Friday, 31 July 2015 08:38

Clearwater Paper Reports Second Quarter 2015 Results

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Clearwater Paper Corporation has reported financial results for the second quarter of 2015.

ClearwaterPaper logo01The company reported net sales of $444.6 million for the second quarter of 2015, down 10.9% compared to net sales of $498.8 million for the second quarter of 2014 primarily due to the sale of the company's specialty mills in December 2014. Net earnings determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, for the second quarter of 2015 were $15.6 million, or $0.81 per diluted share, compared to $12.5 million, or $0.61 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2014. The 2015 second quarter GAAP net earnings included $1.0 million of after-tax benefit associated with the mark-to-market impact of directors' equity-based compensation, $0.9 million of net after-tax gain associated with the settlement of a working capital escrow account established in connection with the sale of the company's specialty mills, and $0.5 million of after-tax expense associated with the closure of the company's Long Island, New York, converting and distribution facility. Excluding those items, second quarter 2015 adjusted net earnings were $14.2 million, or $0.74 per diluted share, compared to second quarter 2014 adjusted net earnings of $15.3 million, or $0.74 per diluted share.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, was $52.7 million for the second quarter of 2015. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $50.7 million, down 11.6% compared to second quarter 2014 Adjusted EBITDA of $57.3 million. The decrease in EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA was due primarily to costs associated with scheduled major maintenance at the company's Arkansas pulp and paperboard mill and the sale of the company's specialty tissue mills, partially offset by lower input costs for pulp, chemicals and natural gas.

"Clearwater Paper delivered strong results that exceeded the high end of our outlook for the second quarter of 2015," said Linda K. Massman, president and chief executive officer. "Our consumer products business has continued to demonstrate the ability to increase operating leverage, execute on its plan to improve efficiencies throughout the organization and expand its customer base. During the first half of the year, pulp and paperboard successfully completed major maintenance at both facilities within budget and brought these operations to a higher performance level, in addition to reaching record paperboard shipments in the second quarter."

Through July 29, 2015, the company has repurchased approximately 600,000 shares at an average price of $61.97 under the $100 million stock repurchase program authorized in December 2014.

SECOND QUARTER 2015 SEGMENT PERFORMANCE

Consumer Products

Net sales in the Consumer Products segment were $239.4 million for the second quarter of 2015, down 20% compared to second quarter 2014 net sales of $299.1 million. This decrease was due to the sale of the specialty tissue mills.

On a GAAP basis, the segment had operating income of $17.0 million, compared to operating income of $12.7 million in the second quarter of 2014. Adjusted operating income of $16.4 million for the second quarter of 2015 was up $1.5 million compared to the same period in 2014, after adjusting for $0.7 million and $2.2 million of costs in the second quarters of 2015 and 2014, respectively, related to previously announced facility closures. Also included in adjusted operating income for the second quarter of 2015 was the recognition of a $1.3 million net gain due to the settlement of the working capital escrow account associated with the sale of the specialty tissue mills. The improved results in the most recent period were driven primarily by a richer product mix, lower pricing for external pulp and increased usage of internally produced pulp, reduced energy costs, and lower planned maintenance expense, partially offset by the absence of operating income from the company's former specialty mills.

  • Total tissue sales volumes of 96,220 tons in the second quarter of 2015 declined by 28.6% and converted product cases shipped were 13.1 million, down 6.9%, each compared to the second quarter of 2014, largely due to the sale of the specialty mills.
  • Average tissue net selling prices increased 12.0% to $2,482 per ton in the second quarter of 2015, compared to the second quarter of 2014, due to improved product mix after the sale of the specialty mills.

Pulp and Paperboard

Net sales in the Pulp and Paperboard segment were $205.2 million for the second quarter of 2015, up 2.8% compared to second quarter 2014 net sales of $199.6 million. The increase was primarily due to stronger seasonal shipments. Operating income for the quarter decreased $5.9 million to $27.8 million, compared to $33.6 million for the second quarter of 2014, primarily due to approximately $7 million of scheduled major maintenance costs at the Arkansas pulp and paperboard mill, weaker pricing, and higher volumes of purchased pulp due to the major maintenance outage in Arkansas. These factors were partially offset by lower polyethylene prices and reduced chemical usage due to capital improvements at the Arkansas recovery boiler, lower natural gas prices and slightly lower transportation costs.

  • Paperboard sales volumes increased 4.6% to a record 204,983 tons in the second quarter of 2015, compared to 195,924 tons in the second quarter of 2014.
  • Paperboard net selling prices decreased 2.0% to $997 per ton compared to the second quarter of 2014 as a result of a product mix shift toward non-extruded products and quality related rebates that were limited in volume and scope.

Taxes

The company's GAAP tax rate for the second quarter of 2015 was a provision of 35.8% compared to 44.4% in the second quarter of 2014. The higher rate in 2014 was a result of the net impact of changes related to amendments to state tax returns and state tax rate changes. On an adjusted basis, the second quarter 2015 tax rate was 36.2%. The company expects its annual GAAP and adjusted tax rates to be approximately 36% for 2015.

Note Regarding Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

In this press release, the company presents certain non-GAAP financial information for the second quarters of 2015 and 2014, including EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net earnings, adjusted net earnings per diluted share, and adjusted operating income. Because these amounts are not in accordance with GAAP, reconciliations to net earnings and net earnings per diluted share as determined in accordance with GAAP are included at the end of this press release. The company presents these non-GAAP amounts because management believes they assist investors and analysts in comparing the company's performance across reporting periods on a consistent basis by excluding items that the company does not believe are indicative of its core operating performance.

ABOUT CLEARWATER PAPER

Clearwater Paper manufactures quality consumer tissue, away-from-home tissue, parent roll tissue, bleached paperboard and pulp at manufacturing facilities across the nation. The company is a premier supplier of private label tissue to major retailers and wholesale distributors, including grocery, drug, mass merchants and discount stores. In addition, the company produces bleached paperboard used by quality-conscious printers and packaging converters. Clearwater Paper's employees build shareholder value by developing strong customer partnerships through quality and service.

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