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Buckeye Expects January-March Quarter Earnings of $0.24-$0.27

Buckeye Technologies Inc. (NYSE:BKI) today announced that it expects its earnings for the January-March quarter to be in the range of 24-27 cents per share compared to 17 cents per share in the year ago quarter. Preliminary highlights for the quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago include:

  • Net sales increased 4.6% to $201.9 million.
  • Operating income of about $22 million versus $19.6 million in the same quarter last year.
  • Income taxes reduced by $0.8 million due to identification of additional R&D tax credits.
  • Long-term debt fell to $394.5 million at quarter-end, reducing net interest expense and amortization of debt costs by $2 million.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John B. Crowe said, While our financial results are substantially improved from the year ago period, our operating performance fell short of our expectations for the quarter.

Mr. Crowe added, Lower than expected Nonwovens sales (even after accounting for the previously announced volume loss with a large customer) and increased raw material costs reduced nonwovens operating income to $1.2 million. We have recently replaced a sizeable portion of the nonwovens business that we lost at the beginning of January, and we expect Nonwovens sales and operating income to increase over the next several quarters.

Additionally, our operating income in Specialty Fibers was negatively impacted by lower than expected production and shipment volumes at our Perry, Florida wood cellulose facility. These shortfalls were due to unplanned maintenance outages and delayed shipments due to outbound ocean vessel availability issues. While we expect higher sales and production volumes in the April-June quarter versus the immediately preceding quarter, we anticipate this improvement will be offset by higher input and transportation costs.

Buckeye plans to announce January-March results on May 5, 2008 before the market opens and has scheduled a conference call at 11:00 a.m. EDT that same day to discuss third quarter performance. Persons interested in listening by telephone may dial in at (877) 857-6176 within the United States. International callers should dial (719) 325-4826.

Buckeye, a leading manufacturer and marketer of specialty fibers and nonwoven materials, is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. The Company currently operates facilities in the United States, Germany, Canada, and Brazil. Its products are sold worldwide to makers of consumer and industrial goods.

Certain matters discussed in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws that involve risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to economic, competitive, governmental, and technological factors affecting the Companys operations, financing, markets, products, services and prices, and other factors. For further information on factors which could impact the Company and the statements contained herein, please refer to public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contacts:

Buckeye Technologies Inc.
Steve Dean, 901-320-8352
Senior Vice President
and Chief Financial Officer
or
Investor Relations
Daryn Abercrombie, 901-320-8908
www.bkitech.com

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