Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended Jan. 31, 2013.
Net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 were $127.1 billion, an increase of 3.9 percent from $122.3 billion in last year's fourth quarter. On a constant currency basis1, net sales would have increased 3.7 percent to $126.8 billion. Membership and other income decreased 7.8 percent to $815 million, due to lower other income. Total revenue for the fourth quarter was $127.9 billion, a 3.9 percent increase over last year.
Income from continuing operations attributable to Walmart for the fourth quarter was $5.6 billion, up 7.9 percent. Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations attributable to Walmart (EPS) for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 were $1.67. The effective tax rate for the fourth quarter was 27.7 percent, which was lower than the company's expectations, and compares to 30.9 percent last year. The fourth quarter effective tax rate benefited from a number of discrete tax items, including positive impact from fiscal 2013 legislative changes, most notably the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. In comparison, EPS for the fourth quarter of last year were $1.51.
Tronox Limited today reported fourth quarter 2012 revenue of $482 million, an increase of 26 percent versus $383 million in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $71 million in the fourth quarter, as compared to $139 million in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted net loss in the fourth quarter was $45 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, versus adjusted net income of $71 million or $0.89 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.
Tom Casey, chairman and CEO of Tronox, said: "The fourth quarter remained challenging but we may have seen the first glimpse of a recovery in the pigment market. Mineral Sands revenue increased 16 percent sequentially versus the third quarter despite the impact of three scheduled ore shipments that were either delayed or cancelled by pigment customers in the fourth quarter. And for the first time since 2005, fourth quarter sales volumes in Pigment were higher, up 2 percent, than those of the third quarter. Though the sequential difference was modest, we view this increase in what is normally a seasonally lower quarter as a positive indication. We believe the fourth quarter represented the material conclusion of the destocking period by our pigment customers."
Quad/Graphics Chairman, President & CEO Joel Quadracci urges Congress to move swiftly to put the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on a path to sustainability, noting that the $65 billion Postal Service is at the core of a $1.3 trillion mailing industry that provides family-supporting jobs for 8.4 million Americans, nearly 200,000 of whom live and work in Wisconsin.
Quadracci shared his insights on the importance of the U.S. Postal Service to private industry and the U.S. economy at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s hearing on “Solutions to the Crisis Facing the U.S. Postal Service” on February 13. He was the only printer and member of private industry invited to testify.
“The Postal Service is the backbone for a large portion of the private sector and plays an integral role in our economy, extending across every type of mailer and the printing, paper and technology industries that supply them,” Quadracci said in written testimony provided in advance of the hearing. “These businesses support services in a marketplace that include cost-effective advertising, magazines, catalogs, e-commerce and prescription drug fulfillment, as well as what is still a huge amount of statements, bills and greeting cards, and an expanding package delivery segment.”
Quadracci believes ensuring the viability of the USPS is not a partisan issue and that Congress has the ability to not only save a proud American institution, but also support and promote a vibrant private sector.
CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries) said that preliminary indications are that paper and board production by CEPI member countries fell by in the region of 1.7% in 2012.
CEPI countries in 2012 are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, United Kingdom. CEPI totals no longer include data for Switzerland.
It is estimated that CEPI member countries produced around 92 million tonnes of paper and board in 2012, resulting from some adjustments in production capacities with closures amounting to 2 million tonnes and new capacities or upgrading of existing ones accounting for close to 1 million tonne.
It is estimated that the production of pulp (integrated + market) has decreased by up to 1% when compared to the previous year, with total output of approximately 38 million tonnes. It is estimated that output of market pulp increased by about between 4% and 4.5%, while integrated pulp output decreased by 3% in 2012 when compared to 2011.
It is estimated that consumption of paper for recycling by CEPI members fell by between 1% and 1.5%.
Strong profitability despite challenging start to the year
Supported by excellent operating performance and cost management
ROCE of 13.7%, in excess of the Group’s through-the-cycle target of 13%
Strong cash generation from operations of €845 million
Total dividend for the year of 28.0 euro cents per share, up 8%
Significant progress with strategic initiatives
€1.2 billion spent on acquisitions increasing exposure to higher growth packaging segments
Disposal of interest in non-core Aylesford Newsprint
Capital employed in packaging businesses now 67% of Group total (57% at end of 2011)
Integration of acquisitions on track
Cost synergies from recent acquisitions now estimated at €30 million per annum, up 33%
In 2012 the LEGO Group increased its revenue by 25% to USD 4,040 million – nearly triple the sales of 2007. This represents the fifth consecutive year in which the LEGO Group delivered year over year revenue growth in excess of 15%.
Key facts from the LEGO Group’s annual report for 2012, which was published today:
• The year's operating profit increased to USD 1,373 million against USD 1,057 million in 2011, an increase of 40%.
• The operating margin increased to 34% from 30% in 2011.
• The year's net profit increased to USD 969 million against USD 776 million in 2011.
• The revenue increased by 25% to USD 4,040 million against USD 3,495 million in 2011. In local currency (i.e. excluding the impact of foreign exchange changes) revenue increased 20% year over year.
• The net cash generated from operating activities was USD 1,100 million against USD 666 million in 2011.
• In 2012 the Group paid USD 330 million in corporate income taxes.
Cascades Inc., a leader in the recovery and manufacturing of green packaging and tissue paper products, announces its unaudited financial results for the three-month period and the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012.
Sales of $3,645 million (compared to $3,625 million in 2011 (+1%))
Consolidation of our corrugated products sector in Ontario with the acquisition of Bird Packaging Limited and concurrent investments totaling $30 million
Consolidation of our folding carton and microlithography operations with investments totaling $20 million
Equipment upgrades at Cascades' mill in La Rochette and Reno de Medici's mill in Villa Santa Lucia in Europe
Construction of the Greenpac project mill with start-up still expected in July 2013
Price increase announcement during the fourth quarter in our containerboard sector
West Texas Intermediate oil dropped for a second day, extending the biggest decline in three months. U.S. crude stockpiles gained for the sixth week in seven, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
March futures fell 2.3 percent when they expired yesterday, the steepest drop since Nov. 20. U.S. crude inventories gained 2.96 million barrels last week to 372 million, the highest level since December, according to API data issued yesterday after futures settled. A government report today may show supplies rose 2 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg survey. The Federal Reserve signaled it may consider slowing the pace of asset purchases, according to minutes of the Jan. 29-30 meeting.
“The much-needed correction has taken some steam off the overbought market,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, a commodities analyst at VTB Capital in London, who forecast last week that oil prices would drop. “Short-term fundamentals simply do not justify sustained gains.”
WTI for April delivery slid as much as $1.67 to $93.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest since Jan. 16, and was at $93.87 at 11 a.m. London time. The March contract fell to $94.46 yesterday.
Clearwater Paper Corporation today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2012.
The company reported net sales of $462.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, down slightly compared to $466.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2011 due primarily to the sale of the company's Lewiston, Idaho sawmill in November 2011. Net earnings were $19.9 million, or $0.84 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $11.5 million and $0.48, respectively, for the fourth quarter of 2011. Excluding $1.8 million in net after-tax charges related to the sale of the company's sawmill, fourth quarter 2011 adjusted net earnings were $13.3 million, or $0.55 per diluted common share.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, was $56.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 7.8% compared to $52.2 million in the same quarter last year. Fourth quarter 2011 Adjusted EBITDA, which excludes $2.9 million in pre-tax adjustments associated with the sale of the company's sawmill, was $55.1 million.
The New York Times Company today announced that it plans to sell its New England Media Group, including The Boston Globe and its related properties, and that it has retained Evercore Partners to advise the Company and manage the sales process.
“Our plan to sell the New England Media Group demonstrates our commitment to concentrate our strategic focus and investment on The New York Times brand and its journalism,” said Mark Thompson, president and CEO of The New York Times Company. “The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette are outstanding newspapers and they and their related digital properties are well-managed leaders in their markets with real opportunities for future development. We are very proud of our association with the Globe and the Telegram & Gazette, but given the differences between these businesses and The New York Times, we believe that a sale is in the best long-term interests of these properties and the employees who work for them as well as in the best interests of our shareholders.”
The principal properties that make up the New England Media Group are:
The Boston Globe; BostonGlobe.com; Boston.com; Worcester Telegram & Gazette; Telegram.com; GlobeDirect, the Globe’s direct mail marketing company.
Also included in the sale is the Company’s 49 percent interest in Metro Boston.
Due to increases in raw material costs, it is necessary that we increase prices to our Foodservice customers on the following Dart products:
5% increase: Unprinted and Custom Printed Conex Translucent Cups and Lids; Unprinted and Custom Printed Conex Deli Containers and Lids; Conex Complements Portion Containers; ClearSeal, Showtime, and StayLock Clear Hinged Lid Containers - OPS; ClearPac OPS Clear Containers and Lids; PresentaBowls Clear Bowls and Lids - OPS; Foam Dinnerware; Famous Service Impact Plastic Dinnerware; Dinnerware Covers; Foam Hinged Lid Containers; Style Select Medium Weight PS Cutlery with Recycled Content - Black.
8% increase: • Portion Container Lids; Unprinted and Custom Printed Conex Classic PET Clear Cups and Lids; Custom Printed and Stock Printed Conex Classic Re-PETE Clear RPET Cups; Unprinted and Custom Printed Conex ClearPro PP Clear Cups; Custom Printed Conex ProMotions PP White Cups; ClearSeal and StayLock Clear Hinged Lid Containers - PET; PresentaBowls Clear Bowls and Lids - PET; ClearPac SafeSeal Clear Containers - PET; PresentaBowls Pro PP Black Containers and Clear Lids; Style Setter Medium Weight PP Cutlery - White and Honey; Bonus Light Weight PP Cutlery - White.
The following retail packaged products will also be increased for those Foodservice customers purchasing them:
5% increase: Retail Packaged Translucent Plastic Cups and Colored Cups; Retail Packaged Dinnerware
8% increase: Retail Packaged Clear Plastic Cups
Effective Date of Increased Prices: April 1, 2013
Orders for unprinted products placed prior to April 1, 2013, calling for immediate shipment and not exceeding a normal two-week supply, will be honored at current prices. Orders received April 1, 2013, and after will be invoiced at the increased prices.
Orders for custom printed products placed prior to April 1, 2013, for a normal single print release quantity calling for immediate shipment, will be honored at current prices. Orders received April 1, 2013, and after will be invoiced at the increased prices.
In order to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of our customers for third party certified fiber, we are implementing an exciting new change to the Forest Stewardship Council certification program in place at our Cloquet Mill.
Effective April 29, 2013, all products manufactured at Sappi’s Cloquet Mill will be FSC® certified and can be labeled FSC. This change is based on a transition from a credit based system to a percent (%) content system. We will manufacture our paper grades with the claim “70% of the fiber from FSC certified sources.”
This includes all sheet grades: McCoy, Opus, and Flo and all Web grades: McCoy, Opus, and Somerset. Formerly, Somerset Web was only available as FSC certified pending the availability of credits, with this change, all Somerset Web product produced at Cloquet Mill will automatically be FSC certified.
Contact your Midland Paper, Packaging & Supplies Sales Representative if you have any questions pertaining to this change.
Continuing its commitment to lead by example when it comes to transparency, Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) today announced the latest additions to its award-winning site, The Paper Trail (www.domtarpapertrail.com). As the fourth update to the site, The Paper Trail will now include:
• Three additional products - EarthChoice®30 Recycled Office Paper, EarthChoice®50 Recycled Office Paper and EarthChoice® Opaque Offset 30% - all part of the Domtar EarthChoice® family of environmentally and socially responsible papers.
• A site history, picture gallery, and local stories from the company's Kingsport, Tennessee mill.
Since its release in June 2011, The Paper Trail has been widely praised, with industry observers applauding Domtar's openness in sharing mill and product data, offering up another concrete example of the company's industry-leading transparency. The Paper Trail was also named a Top Innovative Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of 2012 by Brave One Agency, joining the likes of Unilever and The North Face in raising the environmental transparency bar for business.
With this latest update of The Paper Trail, Domtar is again voluntarily releasing product and mill data that helps its customers learn about the environmental and social impacts of their paper purchases.
OfficeMax® Incorporated, a leader in office and facility supplies, technology and services, today announced the results for its fiscal fourth quarter and full year ended December 29, 2012.
Total sales were $6,920.4 million in the full year 2012, a decrease of 2.8% compared to the full year 2011, while total sales for the fourth quarter of 2012 decreased 7.4% to $1,700.5 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. For the full year 2012, OfficeMax reported operating income of $24.3 million compared to $86.5 million in the full year 2011, and net income available to OfficeMax common shareholders of $414.7 million, or $4.74 per diluted share, compared to net income of $32.8 million, or $0.38 per diluted share in the full year 2011.
For the fourth quarter of 2012, OfficeMax reported an operating loss of $50.1 million, compared to operating income of $12.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2011; and a net loss available to OfficeMax common shareholders of $33.9 million, or $0.39 per diluted share, compared to net income of $2.9 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2011. As previously reported, results for the fourth quarter and the full year 2011 included one additional week of operation in the U.S. ($86 million of sales) compared to fourth quarter and full year 2012.
OfficeMax Incorporated and Office Depot, Inc. today announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement under which the companies would combine in an all-stock merger of equals transaction intended to qualify as a tax-free reorganization. The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both companies, will create a stronger, more efficient global provider better able to compete in the rapidly changing office solutions industry. Customers will benefit from enhanced offerings across multiple distribution channels and geographies. The combined company, which would have had pro forma combined revenue for the 12 months ended December 29, 2012 of approximately $18 billion, will also have significantly improved financial strength and flexibility, with the ability to deliver long-term operating performance and improvements through its increased scale and significant synergy opportunities.
Under the terms of the agreement, OfficeMax stockholders will receive 2.69 Office Depot common shares for each share of OfficeMax common stock.
"In the past decade, with the growth of the internet, our industry has changed dramatically. Combining our two companies will enhance our ability to serve customers around the world, offer new opportunities for our employees, make us a more attractive partner to our vendors, and increase stockholder value," said Neil Austrian, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Office Depot. "Office Depot and OfficeMax share a similar vision and culture, and will greatly benefit from drawing on the industry's most talented people, combining our best practices and realizing significant savings. We are confident that this merger of equals represents a new beginning for our two companies and will allow us to build a more competitive enterprise for the long term."
"We are excited to bring together two companies intent on accelerating innovation for our customers and better differentiating us for success in a dynamic and highly competitive global industry," said Ravi Saligram, President and CEO of OfficeMax. "We are confident that there will be exciting new opportunities for employees as part of a truly global business. Together, we will have the opportunity to build on our strong digital platforms and to expand our multichannel capabilities to better serve our customers and to compete more effectively. Importantly, this merger of equals transaction will provide stockholders of both companies with a compelling opportunity to participate in the long-term upside potential of the combined company."
Earlier this month, DB polled paper and packaging executives on their outlook for 2013. We received 100 responses. They provide clues around industry expectations for prices, costs, volumes, capital spending & profitability in 2013. Once again, participants were asked, "What is Wall Street Missing?," as well as opinions regarding the "best managed" companies in the industry. After its success in integrating Temple-Inland, International Paper displaced Packaging Corp. for the top spot on our survey.
Cautious optimism for improving volumes
Outside the printing and writing paper market, there is cautious optimism about 2013 volumes. Most expect volumes to be flat/up 2% y/y. 61% of respondents expect positive box volumes (similar to last year’s expectation. For market pulp, 51% of respondents expect volumes to be up y/y while 38% expect demand to be flat. In paperboard, the general expectation is for volumes to be flat/up 1% y/y. To no surprise, printing and writing paper volumes are expected to remain weak: more than half of respondents expect negative demand trends.
Most players expect rising costs and rising prices
More than half of respondents expect input costs such as freight, plastic resins, wastepaper, caustic soda and pulpwood to increase from current levels. The trade appears relatively optimistic about prices for wood products and paperboard grades. While some expect market pulp prices to fall, 62% expect prices to increase from current levels. Given the pessimism about printing and writing volumes, it is not surprising that most respondents suggest that newsprint, uncoated freesheet and coated paper prices will remain flat or decline.
Digging deeper on containerboard and boxes
Expectations for box demand in December '11 and January '12 were on average in the flat to 2% y/y range (see Question 6). Demand is considered the “most important” determinate of containerboard and box prices. The US$ and exports were viewed as least important. Looking at 2013, 76% of our respondents expect containerboard and box producers to attempt a price increase, with 23% forecasting success. Among our coverage, this would be most positive for RockTenn, International Paper, Packaging Corp. and KapStone. Boise (BZ-not covered) also has exposure to containerboard.
Sealed Air Corporation today announced financial results for fourth quarter and full year 2012. Net sales for the fourth quarter 2012 totaled $2 billion. Adjusted EPS was $0.34 for the fourth quarter and Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $267 million or 13.5% of net sales. On a reported basis, net loss was $(10.9) million, or $(0.06) per share.
Fourth Quarter Highlights:
Net sales for the fourth quarter 2012 totaled $2 billion. Net sales increased 0.8% over 2011 with 2.6% higher volumes, offset by 1.7% of unfavorable currency translation. Reported regional net sales increased over 2011 levels by 9.6% for AMAT (Asia, Middle East, Africa and Turkey), 7.5% for Latin America, 2.3% for North America and 2.0% for Japan/Australia/New Zealand, offset by 5.6% lower net sales in Europe. Additionally, fourth quarter net sales to Developing Regions1 account for 24% of global net sales.
Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $267 million or 13.5% of net sales. On an actual and constant dollar basis, this represented a 16.6% increase compared with 2011 adjusted EBITDA of $229 million, primarily driven by higher volume demand and cost synergies. Cost synergies were $35 million for the fourth quarter of 2012 and resulted from a mix of headcount reductions, elimination of redundant costs, plant consolidations and procurement and logistics savings.
Full Year 2012 Summary
Net sales for 2012 totaled $7.6 billion. Net sales increased 37.8% over 2011, including a 38.2% increase from the Diversey acquisition, a 2.3% increase in organic sales, offset by 2.7% unfavorable currency translation. Compared to pro forma 2011, net sales declined 1.7% from 3.6% unfavorable currency translation, offset by 1.8% organic growth, including a 0.8% volume increase from expansion in Developing Regions, partially offset by ongoing weakness in Europe.
Full year Adjusted EBITDA was $996 million, or 13.0% of net sales. On a constant dollar basis, Adjusted EBITDA was $1.02 billion, a 2.8% increase over pro forma 2011 Adjusted EBITDA of $996 million. This increase was primarily due to the realization of cost synergies, partially offset by higher operating expenses, mainly in I&L related to compensation costs and additional resources to support growth in developing regions. Reported net loss was $1.3 billion in 2012, primarily due to impairment of goodwill and other intangibles. Pro forma net earnings were $106 million in 2011. The Company is working to finalize its impairment analysis prior to the filing of its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, and as a result may incur additional impairment charges.
The China Forest Certification Council (CFCC) has established a platform to facilitate interaction with and between Chinese stakeholders interested in promoting forest certification.
The CFCC Stakeholder Forum, which was inaugurated recently in Beijing, will meet several times per year to provide information and updates about the continuous development of the China Forest Certification Scheme (CFCS). The Forum is designed as a mechanism to encourage knowledge and information exchange, enhance transparency, foster discussions, and ultimately aims to ensure that forest certification requirements address the unique Chinese conditions and are aligned with local management practices and culture.
The inaugural meeting of the Stakeholder Forum, which was chaired by the Secretary General of CFCC, Ms. Yu Ling, was attended by a wide range of organizations, included NGOs, companies, certification bodies, forest industry associations, researchers as well as government representatives.
CFCC Chairman, Wang Wei, outlined progress, key developments and next steps in the development of the national Chinese forest certification system. Participants welcomed the presentation of two draft standards on Plantation Management and Bamboo Management by Mr. Lu Wenming, who leads the standard setting working group, and offered a number of suggestions and potential improvements, which will be considered by the working group in due course. Technical discussions also focussed on the impact of PEFC International's 2013 Chain of Custody standard on its Chinese equivalent.
Sodra announced that it will divest its Tofte chemical pulp mill in Norway.
"This decision has been made as a result of longstanding difficulties with unsatisfactory profitability at the mill," Sodra said in a written statement.
"A process has begun to sell the mill," Sodra added, and, "Sodra Cell's management has been given the task of creating a divestment plan for Södra's ownership of the mill."
Gunilla Saltin, Acting CEO of Sodra and President of Sodra Cell, said, "We have been attempting for some time now to make Sodra Cell Tofte profitable. The commitment and expertise of the staff have kept quality and productivity at a high level, and they have fought valiantly to keep production costs low. Despite everything we've done, we are now forced to conclude that we have failed to reverse the trend."
Sodra's goal is to end its involvement in the mill during the second quarter of this year.
Amcor yesterday in its half-year earnings statement said that it has made the decision to close its Petrie recycled cartonboard mill, located in Queensland, Australia. The mill employs 160 people.
In Amcor's half-year 2012 statement, within its "Australasia and Packaging Distribution" business, "Fibre" segment, the company said, "Earnings for the half were lower due to a reduction in earnings at the recycled cartonboard mill in Petrie, Queensland. Due to several structural changes in the competitive environment the mill is no longer covering its cash costs."
A news report in The Courier-Mail said that Australian Workers Union Queensland branch secretary Ben Swan said workers had no idea that a review of the plant had been underway and were told of job losses yesterday morning.
"We have been advised that at least 160 positions would be made redundant," Swan told The Courier-Mail. "The closure of the mill will begin in September."
Swan said Amcor blamed the decision on the high Australian dollar and international competition.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose for a second day as Enterprise Products Partners LP said supplies through its Seaway pipeline will increase, helping reduce a glut in the U.S. Midwest.
Futures gained 0.4 percent after advancing by the most since Feb. 11 in New York yesterday. Seaway volume will average 295,000 barrels a day from February to May, compared with 180,000 barrels last month, according to Enterprise. The Federal Reserve will release minutes of its January meeting today. U.S. crude stockpiles probably climbed a fifth week, according to a Bloomberg News survey before a government report tomorrow.
“We expect subdued, macro-driven action with some attention on the January Federal Open Markets Committee tonight,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London, who predicts that WTI will struggle to surpass $98 a barrel this month.
WTI for March delivery, which expires today, was at $97 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 34 cents, at 11:43 a.m. London time. The contract advanced 80 cents to $96.66 yesterday.
RDA Holding Co.—parent of Reader's Digest Association and the 90-year-old Reader's Digest—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection over the Presidents Day holiday weekend.
The announcement by CEO (since Sept. 2011) Robert Guth came just days before the third anniversary (Feb. 22) of RDA's first emergence from Chapter 11.Then, under 2007-2011 CEO Mary Berner, the company had restructured its debt from $2.2 billion to $525 million. (A casualty was much of the pensions going to retirees working under contract.)
Now, Guth is seeking to reduce the current $465 million debt to $100 million.
In both instances, these are six-month pre-packaged bankruptcies, with completion this time expected by October 2013. All operations—led by the 5.5 million circulation Reader's Digest—are continuing.
In a statement, Guth said that RDA Holding had reached an agreement with its largest creditor, Wells Fargo, and more than 70 percent of its secured note-holders on the restructuring plan that includes the Chapter 11 filing. Upon completion, the debt-holders will most likely be given equity. Three years ago, the administrative agent was J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, and that led to Berner's leaving in May 2011 (she is now MPA—the Association of Magazine Media president/CEO) and RDA Holding board member Guth taking over four months later from Tom Williams.
FiberMark, a manufacturer of specialty cellulose and synthetic fiber-based printing media, announces a special offer together with Athens Paper. FiberMark will provide a roll of Endura® Poster 225, 54"x150', at no cost to Athens Paper customers who purchase any HP® Latex Wide Format Inkjet Printer.
Independently of any other promotional pricing or offers, FiberMark will supply one roll of Endura® Poster 225 54"x150', delivered with your new printer purchase. This media offer is intended to provide customers a positive installation and training experience with a product that provides exceptional color density and print fidelity when imaged with the new HP® Latex Wide Format Inkjet Printers.
Simply place a Purchase Order for your new printer with Athens Paper and they will handle the rest. This offer is good on all wide-format inkjet printers purchased from Athens Paper from February 16, 2013 until April 15, 2013.
West Texas Intermediate fell, extending the biggest drop in two weeks, while Brent was little changed. The North Sea crude may be capped at $140 a barrel this year, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Futures lost as much as 0.6 percent, after sliding 1.5 percent Feb. 15, the most since Feb. 4. Floor trading in New York was closed yesterday because of a holiday in the U.S. Brent will trade in a range of $100 to $130 a barrel through to 2015, according to Francisco Blanch, head of commodities research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. A technical indicator signaled price declines may accelerate.
“The market is trying to decide whether we are just testing support or whether we are facing what many are saying is a long-overdue correction,” Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said today in a telephone interview.
WTI for March delivery, which expires tomorrow, slid as much as 61 cents to $95.25 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $95.50 at 2:23 p.m. Dubai time. The more-active April contract dropped 39 cents to $96.02. Yesterday’s transactions will be booked with today’s trades for settlement.
American Catalog Mailers Association strongly opposes the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which was introduced on February 14th in the Senate by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and in the House of Representatives by Representative Steve Womack (R-AR). This is a damaging and dangerous piece of legislation that would impose new taxes on catalog and other remote businesses.
Hardly “fair” at all, this bill fails to simplify the thousands of conflicting state and local tax systems, while doing nothing to give cause to overturn the 1992 law upheld in Quill v. North Dakota, which prohibits states from forcing out-of-state marketers to collect sales taxes from their customers.
“As with similar bills that have failed in the past, this bill would force out-of-state businesses to become in-state tax collectors without gaining any in-state benefits – truly a case of ‘taxation without representation’,” said ACMA President & Executive Director Hamilton Davison. “Rather than simplifying the tax system, as this bill claims to do, it further complicates it.”
The Marketplace Fairness Act allows for the following: Nearly 10,000 local tax jurisdictions with their own tax structures; 46 states to conduct their own audits of businesses across all 50 states; 46 states to write their own definitions of taxable goods (eg: one state could define what constitutes a food item differently than another) 46 states to independently interpret key terms for sales tax, namely their varying definitions of “sales price”; 46 states to retain their own unique tax filing forms, schedules, rules, and deadlines; and The ability for nearly 10,000 tax jurisdictions to force remote sellers to honor different sales tax holidays, imposing myriad of complicated rules.
ACMA, which is a cofounder of the True Simplification of Taxation (TruST) coalition, strongly urges Congress to reject this bill, which forces punishing costs, complexity, and confusion on businesses nationwide. Instead, ACMA will only support legislation that includes true simplifications of taxation.
Universal Forest Products Inc. has reported net sales of $2.1 billion in 2012, a 12.8-percent increase over 2011, and net earnings of $23.9 million or $1.21 per diluted share in 2012, compared to net earnings of $4.5 million in 2011.
Fourth quarter net sales were $470.8 million, up 11.5 percent over the same quarter in 2011. However, Universal saw a loss of $1.9 million in the fourth quarter, or 10 cents per diluted share, compared to a loss of $1.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
“The first six months gave us a great start, but the back half of the year was more difficult. Our concerns that strong unit sales in the first and second quarters would pull sales and profit from later in the year proved to be valid,” said CEO Matthew J. Missad. “I’m proud of our team and our efforts and believe we have much to be encouraged by, but there’s also much room for improvement in 2013.”
For the fourth quarter, unit sales were down 2 percent but net sales increased due to price increases in the lumber market. In the fourth quarter, the lumber composite price was up 33 percent over the previous year; for the entire year, it was up 19 percent over 2011. Because Universal prices many of its products to achieve a fixed profit per unit and lumber is priced as a pass-through cost, higher lumber prices adversely affect margins as a percentage of sales.
December 2012 US commercial printing shipments were down -$224 million, or -3.3% compared to 2011. On an inflation-adjusted basis, shipments were down -$386 million (-5.6%).
For the year, shipments were $80.4 billion, down -1.8% or -$1.47 billion. On an inflation-adjusted basis, shipments were down -$3.23 billion, or -2.9% (click image to enlarge).
Here’s a chart on US Printing Shipments 2007 – 2012 – INFLATION ADJUSTED
UPM Plywood calls off anticipated lay-offs decided at its birch plywood mills in Finland for the first half of the year. Joensuu, Jyväskylä and Savonlinna plywood mills had decided lay-offs lasting maximum of 90 days based on the employee negotiations held during the end of 2012. This anticipation of lay-offs was based on weak order stock and scarcity of logs.
“Birch plywood market situation and raw material availability have improved since the turn of the year and lay-offs have not been implemented in any of the mills. Lay-offs will not be needed during the spring either, so they will be cancelled in whole”, says Kim Poulsen, Senior Vice President, UPM Plywood.
Uncertainty in the spruce plywood markets is continuing, though, and lay-offs decided at the Pellos mills will remain for time being.
Huhtamaki Inc., the global consumer goods packaging company expanding in the region, wants to grow its Franklin plant to be one of the largest nested food tray and folding food carton producers in the country, company officials said..
The Franklin plant, formerly known as Ample Industries Inc., was already a growing company when Huhtamaki bought it in 2011 for approximately $31 million. It currently has about 240 employees, one of Franklin’s largest private employers.
Ample, located at 4000 Commerce Center Drive in Franklin, specializes in nested paperboard packaging such as food trays, French fry scoops and clamshell sandwich boxes for national quick-service restaurants. Customers include Arby’s, Dairy Queen, Yum! Brands, Subway and Buffalo Wild Wings, among others, said Bob Fairchild, who co-founded Ample in 1997.
Ample has turned in record sales every year since its inception, reaching annual sales of about $60 million in 2011, Fairchild said. He is now vice president of Huhtamaki’s folding carton division and national account sales.
The growth is fed by demand in the fast food market and the portability of food and beverages, Fairchild said. Huhtamaki expects to see more future growth in this consumer market as the economy recovers.
Metsä Board Corporation published on 15 February 2013 a press release concerning a fire at the reel warehouse of the Gohrsmühle mill in Germany. The fire has been put out and a fire-watch has been installed. No personal injuries occurred. The fire did not spread outside the reel warehouse.
Metsä Board produces cast coated Chromolux papers and has folding boxboard sheeting operations, launched in autumn 2012, at the Gohrsmühle mill.
The fire did not have material impacts on Chromolux production. Neither is the fire expected to have any material impact on Metsä Board’s total folding boxboard deliveries nor any material result impact for Metsä Board.
West Texas Intermediate oil fell for a second day, extending the biggest drop in two weeks, while Brent futures were little changed. Saudi Arabia’s crude shipments slid to a 15-month low in December.
New York crude declined as much as 0.4 percent. Data from the Federal Reserve showed U.S. industrial production unexpectedly shrank in January. Saudi Arabia exported 7.06 million barrels of crude a day in December, the least since September 2011, according to the Joint Organisations Data Initiative. Christof Ruehl, chief economist at BP Plc, sees no scarcity of supply and expects Saudi Arabia to reduce exports further, he said today in an interview in London. Brent’s premium to WTI widened as the London-traded contract rose.
It’s the kind of skewed situation where we have growth in the U.S. but they have enough oil, and where we do have the major demand growth, we don’t have the oil,” Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said in a telephone interview today. “That’s obviously putting the upside pressure on the Brent crude more than on WTI.”
Crude for March delivery fell as much as 41 cents to $95.45 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $95.67 at 3:50 p.m. Dubai time. The contract dropped $1.45 to $95.86 on Feb. 15.
Best Buy’s Low Price Guarantee hits online and in stores on March 3, signaling the end of “showrooming.” Best Buy will price match all local retail competitors and 19 major online competitors in all product categories and on nearly all in-stock products, whenever asked by a customer.
Best Buy is the only retailer to offer a Low Price Guarantee in addition to having a full range of the latest and greatest devices and services, a sales force dedicated to providing impartial and knowledgeable advice and full support for the life of the product.
Twin Rivers Paper Company, a leader in lightweight specialty packaging, label and publishing papers, expands its footprint in the specialty packaging market through the introduction of Acadia® Extruding Base. This uncoated, machine-finished paper is ideal for polymer-extrusion coating applications such as sugar packets, salt and pepper packets, flavor packets, freezer papers, and dried soup pouches.
Acadia® Extruding Base offers optimal strength, printability and runnability for package designs. It maintains its stiffness and stability when laminated to other substrates and is optimized for converting and filling efficiency. FDA compliant for direct and indirect food contact, it is available in natural fiber and custom color options.
“We are committed to broadening our reach in the specialty packaging markets,” says Dave Deger, Director of Business Development and Marketing. “Acadia® Extruding Base offers our customers a high performing solution for their extrusion coating applications backed up by over 20 years of specialty packaging expertise.”
American Media, Inc., the leading content centric media company specializing in celebrity journalism and health and fitness in the U.S., today reported its financial results for the third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2012.
Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal year 2013 was $85 million, compared to $88 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2012, representing a 3% decrease. For the nine months ended December 31, 2012, revenue was $262 million, as compared to $286 million, an 8% decrease, compared to prior year. The decrease in revenue during both the quarter and nine-month periods primarily reflected the negative impact of Superstorm Sandy, the shift of print advertising dollars to broadcast for the 2012 Summer Olympics and the overall general market weakness for advertising spending due to the continued downturn in the U.S. economy.
Operating income before impairment charges for the third quarter of fiscal year 2013 was $12 million, or $0.8 million higher than the prior year's third quarter. For the nine months ended December 31, 2012, operating income before impairment charges was $38 million, or $7 million lower than the prior-year period. The decrease in operating income during the nine-month period was primarily due to the above-mentioned decrease in revenue, as well as duplicative expenses incurred in connection with Superstorm Sandy, partially offset by cost reductions generated by the Company as it implemented its management action plans.
Digital audiences for magazines are growing fast, with big increases in consumption via apps and Web sites. The Web sites for two major magazines, Forbes and Cooking Light, have reported big increases in traffic in January.
Forbes.com had a record January 2013, with 16 million unique visitors during the month according to comScore -- an increase of 26% over January 2012, and a 67% increase since it was relaunched in June 2010. According to Forbes, the Web site content -- around 400-500 original pieces of content per day, produced by around 1,000 topic experts and a core group of full-time reporters -- generates over 100,000 social actions per day.
Whereas less than 1% of visits came from social sites in 2010, about 8% to 10% of visits to Forbes.com are now referred from social networks. The mobile audience has increased 150% compared to last year, and now comprises around 30% of the total audience.
The Forbes Web site is also generating more ad revenue thanks to BrandVoice, which allows marketers to create custom content on the site as well as bigger, more interactive ad units and programmatic selling.
Cooking Light is also reporting strong growth, thanks to increased traffic from social sites and mobile. In January, the site had 2 million unique visitors -- up 47% from January 2012 -- and 20 million page views, up 57% over the same period. The volume of traffic received from social media sites increased 114%, while mobile traffic is up 106% from February-December 2012. According to Folio:, a large share of the social referrals are coming from Pinterest.
INTERNATIONAL FOREST PRODUCTS LIMITED reported net income of $3.7 million or $0.07 per share before one-time items and share-based compensation expense in the fourth quarter of 2012.
These results compare with net earnings, reported on the same basis, of $2.9 million in the third quarter of 2012 and a loss of $2.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
EBITDA for the quarter, adjusted to exclude one-time items, other income and the effects of share-based compensation, was $19.4 million compared with $17.2 million in the third quarter and $7.7 million in the fourth quarter last year.
One-time items and share-based compensation amounted to $7.3 million in the fourth quarter.
The Company’s results in the current quarter were negatively impacted by certain costs associated with the rebuild of the Grand Forks sawmill, which was curtailed on November 9th and resumed operations on December 3rd. The estimated impact of these costs on earnings and EBITDA in the fourth quarter was $2.8 million.
Since resuming operations, the Grand Forks mill has been moving through its start-up processes and is currently running at approximately 97% of proforma.
Future, the international specialist media group and leading digital publisher, today unveils the latest round of ABC figures for the period ending December 2012*.
The consumer engagement of Future’s Entertainment Group as a whole is now at a record high, delivering a global reach over 20.2m, up 29% year-on-year**. Following the appointment of Clair Porteous as Head of Entertainment in October last year, the Entertainment management team has been restructured to make it more agile and equipped to deal with the ever-changing media landscape. The Group engages with its audiences across a multitude of platforms including online, social media, on mobile, through video, live events and in print and digital editions.
Finch Paper’s FIT Color Management & Workflow Services team recently spent three days at Ricoh’s Solutions Center in Boulder, CO assisting their digital output solutions team in achieving consistent, G7 Color on their flagship InfoPrint aqueous continuous form inkjet platforms, the InfoPrint 5000 family.
FIT’s innovative, collaborative work with Original Equipment Manufacturers like Ricoh helps to ensure our print customers’ success as they adapt to new printing technologies.
Integrating G7 gray balance into Ricoh’s aqueous inkjet workflow allows for consistent color output, from machine-to-machine and job-to-job, as well as ensuring color balance on Finch’s various substrates.
Finch Digital Application Manager Mary Schilling, who leads the FIT color team, said “The Ricoh team has designed a user-friendly machine workflow which allows the creation of custom color profiling for its InfoPrint 5000 platforms.”
AAA Fuel Gage 2/15/13
National Unleaded Regular:
Current Average - $3.643/gallon
Month Ago Average - $3.294/gallon
Year Ago Average - $3.523/gallon
Highest Recorded Average - $4.114/gallon on 7/17/08
Current Average - $4.098/gallon
Month Ago Average - $4.019/gallon
Year Ago Average - $3.938/gallon
Highest Recorded Average - $4.845/gallon on 7/17/08
Current Exchange Rates as of 2/15/13
American Dollar to Canadian Dollar = 0.997745
American Dollar to Chinese Yuan = 0.160364
American Dollar to Euro = 1.332036
American Dollar to Japanese Yen = 0.010796
American Dollar to Mexican Peso = 0.078658
West Texas Intermediate oil fell, trimming its ninth weekly gain in 10 weeks. Open interest for the U.S. benchmark grade rose to a record while a report signaled OPEC will cut crude shipments this month.
WTI fell as much 0.7 percent in New York, paring its advance this week to 1.1 percent. Prices gained 0.3 percent yesterday as the number of contracts outstanding rose to the highest level since the futures began trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange in March 1983. OPEC will cut exports by 0.9 percent this month, according to a tanker tracker. Data on U.S. industrial production later today is forecast to show a third- straight month of expansion.
“Fundamentals are acceptably balanced for now,” said Michael Poulsen, an analyst at Global Risk Management Ltd. in Middelfart, Denmark.
Crude for March delivery declined as much as 70 cents to $96.61 a barrel in electronic trading in New York and was at $96.73 at 11:37 a.m. London time.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate reintroduced a bill on Thursday that would pave the way for tax collection by online retailers.
The Marketplace Fairness Act authorizes state governments to require most out-of-state retailers to collect tax from consumers. The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), has garnered bipartisan support from more than 50 Senators and Representatives.
Backers say the bill will make brick-and-mortar stores -- which must collect sales tax -- more competitive with online retailers. Currently, out-of-state stores, including online retailers, can't be required to collect sales tax unless they have an in-state presence, such as a physical location. While consumers are supposed to self-report their online purchases and pay sales taxes, observers think that many people don't fully do so.
The measure unveiled on Thursday is similar to a bill introduced in 2011, but with a few revisions. Among the most significant is that the current bill has an exception for small businesses with less than $1 million in sales, while the previous measure only exempted businesses who took in less than $500,000.
Best Buy Co., Inc., the largest consumer electronics retailer applauded federal legislation introduced today that gives individual states the authority to apply sales tax collection laws fairly to all sellers, regardless of selling channel. The Marketplace Fairness Act, sponsored by U.S. Senators Durbin, Heitkamp, Alexander and Enzi and U.S. House Representatives Womack, Noem, Speier, Conyers and Welch, would update old laws – established well before the days of online shopping – that only applied to retailers, like Best Buy, that had physical locations. This legislation would allow states to enforce their own existing sales tax laws on all retailers who do business in the state, giving states more authority over their own fiscal matters.
“We fully support and encourage Congress to pass this long overdue and widely supported reform,” said Hubert Joly. “The retail environment is much different today than when these laws were originally passed –long before the Internet even existed. Today’s highly competitive marketplace allows consumers to shop how they want, when they want and where they want. It is critical that today’s sales tax laws reflect this new world, because when businesses compete fairly consumers and communities benefit.”
Best Buy currently collects and remits sales taxes from consumers in all states that impose one, including sales made instore, by phone and online on www.bestbuy.com
Amcor announces today it has agreed to acquire select printing assets of AGI-Shorewood’s Tobacco Packaging and Specialty Folding Carton Operations for US$114.8 million. The acquired business has plants or assets in each of South Korea, USA, Mexico and China. The acquisition excludes the AGI-Shorewood plant in Smiths Falls, Canada.
The acquisition expands Amcor’s business in the higher growth regions of Asia and Latin America and includes specialty folding carton production assets in the United States. In Mexico it builds on the position established by Amcor following the recent acquisition of Aluprint.
For the 2012 calendar year the acquired business had sales of US$126 million and EBITDA of US$22 million. The EBITDA purchase multiple is 5.2 times based on the last twelve months of earnings.
Net synergy benefits are anticipated to be approximately US$13 million and the net cash cost to achieve these synergies is expected to be approximately US$20 million. The acquisition is expected to deliver a return on investment of more than 20% by the end of year three.
Canfor Corporation today reported net income attributable to shareholders of $21.6 million, or $0.15 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $22.2 million, or $0.16 per share, for the third quarter of 2012 and a shareholder net loss of $44.1 million, or $0.31 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2011. For the year ended December 31, 2012, the shareholder net income was $32.1 million, or $0.22 per share, compared to a net loss of $56.6 million, or $0.40 per share, for 2011.
The shareholder net income for the fourth quarter of 2012 included various items affecting comparability with prior periods, which had an overall positive impact on the Company’s results of $1.2 million, or $0.01 per share. After adjusting for such items, the Company’s adjusted shareholder net income for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $22.8 million, or $0.16 per share, up $7.5 million, or $0.05 per share, from an adjusted shareholder net income of $15.3 million, or $0.11 per share, for the third quarter of 2012, and an adjusted shareholder net loss of $32.1 million, or $0.22 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2011. For the year ended December 31, 2012, the Company’s adjusted shareholder net income was $26.9 million, or $0.18 per share, in contrast to an adjusted shareholder net loss of $31.7 million, or $0.22 per share, for 2011.
The Company reported operating income of $50.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, an improvement of $27.8 million from $22.3 million reported for the third quarter of 2012. The increase was mostly attributable to the continuing recovery in the U.S. housing market and improved operational performance at Canfor Pulp’s Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft (“NBSK”) pulp mills. North American #2&Btr dimension lumber prices showed strong gains, particularly in December. Pricing to offshore markets, much of which is negotiated monthly or quarterly in advance, showed solid gains but lagged those in North America. Results also reflected higher market stumpage and seasonally higher manufacturing costs, as well as an accounting gain related to the Company’s salaried post retirement benefit plans.
A fire broke at the reel warehouse of Metsä Board Corporation’s Gohrsmühle mill in Germany early in the morning of 15 February 2013. Several fire rescue departments’ units from the neighboring areas arrived on the mill site and the work to put out the fire continues. According to current information there is no danger of the fire spreading to a wider area. No personal injuries have occurred.
Metsä Board produces cast coated Chromolux papers and has folding boxboard sheeting operations, launched in autumn 2012, at the Gohrsmühle mill.
The sheeting operations at the site will be stopped for some time due to the fire and customers will be informed about the possible impacts on the deliveries in due course. According to current understanding, the fire is not expected to have any material impact on Metsä Board’s total folding boxboard deliveries nor any material result impact for Metsä Board.
InnerWorkings Inc., a leading global marketing supply chain company, today reported results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2012.
Record revenue of $208.0 million, an increase of 19 percent compared to revenue of $175.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Growth was driven by 16 percent organic growth in this quarter versus the fourth quarter of 2011.
Record adjusted cash flow generated from operations of $21.9 million, an increase of 94 percent compared to $11.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Record adjusted EBITDA of $12.5 million, compared to $11.2 million in the year-earlier period.
Fiscal Year Highlights:
Record revenue for fiscal year 2012 of $797.7 million, an increase of 26 percent compared to revenue of $633.8 million in fiscal year 2011. Growth was driven by 19 percent organic growth year-over-year.
Adjusted cash flow generated from operations of $20.7 million in 2012, compared to $29.0 million in fiscal year 2011.
Adjusted EBITDA was $45.3 million, an increase of 20 percent compared to $37.6 million in fiscal year 2011.
Pearson and Bertelsmann today announce that they have been notified by the US Department of Justice that it has closed its investigation into the proposed merger of Penguin and Random House, without conditions.
The two companies announced their agreement to combine Penguin and Random House in October 2012. The proposed merger is currently under review by the European Commission, the Canadian Competition Bureau and various other antitrust authorities around the world. Pearson and Bertelsmann continue to expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2013, after all necessary approvals have been received.
Following completion, Bertelsmann will own 53% and Pearson 47% of Penguin Random House. It will encompass all of Random House and Penguin Group’s publishing units in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa, as well as Penguin’s operations in China and Random House’s publishers in Spain and Latin America. Pearson and Bertelsmann believe that the combined organisation, the world’s leading consumer publishing company, will have a stronger platform and greater resources to invest in rich content, new digital publishing models and high-growth emerging markets.
Iggesund Paperboard’s production of Invercote in Iggesund, Sweden in 2012 surpassed all previous environmental achievements at the mill. Despite record-high manufacturing levels, emissions of environmentally harmful substances were lower than ever before.
“In a paper industry, the environmentally harmful emissions, above all to water, are usually proportional to production, that is, the more you make, the more you emit,” explains Anna Mårtensson, environmental manager at Iggesund Mill.
“But 2012 was a very positive exception for us. Even though our production was the most it’s ever been, our emissions were the lowest ever – or at least, as far back as we have reliable measurement data.”
Over the years Iggesund has taken a variety of steps to reduce its emissions. Fairly early on, the mill began separating out the leftover fibres that had passed through the pulping process with the aid of mechanical purification in sedimentation basins. In the 1970s another step was taken with the construction of an aerated lagoon, where microorganisms clean the wastewater to a higher standard. In 2009 the mill added a third stage, chemical purification, in which the wastewater is treated in the same way that drinking water is treated.
“Now we can clearly see the effects of the third stage,” Mårtensson says. “The oxygen-consuming substances have been greatly reduced and nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, which are so harmful to the marine ecosystem in the Baltic Sea, have been almost halved.”
Resolute Forest Products might be in a position to decide what it will do with its Fort Frances mill later this spring.
During a conference call Tuesday coinciding with the announcement of Resolute’s preliminary fourth quarter and 2012 results, Resolute president and CEO Richard Garneau said the company currently is looking to reposition the mill here.
There’s an investigation underway as to what kinds of grades the company can use, he noted.
“In two, three, four months, we should be in a position to determine what the future of the mill is going to look like,” Garneau said during the conference call.
“We’re certainly optimistic that we can reposition the mill,” he added. “There’s a good fibre base, as you know.
“There is a large co-gen—45 megawatt—that we are now running at probably two-thirds of its capacity.”
Garneau said he thinks the local mill has advantages going for it that the company can utilize.
“But we have to find the right niche and also find a way not to spend too much money to convert it,” he stressed.
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe told a Senate committee today that the Postal Service’s financial problems are more urgent than ever and will continue to get worse until Congress takes action to reform its business model. Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Donahoe said the Postal Service will continue to take aggressive steps to increase revenue and reduce operating expenses but needs legislative changes from Congress to help return the Postal Service to long-term financial stability.
To preserve our mission to provide secure, reliable, and affordable universal delivery service, the Postal Service needs urgent reform to its business model,” stated Donahoe. “The American people deserve a financially healthy Postal Service. We will continue to work together with Congress to achieve that goal.”
Specifically, the Postal Service is seeking legislative provisions that would:
•Require the Postal Service to sponsor its own health care plan
•Reform the USPS business model to remove restrictions that prevent the Postal Service from responding to the demands of the marketplace, and to enable it to compete much more effectively in a dynamic business environment
•Transition the Postal Service to a new workforce based on a redefined “employee of the future.” This would include a personal retirement contribution plan for employees joining the Postal Service after 2015 – versus a defined benefit plan
•Provide a proper calculation of its Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) surplus based upon data specific to the postal workforce, and then allow those funds to reduce the debt of the Postal Service
•Avoid restrictions on the announced move to a six-day package, five-day mail delivery schedule.
The Postal Service needs the help of Congress to close a $20 billion budget gap.