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Smurfit-Stone's Corporate Credit Rating Raised by Standard & Poor's
Creve Coeur, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois, USA, 01 November 2007 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation's corporate credit rating was raised by Standard & Poor's (S&P) Ratings Services from "B" to "B+." S&P called the company's outlook stable, and raised the senior secured ratings of Smurfit-Stone's subsidiaries from "BB-" to "BB" and senior unsecured debt ratings from "CCC+" to "B-."

S&P said the upgrade reflects the combination of Smurfit-Stone's continued solid operating performance and meaningful debt reduction as a result of improved containerboard market conditions. Smurfit-Stone reduced its debt by USD 328 million in the third quarter 2007, largely as a result of the sale of its Brewton, Alabama, mill, and nearly USD 1.2 billion from year-end 2005.

"Our focused strategy is improving our financial results and we remain on track to deliver greater shareholder value over the long term," said Patrick J. Moore, Smurfit-Stone chairman and chief executive officer.

According to S&P, balanced supply and demand fundamentals should continue to support favorable pricing, and the company's strategic initiatives are improving profitability. The release went on to say that these factors, along with lower debt and interest expense, have resulted in credit measures that are reaching levels more appropriate for a higher rating.

Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation (NASDAQ:SSCC) is the industry's leading integrated manufacturer of paperboard and paper-based packaging products and services, and is one of the world's largest paper recyclers. The company is a leading provider of custom, proprietary and standard automated packaging machines, offering customers turn-key installation, automation, line integration, and packaging solutions. Smurfit-Stone is a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and the Chicago Climate Exchange. The company generated revenue of USD 7.2 billion in 2006, has led the industry in safety every year since 2001, and conducts its business in compliance with the environmental, health, and safety principles of the American Forest & Paper Association.

Source: Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation
Web site: http://www.smurfit-stone.com/

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