4. International Paper (IP) is a global paper and packaging company with markets and manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa. It operates in five segments: industrial packaging, printing papers, consumer packaging, distribution, and forest products.
During the first quarter ended March 2011, total revenue grew 10% year-over-year to $6.4 billion from $5.8 billion, backed by higher volumes across its segments. Moreover, the company swung to a net income of $342 million, or 78 cents per share, from a loss of $162 million, or 38 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
The company generated free cash flow of $419 million and announced its third dividend increase in the last 12 months, higher than the dividend payout preceding the 2008/2009 recession. Dividends were 18.75 cents per share and 2.5 cents per share for the first three months in 2011 and 2010, respectively. In March 2011, the company announced that it would raise the second-quarter dividend to $26.25 per share, implying a 40% increase.The company currently has a dividend yield of 1.86%. Of the 15 analysts covering the stock, 73% rate it a buy and 13% rate it a hold. On average, analysts estimate an increase of 16.7%, to $36.44 in value from current levels. The stock has gained 7% in the past one month and currently trades at a P/E of 11.4.
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