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Buckeye Technologies Inc. (NYSE:BKI) today announced earnings for fiscal year 2013. Net sales for the year were $812 million, down $82 million or 9% compared to net sales from continuing operations in fiscal 2012. Specialty Fibers external sales were down $72 million or 11% due to a small drop in shipment volume, lower fluff pulp and specialty cotton fibers pricing, and unfavorable sales mix due to weak market conditions in Europe. Nonwovens sales were down $10 million entirely due to the sale of the Merfin Systems converting business in mid-fiscal year 2012.
Adjusted net income* for the 2013 fiscal year was $92 million or $2.32 per share, compared to a record $111 million or $2.76 per share in fiscal 2012, and the previous record net income of $91 million or $2.23 per share in fiscal 2011. The two biggest drivers of the reduction in adjusted net income between fiscal years 2012 and 2013 were lower fluff pulp prices and unfavorable sales mix in the specialty fibers segment, where operating income was down $34 million year over year. Operating income for the nonwoven materials segment was up $9 million in fiscal year 2013 compared to fiscal year 2012 due to a large reduction in fixed manufacturing costs resulting from the closure of our Delta, B.C., Canada airlaid facility in December 2012.
Fourth quarter net sales were $216 million, down $9 million or 4% versus net sales of $225 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. While shipment volume was up 9%, driven by increased shipments from our Foley wood fibers facility, this was offset by unfavorable mix and lower selling prices in our specialty fibers segment.
Fourth quarter adjusted net income* was $23.0 million or $0.58 per share. This excludes net after-tax charges of $5.0 million, or $0.13 per share, primarily relating to the pending merger with Georgia-Pacific and adjustments related to the CBC fuel tax credit. Adjusted net income* was down compared to the prior year’s $26.2 million or $0.66 per share, which excluded net income of $2.3 million, or $0.05 per share, primarily consisting of adjustments relating to the cellulosic biofuel credit. This $3.2 million reduction in adjusted net income* was mainly driven by unfavorable sales mix and by lower selling prices for fluff and specialty wood pulp. We generated $61.4 million in net cash provided by operating activities during the quarter, invested $30.2 million in capital projects (including $15.5 million on the oxygen delignification and specialty conversion projects), reduced debt by $21.1 million to $41.2 million, and paid a regular quarterly dividend of $3.5 million. At the end of the quarter our cash and short term investments stood at $58.1 million.