Seasonality effects fueled the increase in pulp producers’ inventories at the beginning of the quarter. Despite the fact that hardwood pulp inventories reached higher levels than in the previous year, signs of a recovery in demand were observed throughout the quarter. This was demonstrated by both increases in market pulp sales as a whole and Fibria’s own sales, including in the year on-year comparison. Uncertainties in the Brazilian and global macroeconomic scenarios continued to drive up the US currency, which reached R$2.45 in August. The strenghtening of the dollar during the quarter helped Fibria record its highest-ever quarterly EBITDA figure. Coupled with the increase in operating income in the last twelve months, the focus on debt reduction drove dollar leverage down to its lowest level since the Company’s creation.
Pulp production totaled 1,347 thousand tons in 3Q13, 4% more than in 2Q13 due to the reduced impact of the scheduled maintenance downtimes in the Jacareí Mill. Compared to the same period the year before, output moved up by 2% given that in addition to the Jacareí stoppage, 3Q12 also had the scheduled maintenance downtime in the Três Lagoas Mill. Sales volume totaled 1,301 thousand tons, 3% higher than in 2Q13 and 3Q12, due to increased pulp availability and greater sales volume in North America and Asia. In the last 12 months, Fibria's sales volume totaled 5,267 thousand tons, equivalent to 100% of period production.
The cash cost of production was R$501/ton, 8% less than 2Q13, primarily due to the reduced impact of the scheduled maintenance downtimes. Compared to 3Q12, there was a 2% increase due to higher costs with wood and foreign exchange impacts. Excluding the effect of the downtimes, the cash cost came to R$482/ton, 5% more than in 3Q12, less than inflation over the last twelve months.
Adjusted 3Q13 EBITDA totaled R$762 million, the highest quarterly result since Fibria’s creation, with a margin of 41%. Compared to 2Q13, there was an increase of 18%, primarily due to the upturn in average net prices in reais (+8%) and higher sales volume. Compared to 3Q12, EBITDA climbed by 33% and the margin widened by 4 p.p. This was also due to higher net pulp prices in reais (+15%), reflecting the average dollar appreciation against the real (13%), as well as the upturn in dollar pulp prices in the last 12 months. LTM EBITDA totaled R$2,726 million, 21% higher than the R$2,253 million recorded in 2012, accompanied by a margin of 40%. FCF for the quarter was R$122 million, versus R$234 million in 2Q13 and R$157 million in 3Q12 (further details on page 15), due to an increase in accounts receivable, which impacted working capital. It is worth noting that if we consider sales of R$161 million in September, whose letters of credit had a cash impact at the beginning of 4Q13, FCF in the last 12 months came to R$1,083 million, with a yield of 7.7% at the close of September.
The financial result was a net expense of R$226 million in 3Q13 compared to a net expense of R$1,162 million in 2Q13. The change was primarily due to the reduced impact of the exchange variation on debt (0.6% appreciation of the closing dollar rate). This quarter, the Company conducted new bond buyback transactions (mainly of those maturing in 2020 and 2021), resulting in non-recurring accounting and financial effects, which impacted the financial result. The 42% decline over 3Q12 was due to lower costs incurred on the repurchase of bonds maturing in 2020, and a 13% reduction in interest expenses, despite the 10% appreciation of the dollar against the real, reflecting the Company's efforts to reduce its debt costs.