Paper-products maker WestRock Co. (WRK) - Get Report rose 70 cents (1.6%) on Monday to close at $45.37 after the firm reported better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, citing strong growth in the company's North American corrugated-packaging business.
WestRock said it earned an adjusted $1.29 a share for the quarter ended Sept. 30, surpassing both analysts' $1.24 estimate and the 87 cents per share that the company posted in fourth-quarter 2017. Including one-time items, WestRock earned $1.08 a share, up from 76 cents a year earlier.
"Our North American corrugated packaging business had an especially outstanding year, and we continue to advance our differentiated strategy focused on achieving operational excellence and delivering value for our customers," WestRock CEO Steve Voorhees said in a statement.
WestRock also completed the acquisition of pulp-and-paper company KapStone Paper and Packaging on Friday, and Voorhees said that "with the addition of KapStone, we have expanded our portfolio of paper and packaging solutions for our customers and look forward to building on our success in fiscal 2019."
All told, the company posted $4.24 billion of revenues for the latest quarter, up from $4.06 billion a year ago but below the $4.28 billion analysts had expected. The revenue miss didn't hurt the stock Monday, but WestRock has fallen sharply from its $71.55 52-week high reached in January.
Jim Cramer, who holds WestRock in his charitable trust, wrote in a note co-authored by his team on Monday that "despite the top-line miss, we believe the report to represent a strong improvement compared to the prior period's release and serves to support our view that the growing adoption of e-commerce, compounded by the shift away from plastic-based solution ... will continue to support shares going forward." Click here for a free 14-day Action Alerts PLUS trial membership to read Jim and his team's full note, see which stocks they hold in Jim's charitable trust and get an e-mail alert before they make any trade.
(This article has been updated.)