Packaging of America (PKG)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

January 24, 2012 10:00 am ET


Thomas A. Hassfurther - Executive Vice President of Corrugated Products

Richard B. West - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Senior Vice President

Mark W. Kowlzan - Chief Executive Officer and Director

Paul T. Stecko - Executive Chairman


John Charles Tumazos - John Tumazos Very Independent Research, LLC

Albert T. Kabili - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

George L. Staphos - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Anthony Pettinari - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Mark A. Weintraub - Buckingham Research Group, Inc.

Mark W. Connelly - Credit Agricole Securities (USA) Inc., Research Division

Philip Ng - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Chip A. Dillon - Vertical Research Partners Inc.

Phil M. Gresh - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Mark Wilde - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division



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Thank you for joining Packaging Corporation of America's Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 Earnings Conference Call. Your host for today will be Mark Kowlzan, Chief Executive Officer of PCA. [Operator Instructions] I will now turn the conference call over to Mr. Kowlzan. Please go ahead when you are ready.

Mark W. Kowlzan

Good morning, and welcome to Packaging Corporation of America's Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 Earnings Release Conference Call. I'm Mark Kowlzan, CEO of PCA, and with me on the call today is Paul Stecko, Executive Chairman of PCA; Tom Hassfurther, who runs our Corrugated business; and Rick West, PCA's Chief Financial Officer. Thanks for participating in this morning's call, and after the presentation, we'll be glad to take any questions.

Yesterday, we reported fourth quarter 2011 net income of $39 million or $0.40 per share. Reported results for the fourth quarter of 2010 were $53 million or $0.52 per share, excluding income from biofuel tax credits and asset disposal charges. The reduction in earnings per share compared to last year's fourth quarter were driven by cost inflation, $0.10, lower containerboard export prices, $0.03, increased depreciation, $0.02 and higher taxes and interest expense, $0.02. These items were partially offset by lower energy and chemical usage, $0.03, related to the energy project and higher corrugated product volumes of $0.03. Excluding special items, full-year earnings were $162 million or $1.61 per share compared to 2010 earnings of $166 million or $1.62 per share. Price and mix, $0.38, higher volume $0.17, and cost reduction benefits, $0.06 improved earnings, but was offset by cost inflation of $0.56 and higher depreciation expense of $0.05.

Net sales in the fourth quarter were $654 million, up 4% compared to the fourth quarter of 2010 net sales of $627 million and full-year net sales were a record $2.6 billion, up 8% over 2010. Regarding operations, we had an exceptional quarter with record mill productions and corrugated product shipments. In addition, we also accomplished several strategic objectives. We completed the major energy projects at our Counce, Tennessee and Valdosta, Georgia board mills as scheduled and on budget, started up a new corrugated products plants in Reading, Pennsylvania and acquired a box plant in Denver, Colorado. Looking at the specific details of operations, our corrugated demand was very strong throughout the quarter, with shipments for work day up 9% over last year and total shipments up 7.2% with 1 less work day. The 9% production improvement had a 7.2% increase in total shipments including 2.3% from 2011 box plant acquisitions. Excluding these acquisitions, we still had record shipments. The increase corrugated products volume improved earnings about $0.03 per share compared to last year's fourth day. Outside sales containerboard also remained strong equaling last year's fourth quarter. Our mills produced 640,000 tons, up 2,000 tons from last year. All 4 of the mills ran extremely well, especially our Counce and Valdosta mills, considering the start up of the new recovery board and the Valdosta and also the #2 recovery after the rebuild accounts.

We ended the quarter with our containerboard inventory down about 11,000 tons below 2010 year end levels, and on plan to support our containerboard needs during our annual maintenance outages at both Valdosta and Counce into the first quarter. Valdosta will be down for about a week in February for their outage and at Counce, one machine will be down for 4 days in March, with the shutdown continuing in April. Moving to price, our domestic pricing for containerboard remained essentially unchanged from last year's fourth quarter and this year's third quarter. But pricing for export linerboard this fall during the fourth quarter will produce earnings by about $0.03 per share. As stated earlier, higher input costs and other inflationary cost pressures reduced our earnings by about $0.10 per share compared to last year's fourth quarter. But on a positive note, the rate of inflation was less than in previous quarters. Higher outbound transportation cost reduced our earnings by about $0.03 per share, labor related costs, including infringes, by above $2.05 per share, [ph] cost increases, $0.015 per share energy cost increases, $0.01 per share, and other cost increased items by $0.02 per share. Published prices for recycled fiber or old corrugated containers, excluding the delivery costs, were down about $15 per ton compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. The lower recycled fiber cost improved our earnings by only about $0.01 per share with our low usage essentially offset by lower recycled fiber sales prices out of our box plants.

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