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Lots and lots of paper…

Good thing Georgia-Pacific (GP) is in the paper business, because at 390 pages (including exhibits) any investor who wants to leaf through the 10-K filed yesterday is going to need lots and lots of paper. The K includes 60 pages of footnotes, including some long discussions of pension plans, asbestos lawsuit liabilities, and plant restructurings — all things GP investors should be paying close attention to. One item I found particularly interesting was $74 million in pre-tax charges related to closing a tissue plant in Old Town, Maine. Problem is, only part of the plant closed because Maine’s governor stepped in with incentives, including buying a landfill from GP for $25 million. But the company notes in the K that it will not reverse the charges taken in the first quarter of 2003, which could make first quarter results for 2004 magically look better. Still, GP does score points for putting its K out the same day as its fourth quarter results. It may be long and overly complicated, but at least they’re giving investors a complete picture.