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International Paper Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results

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International Paper (NYSE: IP) reported third quarter 2019 financial results.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Third quarter net earnings attributable to International Paper of $344 million ($0.87 per diluted share) compared with $292 million ($0.73 per diluted share) in the second quarter of 2019 and $562 million ($1.37 per diluted share) in the third quarter of 2018
  • Third quarter adjusted operating earnings* (non-GAAP) of $431 million ($1.09 per diluted share) compared with $460 million ($1.15 per diluted share) in the second quarter of 2019 and $641 million ($1.56 per diluted share) in the third quarter of 2018
  • Third quarter cash provided by operations of $882 million and year-to-date of $2.7 billion compared with $2.4 billion year-to-date in the same period of 2018
    Strong operating performance and cost management
  • Third quarter debt repayment of $383 million
  • Third quarter share repurchases of $74 million, bringing the trailing 12 month total to $685 million

"International Paper delivered another quarter of solid earnings and strong cash generation," said Mark Sutton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We continue to demonstrate the strength and resilience of our cash engine and our ability to perform well in a challenging global environment. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, we will continue to maximize performance by optimizing our full value chain from fiber to the customer."

Industrial Packaging operating profits in the third quarter of 2019 were $510 million ($535 million excluding special items) compared with $507 million ($515 million excluding special items) in the second quarter of 2019. In North America, earnings increased due to improved demand for boxes and export containerboard, lower planned maintenance outage expenses and lower input costs, primarily for recycled containerboard and wood. Earnings were negatively impacted by lower export containerboard prices and seasonally higher manufacturing operations. In Europe, earnings improved driven by higher average margins and favorable manufacturing operations which benefited from continued improved performance at the Madrid, Spain mill, partially offset by seasonally lower volumes, primarily in Morocco.

Global Cellulose Fibers operating profits in the third quarter of 2019 were $(3) million ($4 million excluding special items) compared with $(2) million ($0 million excluding special items) in the second quarter of 2019. Lower planned maintenance outage expenses and input costs, primarily for energy, chemicals and wood were mostly offset by lower average sales prices for fluff and market pulp and increased economic downtime.

Printing Papers operating profits in the third quarter of 2019 were $148 million ($162 million excluding special items) versus $(33) million ($114 million excluding special items) in the second quarter of 2019. Earnings in both periods were negatively affected by the net impairment of our India Papers business, included as a special item below. In North America, earnings increased due to improved manufacturing operations and lower planned maintenance outage expenses. Average sales margins were slightly lower, primarily due to an unfavorable geographic mix. In Brazil, earnings increased due to seasonally stronger demand and a favorable geographic mix, partially offset by unfavorable export average sales prices. In Europe and Russia, earnings increased primarily due to lower planned maintenance outages in both regions.

Ilim joint venture equity earnings were $18 million in the third quarter of 2019 compared with $67 million in the second quarter of 2019. Operationally, earnings decreased driven by lower export sales prices for hardwood pulp, softwood pulp and containerboard to China and other export markets. Sales volumes also decreased due to planned outages at the Bratsk, Koryazhma and Ust-Ilimsk mills. The Company recognized a non-cash after-tax foreign exchange loss of $4 million in the third quarter of 2019 ($0.01 per diluted share), compared with a gain of $7 million in the second quarter of 2019 ($0.02 per diluted share), primarily due to Ilim's U.S. dollar denominated net debt.

Graphic Packaging equity earnings on our 21.6% ownership position were $10 million in the third quarter of 2019, compared with $14 million in the second quarter of 2019.

Corporate expenses were $21 million for the third quarter of 2019, compared with $3 million in the second quarter of 2019.

The reported effective tax rate for the third quarter of 2019 was 30%, which reflects the impact of certain non-deductible special items noted below, and adjustments to the U.S. Federal tax provision after the finalization of the 2018 tax return, compared to a 2019 second quarter reported effective tax rate of 38%. The higher reported effective tax rate in the second quarter reflects the impact of certain non-deductible special items and other tax expense noted below as special items.

Excluding special items and non-operating pension expense, the operational effective tax rate for the third quarter of 2019 was 27%, compared with 25% for the second quarter of 2019. The higher effective tax rate in the third quarter is primarily due to the U.S. taxation of foreign earnings and related adjustments to the U.S. Federal tax provision after the finalization of the 2018 tax return.

International Paper's complete third quarter 2019 earnings report with tables can be found on the company's website, http://www.internationalpaper.com/

 

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