AP NEWS

Clearwater Paper Reports Second Quarter 2018 Results

August 1, 2018

SPOKANE, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug 1, 2018--Clearwater Paper Corporation (NYSE:CLW) today reported financial results for the second quarter of 2018.

The company reported net sales of $432.1 million for the second quarter of 2018, up 0.6% compared to net sales of $429.7 million for the second quarter of 2017. Net earnings determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, for the second quarter of 2018 were $7.0 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, compared to net earnings for the second quarter of 2017 of $8.0 million, or $0.48 per diluted share. The decrease in net earnings was due to a weaker product mix in tissue products, higher input costs for transportation, wood fiber, and external pulp and reorganization expenses, all of which were partially offset by improved price and shipment volumes for paperboard, no planned major maintenance and lower expense associated with profit dependent accruals. Excluding certain non-core items identified in the attached Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures, second quarter 2018 adjusted net earnings were $7.1 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, compared to second quarter 2017 adjusted net earnings of $7.9 million, or $0.48 per diluted share.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, were $42.4 million for the second quarter of 2018, compared to $45.7 million for the second quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $42.6 million, down 5.4% compared to second quarter 2017 Adjusted EBITDA of $45.0 million.

“We met our expectations in the second quarter due to record paperboard production and shipments, continued strong demand for paperboard and ultra-quality tissue, and cost savings from strategic capital and operational efficiency initiatives,” said Linda K. Massman, president and chief executive officer. “Those results were achieved in spite of a competitive tissue market, and high external pulp prices and transportation costs. For the second half of 2018, we are acutely focused on improving operating profit, generating cash, completing the expansion work at our Shelby, North Carolina facility and optimizing our network of assets to reduce costs and improve service to customers.”

SECOND QUARTER 2018 SEGMENT PERFORMANCE

Consumer Products

Net sales in the Consumer Products segment were $221.6 million for the second quarter of 2018, down 4.5% compared to second quarter 2017 net sales of $231.9 million. This decrease was due primarily to lower prices and weaker product mix reflected in a 6.0% reduction in retail converted case tissue shipment volumes offset by a 26.1% increase in non-retail parent roll shipments as we work to recover converted case business in the second half of 2018.

Operating loss for the second quarter of 2018 was $3.6 million, compared to operating income and margin of $10.7 million and 4.6% respectively, in the second quarter of 2017. After adjusting for certain non-core items identified in the attached Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures, adjusted operating loss of $2.6 million for the second quarter of 2018 was down from $11.9 million and 5.1% of adjusted operating income and margin, respectively, for the same period in 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the segment was $11.6 million in the second quarter of 2018, down from $27.7 million in the second quarter of 2017. These decreases were primarily due to lower average selling prices, the absorption of fixed costs over lower volumes of retail shipments and higher transportation costs.

Tissue Sales Volumes and Prices:

Total tissue volumes sold were 90,386 tons in the second quarter of 2018, a decrease of 1.2% compared to 91,450 tons in the second quarter of 2017. Converted product cases shipped were 12.0 million in the second quarter of 2018, 5.4% lower than the 12.7 million cases shipped in the second quarter of 2017. Average tissue net selling prices decreased 3.2%, or $82 per ton, to $2,451 per ton in the second quarter of 2018, compared to $2,533 per ton in the second quarter of 2017, primarily due to product mix.

Pulp and Paperboard

Net sales in the Pulp and Paperboard segment were $210.5 million for the second quarter of 2018, up 6.5% compared to second quarter 2017 net sales of $197.8 million. The increase was due to record production levels and volume shipments coupled with higher paperboard prices.

Operating income and margin for the second quarter of 2018 were $34.2 million and 16.2%, compared to $21.1 million and 10.7%, respectively, for the second quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the segment was $43.6 million in the second quarter of 2018, compared to $29.4 million in the second quarter of 2017. The improvement was primarily due to higher average selling prices and lower major maintenance spending, which more than offset increased costs for wood fiber in the Pacific Northwest and higher transportation costs.

Paperboard Sales Volumes and Prices:

Paperboard sales volumes were 216,582 tons in the second quarter of 2018, an increase of 4.6% compared to 207,152 tons in the second quarter of 2017. Paperboard net selling prices increased 1.8% to $972 per ton for the second quarter 2018, compared to $955 per ton in the second quarter of 2017.

Taxes

The company’s consolidated tax rate for the second quarter of 2018 was 26.5%. This compares to a 33.0% tax rate in the second quarter of 2017. The favorable tax rate for the second quarter of 2018 was primarily the result of the federal corporate rate reduction enacted with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Note Regarding Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

In this press release, the company presents certain non-GAAP financial information for the second quarters of 2018 and 2017, including adjusted net earnings, adjusted net earnings per diluted share, EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted operating income and adjusted operating margin. Because these amounts are not in accordance with GAAP, reconciliations to net earnings, net earnings per diluted share and operating income as determined in accordance with GAAP are included in the tables at the end of this press release. The company presents these non-GAAP amounts because management believes they assist investors and analysts in comparing the company’s performance across reporting periods on a consistent basis by excluding items that the company does not believe are indicative of its core operating performance. In addition, the company uses EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA: (i) as factors in evaluating management’s performance when determining incentive compensation, (ii) to evaluate the effectiveness of our business strategies, and (iii) because our credit agreement and the indentures governing our outstanding notes use metrics similar to EBITDA to measure our compliance with certain covenants.

WEBCAST INFORMATION

Clearwater Paper Corporation will discuss these results during an earnings conference call that begins at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time today. A live webcast and accompanying supplemental information will be available on the company’s website at http://ir.clearwaterpaper.com. A replay of today’s conference call will be available on the website at http://ir.clearwaterpaper.com/results.cfm beginning at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time today.

ABOUT CLEARWATER PAPER

Clearwater Paper manufactures quality consumer tissue, away-from-home tissue, parent roll tissue, bleached paperboard and pulp at manufacturing facilities across the nation. The company is a premier supplier of private label tissue to major retailers and wholesale distributors, including grocery, drug, mass merchants and discount stores. In addition, the company produces bleached paperboard used by quality-conscious printers and packaging converters, and offers services that include custom sheeting, slitting and cutting. Clearwater Paper’s employees build shareholder value by developing strong customer partnerships through quality and service.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 as amended, including statements regarding future financial results and cash generation, completion of Shelby, N.C. expansion, optimization and cost reduction initiatives, and customer service. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates, assumptions and projections that are subject to change, and actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to: competitive pricing pressures for the company’s products, including as a result of increased capacity as additional manufacturing facilities are operated by the company’s competitors; the loss of, changes in prices in regards to, or a reduction in orders from, a significant customer; changes in customer product preferences and competitors’ product offerings; the company’s ability to successfully implement its operational efficiencies and cost savings strategies, including related capital projects and achieve the expected operational or financial results of those projects, including from the continuous digester at our Lewiston facility; the company’s ability to execute on its growth and expansion strategies, including on-time completion of the company’s planned new tissue manufacturing and converting operations in Shelby, North Carolina; customer acceptance and timing and quantity of purchases of the company’s tissue products, including the existence of sufficient demand for and the quality of tissue produced by the expanded Shelby, North Carolina operations when completed; changes in the U.S. and international economies and in general economic conditions in the regions and industries in which the company operates; labor disruptions; changes in transportation costs and disruptions in transportation services; changes in the cost and availability of wood fiber and wood pulp; manufacturing or operating disruptions, including IT system and IT system implementation failures, equipment malfunction and damage to the company’s manufacturing facilities; changes in costs for and availability of packaging supplies, chemicals, energy and maintenance and repairs; cyclical industry conditions; changes in expenses and required contributions associated with the company’s pension plans; environmental liabilities or expenditures; cyber-security risks; reliance on a limited number of third-party suppliers for raw materials; the company’s inability to service its debt obligations; restrictions on the company’s business from debt covenants and terms; changes in laws, regulations or industry standards affecting the company’s business; and other risks and uncertainties described from time to time in the company’s public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017. The forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release and the company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements based on new developments or changes in the company’s expectations.

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