WestRock Reports Solid Results In Fourth Quarter And Fiscal 2016

NORCROSS, Ga., Nov. 07, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- WestRock Company (WestRock) (NYSE:WRK), a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, today announced results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2016.

Fourth Quarter 2016 Highlights
  • Recorded a loss of $0.34 per diluted share from continuing operations resulting from a $0.91 non-cash charge related to the transfer of certain pension plan assets and liabilities to a third party
  • Earned $0.71 of adjusted earnings per diluted share from continuing operations
  • Generated net cash from operating activities of $382 million and adjusted free cash flow of $226 million
  • Achieved $89 million in year-over-year productivity improvements and an annual run rate of $500 million of synergy and performance improvements

Full Year 2016 Highlights
  • Earned $0.59 per diluted share from continuing operations and $2.53 of adjusted earnings per diluted share from continuing operations
  • Generated net cash from operating activities of $1.7 billion and adjusted free cash flow of $1.03 billion
  • Captured $384 million of productivity improvements
  • Implemented its balanced capital allocation strategy by investing $797 million in capital expenditures, deploying $588 million to strategic M&A opportunities, paying $381 million in dividends and returning $335 million to stockholders in stock repurchases
     
  Three Months Ended       Twelve Months Ended
  September 30, 2016   September 30, 2016
     
(Loss) income from continuing operations per diluted share $     (0.34 )   $     0.59  
     
Non-cash pension risk transfer expense     0.91         0.89  
Restructuring and other items (1)     0.15         1.05  
Merger and acquisition related inventory step-up expense, net of LIFO     0.01         0.02  
Gain on investment in Grupo Gondi     -         (0.01 )
Gain on extinguishment of debt     (0.01 )       (0.01 )
Adjustment to reflect adjusted earnings on a fully diluted basis     (0.01 )     n/a      
     
Adjusted earnings from continuing operations per diluted share $     0.71     $     2.53  

(1) See "Restructuring and Other Items" Steve Voorhees, chief executive officer of WestRock, said, "I'm proud of our strong results during the quarter and our first fiscal year as WestRock. We drove solid earnings per share and robust cash flows through the execution of our disciplined operational plan. We've made considerable progress toward achieving our $1 billion synergy and performance improvement goal, and reached an annual run rate of $500 million as of the end of September. Our performance this year is a testament to the value that our differentiated strategy is delivering to our customers, stockholders and employees."

Conference Call

As previously announced, WestRock will host a conference call to discuss the results of operations for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 and other topics that may be raised during the discussion at 8:30 a.m., Eastern Time, on November 7, 2016. The conference call, which will be webcast live, an accompanying slide presentation, and this press release can be accessed at ir.westrock.com.

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