SANTIAGO, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Chile-based forestry and paper firm Empresas CMPC posted a surprise net loss in the third quarter, hit by a a higher tax bill.
CMPC which has operations throughout South America selling cellulose, paper, tissue and boxes, reported a net loss of $39 million in the three months to end-September, compared to a Reuters forecast for a $76 million profit and $43 million profit a year ago.
Sales rose slightly compared to the same period a year ago, at $1.24 billion, but core earnings slipped more than the market forecast, while a tax cost of $164 million weighed on its bottom line, which CMPC attributed to the depreciation of the Chilean peso and Brazilian real.
The flip-side of the weaker currencies was better margins in dollar terms, the company said.
"However, this effect is not seen instantly in results as these greater margins will appear in accounting terms in later cycles," it said.
The paper and wood pulp industry is Chile's second biggest after copper and has grown rapidly in recent years to feed surging Chinese demand for paper. (Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien Editing by W Simon)