Clearwater Paper Reports Third Quarter 2016 Results

The company reported net sales of $435.3 million for the third quarter of 2016, down 1.6% compared to net sales of $442.2 million for the third quarter of 2015. Net earnings determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, for the third quarter of 2016 were $0.9 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, compared to $23.1 million, or $1.21 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2015. Excluding certain items identified in the attached reconciliations to GAAP, third quarter 2016 adjusted net earnings were $2.4 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, compared to third quarter 2015 adjusted net earnings of $24.4 million, or $1.28 per diluted share. The decrease in net earnings was due primarily to $18.0 million of pre-tax planned major maintenance at the company’s Lewiston, Idaho pulp and paperboard facility, lower paperboard pricing and shipments, $3.5 million of pre-tax net costs incurred from an unplanned power outage at the Lewiston facility, a $3.5 million pre-tax settlement charge associated with a pension lump sum buyout, and contractual wage increases. These items were partially offset by higher productivity and lower input costs for transportation, chemicals and natural gas.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, was $32.0 million for the third quarter of 2016 compared to $61.3 million for the third quarter of 2015. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $34.3 million, down 45.7% compared to third quarter 2015 Adjusted EBITDA of $63.2 million.

“Clearwater Paper achieved third quarter financial results at the high end of our outlook with increased retail sales volumes in consumer products that helped to mitigate continued challenging paperboard market conditions,” said Linda K. Massman, president and chief executive officer. “The team’s outstanding focus on implementing our strategic capital projects and operational efficiencies also contributed to our results.”

“Through the third quarter, we have purchased approximately 1.1 million shares at an average price of $46.91 as part of our $100 million stock repurchase program we announced last December. Our stock repurchase program reflects our confidence in future cash generation capabilities and a commitment to return capital to shareholders,” said Massman.

Consumer Products
Net sales in the Consumer Products segment were $253.3 million for the third quarter of 2016, up 2.5% compared to third quarter 2015 net sales of $247.0 million. This increase was due to market share gains, which resulted in growth of total tissue volume and a richer product mix that included a 7.0% increase in retail tons sold.

On a GAAP basis, the segment had operating income of $17.2 million in the third quarter of 2016, compared to operating income of $15.5 million in the third quarter of 2015. Adjusted operating income of $15.9 million for the third quarter of 2016 was down from $16.7 million compared to the same period in 2015, after adjusting for a $1.8 million net gain in the third quarter of 2016 resulting from the release of an indemnity escrow related to the sale of the company’s former specialty tissue mills, $0.5 million and $0.7 million of costs in the third quarters of 2016 and 2015, respectively, related to the previously announced Long Island, New York facility closure, and $0.5 million of reorganization related expenses in the third quarter of 2015. The adjusted operating margin declined from 6.8% in the third quarter of 2015 to 6.3% in the most recent period due to higher maintenance and wage costs which were partially offset by higher shipment volumes, a richer product mix and lower transportation costs.
•Total tissue sales volumes of 100,600 tons in the third quarter of 2016 increased by 2.5% and converted product cases shipped were 13.8 million, up 3.0%, each compared to the third quarter of 2015.
•Average tissue net selling prices increased by a modest 0.04% to $2,516 per ton in the third quarter of 2016, compared to the third quarter of 2015.

Pulp and Paperboard
Net sales in the Pulp and Paperboard segment were $182.0 million for the third quarter of 2016, down 6.8% compared to third quarter 2015 net sales of $195.2 million. The decrease was primarily due to lower paperboard shipments and pricing. Operating income for the quarter decreased $27.4 million to $10.0 million, compared to $37.4 million for the third quarter of 2015, primarily due to $18.0 million of planned major maintenance at the Lewiston, Idaho mill, $3.5 million of net costs incurred from an unplanned power outage at the Lewiston facility, and contractual wage increases. These factors were partially offset by lower input costs for polyethylene, natural gas, and transportation.
•Paperboard sales volumes decreased 1.1% to 196,271 tons in the third quarter of 2016, compared to 198,535 tons in the third quarter of 2015.
•Paperboard net selling prices decreased 5.3% to $927 per ton compared to the third quarter of 2015.
more at:  http://ir.clearwaterpaper.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=994736

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