Domtar Corporation Reports Preliminary Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results

Domtar Corporation reported net earnings of $18 million ($0.29 per share) for the second quarter of 2016 compared to net earnings of $4 million ($0.06 per share) for the first quarter of 2016 and net earnings of $38 million ($0.60 per share) for the second quarter of 2015. Sales for the second quarter of 2016 were $1.3 billion. "We had a solid performance given the extensive scheduled maintenance outages and the Ashdown conversion. Our focus on costs and execution resulted in below-plan maintenance spending, and we benefited from higher pulp and paper prices with the implementation of recently announced price increases," said John D. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The conversion of the Ashdown paper machine to fluff pulp continues to progress, with the start-up scheduled over the next few days. This is another milestone within our strategic roadmap of pursuing growth opportunities that capitalize on our core competencies." click Read More for details
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Ahlstrom terminates the divestment of the Building & Wind business

Ahlstrom and Owens Corning have terminated the agreement regarding the planned divestiture of Ahlstrom's Building & Wind business unit to Owens Corning following challenges associated with obtaining regulatory clearance in Germany for the transaction. Ahlstrom will continue to operate and develop the Building & Wind business unit as before and it will be reported as part of the Filtration & Performance segment. In 2015, net sales of the Building & Wind business unit was EUR 83.5 million and the adjusted operating profit EUR 5.9 million. In January-March 2016, net sales amounted to EUR 23.5 million and the adjusted operating profit to EUR 2.1 million.
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Oil Majors Lost One Engine; Now the Second One Is Sputtering

If Big Oil was a two-engine airplane, you could say it’s been flying on a single engine since energy prices crashed in 2014. Now, the second motor is sputtering. The major integrated oil companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp., Total SA and BP Plc, have relied on their so-called downstream businesses, which include refining crude into gasoline, oil trading and gas stations, to cushion the losses on their upstream units, which pump crude and natural gas. While the downstream business is sputtering, it’s still keeping the plane aloft. Margins remain well above the depressed levels of $5 to $7 a barrel of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
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NRF ups retail sales forecast

With increases in consumer spending expected to remain solid during the remainder of the year, the NRF on Tuesday upped its forecast for retail sales in 2016 to 3.4%, from the 3.1% forecast earlier. Online and other non-store sales, which are included in the overall figure, are expected to increase 7% to 10% year-over-year rather than the 6% to 9% forecast earlier. Retail sales in the first half of 2016 performed at a solid pace, growing close to 4% on a year-over-year basis, according to NRF calculations, which exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants. NRF expects gross domestic product to grow between 1.9% and 2.4%.
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U.S. Department of Energy Seeks Information on Existing Capabilities to Produce Cellulosic Sugar and Lignin

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) seeks input from industry, academia, national laboratories and other biofuels and bioproducts stakeholders to identify existing capabilities to produce lignocellulosic sugars and lignin for use by the research community. The mission of DOE's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is to develop and transform the country's biomass resources into commercially-viable high performance biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower through targeted research, development, demonstration and deployment (RD&D) supported through public and private partnerships. To facilitate this goal, BETO supports RD&D efforts that advance technologies to produce both (a) drop-in biofuels that can replace gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and (b) biomass-based products and chemicals that can compete with their petroleum-derived counterparts and enable biofuels deployment.
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Norbord Reports Second Quarter 2016 Results

Q2 2016 HIGHLIGHTS •Adjusted earnings of $0.49 per diluted share, a $0.63 improvement over Q2 2015 •Adjusted EBITDA of $94 million, a fivefold increase over Q2 2015 •Captured $32 million in cumulative merger synergies ($39 million annualized), 87% of $45 million total commitment •Realized $14 million in Margin Improvement Program gains year-to-date •North American manufacturing costs decreased 6% year-to-date •Declared quarterly dividend of CAD $0.10 per share to shareholders of record on September 1, 2016. click Read More for details
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Harry Potter and the Return of the Bookselling Frenzy

Harry Potter fans, booksellers, and librarians are getting ready to party like it’s 2007. Nine years ago this week, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling was published with all the attendant fanfare deserving of the seventh and final tome in the history-making series about a British boy wizard. That Potter magic is in the air again, as Scholastic preps to release, on July 31 (at 12:01 a.m.), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two (Scholastic/Levine). The hardcover is a “script book” version of the theater production written by Jack Thorne, based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, Thorne, and director John Tiffany, which opens in London’s West End July 30. “This is a huge, celebratory moment,” said Rachel Coun, executive marketing director and global brand management at Scholastic, who has worked on the Harry Potter series from the start. The first North American printing is 4.5 million copies. To date, combined sales for the first seven Harry Potter books have reached 160 million copies sold in the U.S., and 450 million worldwide. The strict global on-sale date for Cursed Child is a strategy that has been in place since book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and adheres to Rowling’s wish, Coun explained, that “everybody gets to experience the magic at the same time.” click Read More for the rest...
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SKG Q2 and H1 2016 Results

Second Quarter & Half Year Key Points *Group corrugated packaging growth of 5% in the first half - solid organic volume growth * EBITDA growth of 8% in the first half of the year - improved EBITDA margin of 14.6% *Improved ROCE of 15.4% *Interim dividend increased by 10% to 22 cent per share *Kraftliner price increases implemented in July in European markets. click Read More for details
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Revenues Up for Childrens/YA and Education Publishers in February

revenues were up Feb. 2016, compared to Feb. 2015. Despite gains in Childrens/YA Books and Religious Presses, a decline in Adult Books meant an overall decline for Trade books of 0.9% Feb. 2016 vs. Feb. 2015 and 8.2% year-to-date vs. 2015. Also within trade, downloaded audio and print formats continued to grow as eBooks declined. Big Picture Data •Publishers’ book sales for Feb. 2016 were $662.2 million, up 4.2% from $597.4 million in Feb. 2015. These numbers include sales for all tracked categories (Trade - fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.) ◦Year-to-date, sales were down 3.0% to $1.68 billion vs. the same two months in 2015. •Trade (consumer) books sales were $418.1 million in Feb. 2016, down 0.9% from $422.1 million in Feb. 2015. This includes Childrens/YA Books, Adult Books and Religious Books. ◦Adult Books had $281.5 million in sales in Feb. 2016, down 6.6% from $301.2 million in Feb. 2015. ◦Childrens/YA Books had $101.2 million in sales in Feb. 2016, up 17.0% from $86.5 million in Feb 2015. ◦Religious Presses had $35.4 million in sales, up by 3.2% from $34.3 million in Feb. 2015. ◦Year-to-date, trade sales are down 8.2% to $907.2 million vs. the same two months in 2015. click Read More for additional detail
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