Third quarter underlying operating profit of €221 million was 27% above the comparable prior year period (€174 million) with a good performance from all business units and strong incremental contributions from Packaging Paper, Uncoated Fine Paper and the South Africa Division. As anticipated, underlying operating profit was 13% lower than the second quarter, reflecting the impact of planned maintenance shuts in a number of key operations and the usual seasonal slowdown in demand in certain segments. Selling prices in local currency terms for most of the Group’s key paper grades were generally stable to higher versus both the second quarter and the comparable prior year period. Like-for-like sales volumes were up on the comparable prior year period with the exception of kraft paper, which was impacted by softer demand in certain export markets and the closure of the Lohja plant in the first half.
WestRock Company (NYSE: WRK), a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, today provided an update following the landfall of Hurricane Florence.
We are pleased that we have had no reported employee injuries and do not believe we have suffered any material physical damage to our facilities during the recent storm. We are working to restore normal operations at our facilities in the impacted region. We idled our kraft linerboard mill in Florence, South Carolina, in the middle of last week in advance of the landfall of Hurricane Florence. Yesterday, two of the three paper machines at the mill resumed operations, and we expect normal operations to resume after the transportation network in the region returns to normal.
WestRock operates an extensive network of mill and converting facilities in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia that were in the storm’s potential path. We incurred incremental costs in preparing these facilities and moving inventory, finished product and critical supplies in advance of the storm. With flooding expected across the region, we may have additional increased input and operational costs and issues in our supply chain, as well as experience negative impact from disruptions at our customers’ locations. We expect to provide an estimate as to the impact on our business and financial results later this month.