Clearwater Paper Reports Second Quarter 2017 Results

The company reported net sales of $429.7 million for the second quarter of 2017, down 1.6% compared to net sales of $436.7 million for the second quarter of 2016. Net earnings determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, for the second quarter of 2017 were $8.0 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $20.9 million, or $1.21 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2016. The decrease in net earnings was due primarily to a planned bi-annual major maintenance outage at the Company's Arkansas mill in the second quarter of 2017 and higher input costs for energy, pulp, chemicals, and packaging supplies. Excluding certain non-core items identified in the attached Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures, second quarter 2017 adjusted net earnings were $7.9 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, compared to second quarter 2016 adjusted net earnings of $23.5 million, or $1.37 per diluted share.

ClearwaterPaper logo01Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, was $45.7 million for the second quarter of 2017 compared to $62.2 million for the second quarter of 2016. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $45.0 million, down 32.1% compared to second quarter 2016 Adjusted EBITDA of $66.3 million. The $21.3 million decrease in adjusted EBITDA was primarily a result of the same major maintenance and higher input costs affecting GAAP net earnings in the second quarter of 2017.

"We achieved solid second quarter results that were in line with our quarterly outlook," said Linda K. Massman, president and chief executive officer. "The positive impacts to the quarter included higher prices and a stronger sales mix for paperboard, which were offset by higher external pulp pricing and lower consumer product shipment volumes, as parent rolls were used to build needed inventory.

I am also pleased to share that our previously disclosed strategic projects remain on time and within budget, and we continue to believe this will position us to more efficiently partner with and meet the needs of our customers in the future," said Massman.

SECOND QUARTER 2017 SEGMENT PERFORMANCE

Consumer Products

Net sales in the Consumer Products segment were $231.9 million for the second quarter of 2017, down 6.5% compared to second quarter 2016 net sales of $247.9 million. This decrease was due to lower parent roll sales resulting from the shutdown of two higher cost paper machines at the Neenah, Wisconsin mill at the end of 2016 and a 1.7% decrease in retail tons sold.

Consumer Products had operating income of $10.5 million in the second quarter of 2017, compared to operating income of $18.5 million in the second quarter of 2016. After adjusting for certain non-core items identified in the attached Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures, adjusted operating income of $11.8 million for the second quarter of 2017 was down from $19.1 million in the same period in 2016. Consumer Products operating margin decreased to 4.5% in the second quarter of 2017 from 7.5% in the second quarter of 2016. The adjusted operating margin decreased from 7.7% in the second quarter of 2016 to 5.1% in the second quarter of 2017 due to higher input costs for transportation, pulp, natural gas, and packaging supplies, partially offset by lower wage and benefit costs resulting from the implementation of warehouse automation, and the previously mentioned shutdown at the Neenah mill.

  • Total tissue sales volumes of 91,450 tons in the second quarter of 2017 decreased by 7.7% and converted product cases shipped were 12.7 million, down 3.9%, each compared to the second quarter of 2016.
  • Average tissue net selling prices increased 1.6% to $2,533 per ton in the second quarter of 2017, compared to the second quarter of 2016.

Pulp and Paperboard

Net sales in the Pulp and Paperboard segment were $197.8 million for the second quarter of 2017, up 4.8% compared to second quarter 2016 net sales of $188.8 million. The increase was primarily due to higher paperboard shipment volume, which includes sales from the operations of the former Manchester Industries acquired in December 2016. Operating income for the quarter decreased $18.4 million to $21.6 million, compared to operating income of $40.0 million for the second quarter of 2016, primarily due to approximately $9 million in major maintenance at the Arkansas mill and higher input costs for natural gas, electricity, chemicals and pulp and higher wages and benefits due to annual increases. In addition, second quarter 2016 operating income included the receipt of a net $2.8 million in partial reimbursement of previously incurred costs related to performance issues with the recovery boiler at the Arkansas mill.

  • Paperboard sales volumes increased 4.0% to 207,152 tons in the second quarter of 2017, compared to 199,132 tons in the second quarter of 2016.
  • Paperboard net selling prices increased 0.7% to $955 per ton compared to the second quarter of 2016.

Taxes

The company's consolidated GAAP tax rate and adjusted tax rate for the second quarter of 2017 was a provision of 33.0%, compared to 36.3% and 36.2%, respectively, in the second quarter of 2016. The company expects its GAAP and adjusted tax rate for 2017 to be approximately 34% plus or minus two percentage points.

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 2017 and 2016, including adjusted net earnings, adjusted net earnings per diluted share, EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted operating income, adjusted operating margin, adjusted income tax provision and adjusted tax rate. Because these amounts are not in accordance with GAAP, reconciliations to net earnings, net earnings per diluted share, operating income, income tax provision and tax rate as determined in accordance with GAAP are included in the tables 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, and offers services that include custom sheeting, slitting and cutting. Clearwater Paper's employees build shareholder value by developing strong customer partnerships through quality and service.

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