Huhtamaki has completed the acquisition of FIOMO, a.s., a manufacturer of flexible packaging foils and labels in the Czech Republic. With the acquisition Huhtamaki expands its flexible packaging manufacturing footprint in Europe and is able to offer agile high quality off-set printing capabilities for smaller production runs for its customers. The annual net sales of the acquired business in 2014 were approximately EUR 21 million and it employs approximately 120 people in its manufacturing unit in the Prague area.
Net sales for WestRock for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, were $3.68 billion and segment income was $279 million. Adjusted segment income was $284 million, excluding the pre-tax impact of expensing $5 million of inventory that was stepped-up to fair value in purchase accounting, net of related LIFO. Restructuring and other items included $138 million of pre-tax facility closure costs, which primarily related to the previously announced permanent closure of the Coshocton, Ohio, medium mill and the Newberg, Oregon, mill; $21 million of pre-tax integration expenses primarily including severance and other costs primarily associated with the merger; $12 million of operating losses and transition costs primarily associated with operations in the process of being closed; $8 million of pre-tax costs associated with the planned spin-off of our Specialty Chemicals business into a new public company, Ingevity; $4 million of acquisition expenses; and $3 million of start-up costs at the Specialty Chemicals carbon facility in China.
Ahlstrom's strategy is built on three key success factors: customer focused solutions with tailor-made products, leading technology and manufacturing platforms, global reach and local insights. Our mission is to provide innovative fiber-based materials with a function in everyday life. As part of the implementation the company's business structure was simplified as of the beginning of this year and reorganized into two business areas: Filtration & Performance and Specialties. The aim of this change is to increase market and customer focus. Both segments have business unit specific strategies and operating models. This enables us to provide customer-driven product development and tailored customer service, cost efficiency, better allocation of resources, and specific go-to-market approaches.
January-December 2015 compared with January-December 2014 • Net sales EUR 1,074.7 million (EUR 1,001.1 million), showing an increase of 7.4%. Comparable net sales at constant currencies declined by 0.7%. • Operating profit EUR 21.9 million (EUR -3.7 million). • Operating profit excluding non-recurring items EUR 47.5 million (EUR 28.6 million), representing 4.4% (2.9%) of net sales. • Profit before taxes EUR 22.6 million (EUR -9.4 million), including a EUR 20.3 million capital gain booked from the sale of Munksjö Oyj shares.
Consolidated sales for the three-month period ended December 26, 2015, were $354 million, as compared to $332 million in the same quarter a year ago. The Company generated a net loss of $28 million or $0.28 per share in the December 2015 quarter compared to a net loss of $62 million or $0.62 per share in the December 2014 quarter. The current quarter results include a non-cash loss of $24 million related to the translation of US dollar denominated debt. Operating earnings before depreciation, amortization and other items (adjusted EBITDA) was $29 million for the three-month period ended December 26, 2015, as compared to adjusted EBITDA of $20 million a year ago and adjusted EBITDA of $36 million in the prior quarter.
Fourth Quarter 2015 Highlights: • Revenue increased 3.3% year-over-year, primarily due to the Small Business Services segment which grew 3.3%, as well as the Financial Services segment which grew 7.3% and included the results of Datamyx LLC which was acquired in October 2015. • Revenue from marketing solutions and other services increased 12.3% year-over-year and accounted for 33.1% of consolidated revenue in the quarter. • Gross margin was 63.0% of revenue, flat compared to 63.1% in the fourth quarter of 2014. Unfavorable product revenue mix and increased delivery and material costs were offset by previous price increases, an increase in service margins and improvements in manufacturing productivity.
Some of the trends noted during the three quarters of 2015: •While sales for trade books overall were flat, the categories within had different growth trajectories from Jan. – Sept.: Adult Books were up 2.9%, Children/YA were down 7.4%, and Religious Presses were down 1.5%. •Paperbacks and downloaded audiobooks within the trade category grew in double digits •Sales declined for Higher Educational Course Materials and PreK-12 Instructional Materials.
JANUARY 1 – DECEMBER 31, 2015 (compared with same period a year ago) •Net sales rose 11% (5% excluding exchange rate effects) to SEK 115,316m (104,054) •Organic sales growth, which excludes exchange rate effects, acquisitions and divestments, was 5% •Operating profit, excluding items affecting comparability, rose 10% to SEK 13,014m (11,849) •The operating margin, excluding items affecting comparability, was 11.3% (11.4%, 11.1% excluding gains on forest swaps) •Profit before tax, excluding items affecting comparability, rose 11% to SEK 12,059m (10,888) •Items affecting comparability totaled SEK -2,067m (-1,400), of which SEK -874m (-906) affects cash flow
Total printing-writing paper inventory levels increased 1 percent from November levels. Uncoated free sheet (UFS) paper shipments increased 1 percent relative to shipments in December 2014, the fourth year-over-year increase during 2015. For the year, UFS shipments were down 1 percent. December coated free sheet (CFS) paper shipments were flat (up less than 1 percent) compared to December 2014, with annual shipments down 6 percent versus 2014. Uncoated mechanical (UM) paper shipments decreased 7 percent when compared with December 2014. UM shipments were also down 7 percent for the year, following a 2 percent increase in 2014. Coated mechanical (CM) shipments in December decreased 28 percent relative to December 2014 and were down 16 percent for the year.
Investors continue to play it safe when it comes to a rise in oil prices, Gregory Zuckerman reports. Some funds are focusing on senior, secured loans that are first in line to get paid back if energy companies run into debt problems. Others are buying hedges against further declines in oil or natural-gas prices. Both steps mean lower gains. Hedge fund Avenue Capital Group is buying senior debt that pays annual interest payments of more than 10%. If the companies survive, Avenue will pocket these high bond yields. Monarch Alternative Capital LP has been purchasing various hedges on its distressed energy investments, including derivatives that rise in value if oil prices fall.