“I am pleased to report that during the past quarter Sappi delivered profits up 81% from a year ago, reduced debt by a further 17% (US$265 million) year-on-year. We also repaid US$400 million in bonds from cash reserves which will generate savings of approximately US$21 million per annum on our net interest charge. “Sappi’s third quarter is seasonally and historically its weakest quarter due to the slow-down in business activity during the Northern Hemisphere summer holiday period and Sappi’s choice to use this quarter to undertake major annual maintenance shuts. The past quarter’s earnings (EBITDA ex special items) at US$155 million where almost flat on a year ago. Higher volumes were offset by higher raw material prices and a stronger Rand/Dollar exchange rate.
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) announced the election of Greif Inc. President & CEO Pete Watson as the new AF&PA Board Chair and released its 2019 slate of AF&PA Board Officers. Paper and wood product industry leaders participated in the association’s Winter Board of Directors Meeting in Washington on February 7.
“I am eager to partner with AF&PA’s leadership to advance 2019 advocacy priorities that will support our industry’s ability to grow the economy and create American manufacturing jobs,” said Watson. “A more resilient market-based paper recycling system, improved transportation infrastructure, free and fair trade, a competitive tax system, and regulatory reforms and process improvements top our list. All will set a stronger foundation for the one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the nation to prosper as our companies apply sustainable manufacturing practices to make the products that improve everyday life.”
Watson has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Greif Inc., since November 1, 2015, having previously served as Chief Operating Officer for Greif. Since joining the company in 1999, Watson has held a number of executive positions, including Group President for Paper Packaging, Land Management, and Global Sourcing and Supply Chain. He also served as Division President of Paper Packaging, and President of CorrChoice (a Greif division), and Vice President of Corrugated Operations.
AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman said, “Our industry has a bright future and can compete anywhere in the world with the right public policies. We are committed to working together with stakeholders who share our interest in a sustainable U.S. manufacturing base. Under Pete Watson’s leadership, we’ll share the industry’s compelling story with decision makers in Washington and in state legislatures to ensure public policy clearly reflects the benefits of our products to society and reflects the needs of our members and their hard-working employees.”
Also elected officers are: Mark Sutton, Chairman & CEO, International Paper Company (first vice chair) and Mike Doss, President & CEO, Graphic Packaging International, Inc. (second vice chair). John Rooney, President & CEO, Evergreen Packaging LLC, and 2018 AF&PA Board Chair, will serve as Immediate Past Chair.
Beginning new terms as AF&PA Board members in 2019 are: Craig Anneberg, CEO, North Pacific Paper Company, LLC; C. Anderson Bolton, President & CEO, PaperWorks Industries, Inc.; John Carpenter, President, Nippon Dynawave Packaging; Mark Gardner, President & CEO, Sappi North America; William E. Johnson, Jr., President, Johnson Timber Corporation and Yves Laflamme, President & CEO, Resolute Forest Products
The AF&PA Board of Directors currently consists of 23 top industry leaders who represent a broad spectrum of companies in the paper and wood products manufacturing sector.