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Mondi Group
Johannesburg, South Africa, 16 February 2009 -– As part of the dual listed company structure, Mondi Limited and Mondi plc (together "Mondi Group") must notify the JSE Limited and the London Stock Exchange of matters required to be disclosed under the JSE listings requirements and/or the Disclosure and Transparency and Listing Rules of the United Kingdom Listing Authority.

In terms of paragraph 3.4(b) of the Listings Requirements of the JSE Limited, companies are required to publish a trading statement as soon as they become reasonably certain that the financial results for the period to be reported on next will differ by at least 20% from those of the previous corresponding period.

Mondi is currently finalizing its results for the year ended 31 December 2008, which will be released on 26 February 2009. As announced in Mondi’s Interim Management Statement, dated 20 October 2008, the downturn in trading in its Europe and International Division in the fourth quarter was expected to result in Group underlying operating profit for the year being 10% to 15% below the corresponding period last year. Group underlying operating profit for the year is expected to be around the middle of this range.

Furthermore, a net special items charge of approximately EUR 380 million is expected for the period. As part of the year-end review, and in view of the continuing difficult global economic environment, the Group has taken impairment charges on the write down of both goodwill and tangible assets of around EUR 285 million. Approximately EUR 65 million of retention costs and restructuring and closure costs were incurred and provided for in the period. In addition, a nonoperating special item charge of about EUR 30 million on disposal of assets has been recorded. The prior period included a net special items charge of EUR 8 million, mainly comprising EUR 83 million profit on disposals, offset by a EUR 29 million special item financing cost and asset impairments of EUR 61 million.

The last quarter also saw significant weakness in emerging market currencies versus the euro, resulting in foreign exchange charges of approximately EUR 30 million being incurred on foreign currency denominated loans made to Group businesses in certain of these markets. Coupled with higher emerging market interest rates, this has resulted in finance costs being significantly higher than the first half and prior period.

A strong focus on working capital management and cash flow optimization meant that the closing net debt position was similar to that at the half-year despite significant cash outflows on the two major strategic expansion projects in Poland and Russia.

Accordingly, Mondi advises that it expects earnings (in euro cents) per share to be within the ranges shown below:
  • Underlying earnings per share: 32 to 36 (2007: 46.9 reported)
  • Headline earnings per share: 19 to 23 (2007: 39.5 reported)
  • Basic loss per share: -39 to -43 (2007: 45.4 reported profit)
Mondi has disclosed underlying EPS, which is defined as Basic EPS excluding the effect of special items, as the boards of Mondi plc and Mondi Limited believe this provides a useful additional measure of Group underlying performance. The disclosure of Headline EPS is required under the Listing Requirements of the JSE Limited and has been calculated in accordance with Circular 8/2007 as issued by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Mondi is an international paper and packaging group and in 2008 had revenues of EUR 6.3 billion. Its key operations and interests are in Europe, Russia, and South Africa. The Group is principally involved in the manufacture of packaging paper and converted packaging products; uncoated fine paper; and speciality products and processes, including coating, release liner, and consumer flexibles. Mondi is fully integrated across the paper and packaging process, from the growing of wood and manufacture of pulp and paper (including recycled paper) to the converting of packaging papers into corrugated packaging and industrial bags. Mondi has production operations across 35 countries and had an average of 33,000 employees in 2008.

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