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JOHANNESBURG, May 11 (Reuters) - South African packaging and paper company Mondi said on Thursday underlying operating profit for the first quarter of 2017 was down 6 percent due to lower selling prices and inflationary cost pressures.
Underlying operating profit fell to 252 million euros ($274 million) in the three months through March from 269 million euros a year ago, Mondi, which is also listed in London said in a statement.
The figure was up 12 percent on the fourth quarter last year due to higher sales volumes and prices.
"Strong sales volume growth was more than offset by a significantly lower forestry fair value gain, inflationary cost pressures and lower average selling prices," the company said.
The packaging paper division was impacted by lower selling prices for containerboard, while significantly lower gains on the value of its forestry assets, lower average export selling prices for hardwood pulp and white top kraftliner products, and a stronger rand impacted the South Africa division.
"As previously advised, we are experiencing some inflationary cost pressures across the Group and the forestry fair value gain is expected to be lower than in 2016," the company said. ($1 = 0.9195 euros) (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Keith Weir)