Finnpulp Ltd. announced that it is moving forward with plans to build a EUR 1.4 billion pulp mill in Kuopio, Finland. The proposed pulp mill would have an annual production capacity of 1.1 million tonnes of softwood pulp, 60,000 tonnes of tall oil (a by-product of the Kraft process of wood pulp production), and 0.8 TWh bio-electricity to the national grid. Finnpulp explained that long-fiber softwood pulp is used in the production of tissue paper and packaging paper grades, which are forecast to maintain steady growth.
West Coast port congestion issues could cost retailers as much as $7 billion this year, according to an analysis by Kurt Salmon. Work stoppage threats and major trade associations’ calls for federal intervention have retailers and consumer products companies on high alert. But even if contract talks succeed in overcoming the stalemate between dockworkers and port terminal operators, the challenges for the retail industry are just starting, and consumers – and investors – could feel it in their wallets. The ports are simply not structured to manage the combination of large ships and high volume. Retailers need to investigate new supply chain options – fast. “Recent earnings reports make clear that port issues are already causing headwinds for retailers, and they’re bracing for gales,” said Frank Layo, retail supply chain strategist, Kurt Salmon. “Our clients who are able have already begun to shift shipments to East Coast ports, or upgrade them to hit delivery dates. They’re laying out capital to buy and hold extra inventory to carry them through dry periods.”
Multi-Color Corporation (NASDAQ: LABL) today announced third quarter fiscal 2015 results. "Organic growth, improvements in existing operations and stronger contributions from acquisition integrations led to a much better fiscal Q3 year over year with another 21% gross margin quarter. We are focused on continuing to grow core EPS by maintaining the same strategies and disciplines in FY16. Improved earnings are being reflected in stronger cash flow giving us the capacity to fund growth while maintaining leverage discipline," said Nigel Vinecombe, President and CEO of Multi-Color Corporation. Third quarter highlights: * Net revenues increased 12% to $189.1 million from $169.4 million compared to the prior year quarter. Net revenues increased 10% or $17.0 million due to acquisitions occurring after the beginning of the third quarter of fiscal 2014, 3% due to higher sales volumes, and 2% due to pricing sales/mix. Revenues also decreased 3% due to the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange rates primarily driven by depreciation in the Australian dollar and the Euro. * Gross profit increased $11.0 million or 38% compared to the prior year quarter, including a strong performance from acquisitions occurring after the beginning of the third quarter of fiscal 2014, which contributed $3.7 million to the increase. Gross margins increased to 21% of sales revenues compared to 17% in the prior year quarter primarily due to improved operating efficiencies in North America, South America and Asia Pacific.
Crown Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CCK) today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2014. For the full year, net sales grew to $9,097 million compared to $8,656 million in 2013, primarily due to the impact of the Mivisa acquisition and increased global beverage can volumes, partially offset by $52 million of unfavorable currency translation. Gross profit for 2014 rose to $1,382 million versus $1,342 million in 2013 primarily reflecting the impact of the Mivisa acquisition.
The recent surge in oil prices is just a "head-fake," and oil as cheap as $20 a barrel may soon be on the way, Citigroup said in a report on Monday as it lowered its forecast for crude. Despite global declines in spending that have driven up oil prices in recent weeks, oil production in the U.S. is still rising, wrote Edward Morse, Citigroup's global head of commodity research. Brazil and Russia are pumping oil at record levels, and Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran have been fighting to maintain their market share by cutting prices to Asia. The market is oversupplied, and storage tanks are topping out. A pullback in production isn't likely until the third quarter, Morse said. In the meantime, West Texas Intermediate Crude, which currently trades at around $52 a barrel, could fall to the $20 range "for a while," according to the report. The U.S. shale-oil revolution has broken OPEC's ability to manipulate prices and maximize profits for oil-producing countries.
KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation (NYSE:KS) today reported preliminary results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2014. Consolidated net sales of $563 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 were flat compared to 2013. During the current quarter, we experienced some price pressure on exports. Work slow-downs at west coast ports delayed or reduced some shipments. The Company sold 687,000 tons of paper during the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to 703,000 tons a year earlier. The Company's average mill selling price of $677 per ton in the fourth quarter of 2014 increased by $7 per ton compared to the fourth quarter of 2013 due to the combined impact of the 2014 kraft paper and 2013 containerboard price increases, partially offset by lower export containerboard prices and a weaker Euro. Average mill selling prices decreased $12 per ton from the third quarter of 2014, reflecting the seasonally less favorable product mix and lower export containerboard prices. Operating income of $62 million for the 2014 fourth quarter decreased by $12 million, or 16 percent, compared to the 2013 fourth quarter. Financial performance in the current quarter was down from 2013 mainly due to inflation on fiber and compensation costs, lower export containerboard prices, and market downtime for saturating kraft and recycled containerboard, partially offset by higher prices on kraft paper and productivity improvements. In addition, work slowdowns at west coast ports reduced operating income by $3 million from lower sales and production volumes, operating inefficiencies, higher freight and distribution costs, and a less favorable product mix.
Burgo Group will increase by 8-10% the price of its UWF grades, both in reels, sheets and copy. The price hike will be applied to all deliveries starting from 15th March 2015. The price increase is driven by a need to relieve the impact of the trends of Dollar/Euro rate and pulp market. Burgo has been carrying out an extensive programme to optimize cost efficiency but despite tough measures the combined effect of the above-mentioned factors makes the profitability of the Group's UWF operations still unsustainable.
Urban Outfitters, Inc. (Nasdaq:URBN), a leading lifestyle specialty retail company operating under the Anthropologie, Bhldn, Free People, Terrain and Urban Outfitters brands, today announced record net sales for the quarter and year ended January 31, 2015. Total Company net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 increased to $1.01 billion or 12% over the same quarter last year. Comparable Retail segment net sales, which include our comparable direct-to-consumer channel, increased 6%. Comparable Retail segment net sales increased 18% at Free People, 6% at the Anthropologie Group and 4% at Urban Outfitters. Wholesale segment net sales rose 21%. For the year ended January 31, 2015, total Company net sales increased to $3.3 billion or 8% over the prior year. Comparable Retail segment net sales increased 2%. Wholesale segment net sales increased 27%.
The Home Depot®, the world's largest home improvement retailer, has begun filling more than 80,000 positions as it prepares for spring, the company's busiest selling season. The company is now recruiting for positions both in its stores and distribution facilities, as the warm season approaches and customers begin to spruce up their lawns and tackle new home improvement projects. From sales and cashiers to operations and online order fulfillment, opportunities available include both permanent part-time and seasonal positions.
UPM has significantly reduced work-related accidents with a three year program called “Step Change in Safety 2012–2014”. UPM’s lost time accident frequency* (LTAF) has decreased by 70% from 15.2 in 2012 to 4.4 in 2014. The Step Change in Safety 2012–2014 initiative engaged all UPM employees in a joint mission to improve the company’s safety culture and safety performance. The pervasive program renewed the foundations of safety work by shifting focus to preventative measures, such as proactive risk identification and management. Strong management commitment and active participation of employees and contractors have been the keys to success. As a result, UPM’s global LTAF decreased by a total of 70% from 15.2 in the beginning of 2012 to 4.4 by the end of 2014. The total number of lost time accidents globally decreased from over 550 in 2011 to 155 in 2014.