International Paper has released its results for the first quarter of 2021, citing sales of $5.4 billion, up slightly from the year-ago period and from the $5.2 billion in sales in Q4 2020.
Net earnings (loss) were $349 million ($0.88 per diluted share), compared to $153 million ($0.39 per diluted share) in the fourth quarter of 2020 and $(141) million ($(0.36) per diluted share in the first quarter of 2020.
First quarter 2020 net earnings included an after-tax charge of $337 million ($0.85 per diluted share) for the impairment of the net assets and write-off of foreign currency translation adjustment following the announcement of the sale of the Brazil Packaging business.
First quarter adjusted operating earnings (non-GAAP) of $299 million ($0.76 per diluted share) compared with $296 million ($0.75 per diluted share) in the fourth quarter of 2020 and $226 million ($0.57 per diluted share) in the first quarter of 2020.
“International Paper delivered solid earnings and strong cash generation in the first quarter,” says Mark Sutton, chair and chief executive officer. “Operationally, we performed well to mitigate the significant impact of the winter storm and support strong customer demand in our packaging business.
“Looking ahead, we see momentum continuing to build in our three businesses. We expect continued strong demand for corrugated packaging and absorbent pulp, and we’re seeing a much better supply/demand backdrop for printing papers, all of which contributes to a more favourable outlook in 2021.”First quarter 2021 adjusted operating earnings include a pre-tax earnings impact of $(80) million ($(0.15) per diluted share) related to the winter storm in the U.S.
“I am mindful that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. The health and safety of our employees remains our most important responsibility and I appreciate their commitment to take care of each other and our customers.”
Operating profits (losses) in the first quarter of 2021 were $447 million compared with $431 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.
In North America, earnings were solid as higher sales prices for boxes and export containerboard were offset by a $(75) million impact from the winter storm.
Planned maintenance outage expenses were also higher. In Europe, earnings improved reflecting seasonally higher volumes in Morocco and lower operating costs, partially offset by lower average sales margins driven by higher containerboard costs.
Operating profits (losses) in the first quarter of 2021 were $(82) million compared with $(114) million in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Earnings improved reflecting higher average sales prices and lower operating costs partially offset by higher input costs for wood and energy. Earnings benefited from the non-repeat of an asset write-off in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Operating profits (losses) were $80 million in both the first quarter of 2021 and the fourth quarter of 2020. In North America, earnings were lower driven by higher input costs for wood and energy and higher planned maintenance outage expenses partially offset by lower economic downtime costs.
In Brazil, earnings improved as seasonally lower sales volumes and higher input costs were more than offset by higher average sales prices, lower operating costs and favourable foreign currency impacts.
In Europe and Russia, earnings were flat reflecting lower economic downtime costs and favourable foreign currency impacts mostly offset by lower average sales prices, an unfavourable geographic mix and higher input costs.
Read the full International Paper financial report.
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