Interest expense, including preferred stock dividends, decreased $5.7 million to $85.6 million in 2012 compared to the same period last year, primarily due to refinancing the Company’s term loan credit facility in May 2011 at lower interest rates.
The provision for income taxes was $43.7 million in 2012 compared to $36.8 million in 2011. The provision for income taxes included non-cash benefits of $15.8 million in 2012 and $16.9 million in 2011, in each case primarily associated with reductions in the Company’s deferred tax asset valuation allowances, which had no impact on the Company’s cash flow or liquidity. Cash paid for income taxes, net of refunds, in 2012 was $18.0 million as compared to $20.5 million in 2011.
Net income in 2012 was $51.1 million, or $0.98 per diluted share, compared to net income of $53.4 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, in 2011. Net income in 2012 included: (i) $24.1 million ($22.9 million after tax) of restructuring and related charges; (ii) a net charge of $8.9 million, before and after tax, related to the shareholder litigation noted above; and (iii) the non-cash tax benefit of $15.8 million noted above. Net income in 2011 included charges of $11.2 million ($6.8 million after tax) related to the 2011 refinancing of the Company’s bank credit facilities, as well as the non-cash tax benefit of $16.9 million noted above.
Net cash provided by operating activities in 2012 was $104.1 million compared to $88.0 million in 2011 and free cash flow in 2012 was $84.0 million compared to $74.4 million in 2011. Free cash flow in 2012 as compared to 2011 benefited from favorable changes in working capital and lower cash interest paid, partially offset by the renewal and partial prepayment of certain multi-year insurance programs and higher capital expenditures.Net cash used in investing activities in 2012 was $86.3 million, which included the cash paid to acquire Pure Ice, compared to $52.6 million in 2011, which included the cash paid to acquire SinfulColors.