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Paper giant UPM has recorded a third-quarter pre-tax profit of €64m following a year of restructuring initiatives and production curtailment.

The figure is up on a loss of €90m recorded at the same time a year earlier. However, for the first three months, it recorded a pre-tax loss of €124m.

Sales for the third quarter of 2009 were €1.9bn – down 19% on the €2.3bn recorded for the period in 2008.

The Finland-based manufacturer blamed the weaker profitability over the first three quarters on “significantly lower deliveries and sales prices” in most of its business areas.

In response to lower demand, the company has used temporary capacity shutdowns to adjust production. It said such cost-saving measures and temporary lay-offs had decreased its fixed costs for the three quarters of 2009 by €240m, in comparison to the same period last year.

Jussi Pesonen, UPM’s president and chief executive, said: “In paper, we reported a good result considering the extremely tough circumstances.

“We adjusted production in Europe to weak demand and saved costs without losing production efficiency.”

Economic activity has “clearly improved”, according to the company, but it said that the recession is continuing to have an effect on consumer demand and advertising expenditure in print media.

“Our demand and pricing outlook remains weak and we will continue to curtail production in most of our businesses,” Pesonen added.