year earlier due to lower sales prices, partly offset by decreases in variable costs.

$1 = 0.9014 euros Reporting by Anne Kauranen and Tarmo Virki; editing by David Evans

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