Net sales in the third quarter of 2018 increased $83 million, or 13%, compared to the third quarter of 2017. The sales increase was driven by improved average pricing, primarily attributable to improved product mix including increased specialty sales, driven by continued economic growth and evolution of e-commerce markets, and price increases across all product lines. Specialty paper price increases are being driven by inflationary costs and higher pulp prices. Overall sales volume was up slightly, driven primarily by the increased sales of our specialty products, partially offset by a reduction in external pulp sales due to internal needs. Gross margin, excluding depreciation and amortization expenses, increased from 10.8% in the third quarter of 2017 to 17.6% in the third quarter of 2018, driven by higher average pricing and improved product mix, reduced downtime, lower major maintenance costs and reduction of pension costs, partially offset by reliability issues at our Luke Mill, increased freight expense and inflation of chemical, energy and fiber costs. Click read more below for additional detail.
Clearwater Paper Corporation (NYSE: CLW) a premier supplier of quality tissue and bleached paperboard products,today announced a key divisional executive appointment. Joanne P. Shufelt is named senior vice president and general manager of the consumer products division, effective immediately. Ms. Shufelt succeeds Arsen Kitch, who was named president and chief executive officer of the company in April 2020.
“Joanne is an outstanding leader and brings more than 30 years of sales, marketing, and operations experience in the paper industry to our tissue business,” said Arsen Kitch, president and chief executive officer. “I look forward to Joanne’s continued, valued contributions as a senior leader for Clearwater Paper after having served as the interim general manager for the consumer products business since April,” Kitch concluded.
Ms. Shufelt joined Clearwater Paper in 2012 as vice president of sales and marketing for consumer products and has since grown in leadership responsibilities while in this role. Previously, she held sales leadership positions at Duro Standard Products, a private packaging company, and AbitibiBowater Inc., now Resolute, Inc., a pulp, paper, and tissue company. Prior to that, Ms. Shufelt spent 20 years at Georgia Pacific, in sales and operations leadership roles. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business and finance from Marymount College, a division of Fordham University, and a Master of Business Administration from Emory University.
“We have a great team at Clearwater Paper, and I am honored to lead the consumer products business and continue our commitment to achieve strong business results and service our customers,” said Ms. Shufelt.