International Paper (NYSE: IP) today announced that it has entered into an agreement to settle the Kleen Products antitrust class action lawsuit, which was filed in 2010 against the Company and seven other containerboard producers and is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. If approved by the court, the agreement would resolve disputed claims involving the price of containerboard products purchased directly from International Paper, Temple-Inland Inc. and Weyerhaeuser Company by the class members at any time prior to the date of court approval. Under the terms of the agreement, the Company will pay $354 million into a settlement fund in return for dismissal and release of all claims. The Company will record a reserve for the expected settlement, which will result in a pre-tax charge of $354 million ($219 million, net of tax) in the second quarter of 2017. Click Read More below for additional detail.
Graphic Packaging Holding Company (NYSE: GPK), (the “Company” or “Graphic Packaging”) announced today the conclusion of its successful partnership with International Paper Company. The final tranche of the membership interests held by International Paper in Graphic Packaging International Partners, LLC (the “Partnership”) were exchanged for an equivalent number of shares of Graphic Packaging common stock. As a result, Graphic Packaging now owns 100% of the Partnership.
Michael Doss, the Company’s President and CEO, said, “The partnership with International Paper played an important role as we established our leadership position in fiber-based consumer packaging across all three paperboard substrates. The highly integrated model we have built enables us to serve a broad set of global customers with new and innovative packaging solutions, positioning us to achieve the ambitious growth and return goals established in Vision 2025. Through the combination with International Paper’s consumer packaging business, along with our other organic and inorganic growth initiatives, we have built scale across all three paperboard substrates, and have unique flexibility to quickly meet changing demand patterns for sustainable packaging solutions and deliver value for all stakeholders.”
Doss added, “I want to thank Mark Sutton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and the entire International Paper team for their contributions in building a platform to service and grow with new customers in attractive markets. The partnership was mutually beneficial and provided returns for both companies.”
Graphic Packaging completed the combination with International Paper’s North America Consumer Packaging Business in January 2018. Graphic Packaging owned 79.5% of the partnership and was sole manager, while International Paper owned 20.5%. As part of the final transaction, 22,773,072 membership units were exchanged for an equivalent number of shares of Graphic Packaging common stock. The total number of shares of the Company’s common stock outstanding following the transaction is roughly 306.9 million shares.