USA – Sustainable paper and packaging solutions provider Westrock has disclosed a net loss attributable to common stockholders of US$22.4 million for the first quarter (Q1) of financial year 2024 (FY24).

This marks a significant deviation from the US$45.3 million net income attributable to common stockholders reported in the corresponding period in FY23.

The company’s diluted loss per share amounted to US$0.09 in Q1 FY24, in contrast to earnings per share of US$0.18 in Q1 FY23.

Consolidated adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for the latest quarter totaled US$570.7 million, a decline from the US$652.1 million reported in the first quarter of financial year 2023.

This decrease was primarily ascribed to lower adjusted EBITDA in its Global Paper and Consumer Packaging segments, along with an increase in corporate non-allocated expenses.

For the quarter ending December 31, 2023, Westrock recorded net sales of US$4.6 billion, reflecting a 6.1% decrease from US$4.9 billion in the corresponding period last year.

This decline in net sales was driven by a notable reduction in the Global Paper segment, which experienced an 18.3% drop, and a 12.8% decrease in Consumer Packaging sales.

These figures underscore the impact of divestitures of mills and interior partitions from the previous year, partially offset by a 3.5% increase in Corrugated Packaging segment sales.

The company’s Global Paper segment witnessed a significant 21.9% rise in containerboard shipments compared to the prior year’s corresponding quarter.

Westrock CEO David B. Sewell stated, “During the quarter, we grew external containerboard shipments, while we felt the impact of lower paperboard market demand. We are continuing to deliver on, and we expect to significantly exceed, our cost savings targets.

“Our transformation initiatives have strengthened our portfolio, increased vertical integration, and created significant operational efficiencies. With our broad portfolio of packaging solutions and self-help initiatives, we are well-positioned to capitalize on the opportunities ahead.”

International Paper reports FY 2023 net earnings of US$288M

Meanwhile, International Paper has disclosed a full-year 2023 net earnings (loss) of US$288 million (US$0.82 per diluted share), with Q4 2023 net earnings (loss) amounting to US$284 million (US$0.82 per diluted share).

Both full-year and Q4 net earnings include a pre-tax charge of US$540 million related to mill strategic actions.

Full-year adjusted operating earnings (non-GAAP) stood at US$755 million (US$2.16 per diluted share), with Q4 adjusted operating earnings (non-GAAP) at US$142 million (US$0.41 per diluted share).

“In 2023, the International Paper team demonstrated our agility by navigating through challenging market conditions,” remarked Mark Sutton, Chairman, and CEO.

“We executed well and delivered US$260 million of Building a Better IP benefits, while accelerating cost reduction efforts across our operations and supply chain.

“Although earnings were impacted by lower demand and cost inflation, we executed strategic actions to further optimize our mill system and invest in the future growth of our packaging business. We also returned $839 million to our shareholders.”

In Q4 2023, Industrial Packaging operating profits (losses) amounted to US$315 million compared with US$325 million in Q3 2023.

In North America, earnings dipped due to lower sales prices for containerboard and corrugated boxes, an unfavorable geographic mix, and the absence of favorable adjustments related to employee benefit costs seen in Q3 2023.

However, higher sales volumes for containerboard, coupled with lower planned outage costs and economic downtime, partially offset these declines.

Input costs saw a slight increase, with higher recovered fiber costs being mostly offset by lower energy and other raw material costs.

In EMEA, earnings rose driven by seasonally higher volumes and a favorable product mix, along with benefits from an energy subsidy and other favorable one-time items.

Global Cellulose Fibers operating profits (losses) in Q4 2023 were US$58 million compared with US$27 million in Q3 2023.

Lower pulp pricing and higher planned outage costs impacted earnings, although an improved product mix partially offset these effects.

Sales volumes improved, and economic downtime decreased, reflecting ongoing market improvement. Input costs were lower, primarily for wood and chemicals.

International Paper stands as a global producer of sustainable packaging, pulp, and other fiber-based products, ranking among the world’s largest recyclers.

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