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Clearwater Paper Reports Third Quarter 2018 Results

November 8, 2018

SPOKANE, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov 8, 2018--Clearwater Paper Corporation (NYSE:CLW) today reported financial results for the third quarter of 2018.

The company reported net sales of $426.5 million for the third quarter of 2018, which was flat with net sales for the third quarter of 2017. Net earnings determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, for the third quarter of 2018 were $34.4 million, or $2.08 per diluted share, compared to net earnings for the third quarter of 2017 of $0.9 million, or $0.05 per diluted share. The increase in net earnings was due primarily to a $22.9 million gain on the sale of the company’s Ladysmith, Wisconsin manufacturing facility along with higher pricing and record shipment volumes in paperboard, improved operating efficiencies and lower selling, general and administrative expenses. Excluding certain non-core items identified in the attached Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures, third quarter 2018 adjusted net earnings were $22.3 million, or $1.35 per diluted share, compared to third quarter 2017 adjusted net earnings of $5.3 million, or $0.32 per diluted share.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, were $71.0 million for the third quarter of 2018, compared to $31.3 million for the third quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $48.9 million, up 29.9% compared to third quarter 2017 Adjusted EBITDA of $37.6 million.

“We exceeded our expectations for the third quarter due to record paperboard shipments and strong customer demand for paperboard,” said Linda K. Massman, president and chief executive officer. “We are also seeing positive results from the operating model improvements for our tissue business, resulting in lower transportation and warehousing costs.”

“For the remainder of 2018, we are in the home stretch to complete our new paper machine, converting lines, and warehouse at our Shelby, North Carolina facility. We are also keenly focused on generating cash to pay down debt and optimizing our network of tissue assets to streamline costs and better meet the needs of our customers.”

THIRD QUARTER 2018 SEGMENT PERFORMANCE

Consumer Products

Net sales in the Consumer Products segment were $211.6 million for the third quarter of 2018, down 9.1% compared to third quarter 2017 net sales of $232.9 million. This decrease was due to lower retail volumes and prices, the divestiture of the Ladysmith facility, and weaker product mix as reflected in a 7.4% reduction in retail converted case shipment volumes, partially offset by a 43.0% increase in non-retail parent roll shipments as the company works to replace lost converted case business in the second half of 2018.

Operating income and margin for the third quarter of 2018 were $21.7 million and 10.2%, an increase of $17.2 million compared to operating income and margin of $4.5 million and 1.9% respectively, in the third quarter of 2017, that was primarily due to the gain on sale of the Ladysmith facility. After adjusting for certain non-core items identified in the attached Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures, including the gain on the sale of Ladysmith, an adjusted operating loss of $1.0 million for the third quarter of 2018 was down from $10.3 million and 4.4% of adjusted operating income and margin, respectively, for the same period in 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the segment was $13.4 million in the third quarter of 2018, down from $26.0 million in the third quarter of 2017. Those decreases were primarily due to lower average selling prices, the absorption of fixed costs over lower volumes of retail shipments, higher pulp costs and the divestiture of Ladysmith.

Tissue Sales Volumes and Prices:

• Total tissue volumes sold were 88,860 tons in the third quarter of 2018, a decrease of 1.8% compared to 90,502 tons in the third quarter of 2017. Converted product cases shipped were 11.8 million in the third quarter of 2018, 7.4% lower than the 12.7 million cases shipped in the third quarter of 2017.

• Average tissue net selling prices decreased 7.5%, to $2,381 per ton in the third quarter of 2018, compared to $2,574 per ton in the third quarter of 2017, primarily due to the increased volume and percentage of non-retail parent rolls in the product mix.

Pulp and Paperboard

Net sales in the Pulp and Paperboard segment were $214.8 million for the third quarter of 2018, up 11.0% compared to third quarter 2017 net sales of $193.6 million. The increase was due to record shipment volumes and higher paperboard prices.

Operating income and margin for the third quarter of 2018 were $38.3 million and 17.8%, compared to $14.7 million and 7.6%, respectively, for the third quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the segment was $47.7 million in the third quarter of 2018, compared to $23.1 million in the third quarter of 2017. The improvement was primarily due to higher average selling prices and the absence of $21 million in major maintenance expense incurred in the third quarter of 2017, 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 218,135 tons in the third quarter of 2018, an increase of 8.8% compared to 200,569 tons in the third quarter of 2017.

• Paperboard net selling prices increased 2.1% to $985 per ton for the third quarter of 2018, compared to $965 per ton in the third quarter of 2017.

Taxes

The company’s consolidated GAAP tax rate and adjusted tax rate for the third quarter of 2018 were a provision of 9.6% and a benefit of 39.5%, respectively. That compares to GAAP and adjusted tax rate benefits of 138.7% and 17.9% in the third quarter of 2017. The tax rate for the third quarter of 2018 included a tax benefit of $10 million associated with an alternative energy production tax credit recorded in the quarter. The tax rate for 2017 reflected $2 million of similar alternative energy credits in addition to a tax benefit due to a pre-tax loss in the third quarter of 2017.

Note Regarding Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

In this press release, the company presents certain non-GAAP financial information for the third quarters of 2018 and 2017, including adjusted net earnings, adjusted net earnings per diluted share, EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted operating income, adjusted operating margin and adjusted income tax rate provision and benefit. Because these amounts are not in accordance with GAAP, reconciliations to net earnings, net earnings per diluted share, operating income and income tax rate provision and benefit 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 network optimization of tissue assets, transportation and warehousing costs, completion of the Shelby, North Carolina expansion, cash generation, debt repayment and the replacement of lost converted tissue case sales. 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; the company’s ability to achieve the expected operational or financial results of its capital projects, including from the continuous digester at the Lewiston facility; the company’s ability to complete construction of its new tissue manufacturing and converting operations in Shelby, North Carolina on time and within current cost expectations; 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 malfunctions 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 ability 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 after the date of this press release.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181108005821/en/

CONTACT: Clearwater Paper Corporation

(News media)

Shannon Myers, 509-344-5967

or

(Investors)

Robin S. Yim, 509-344-5906

Vice President, Investor Relations

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA WASHINGTON

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: MANUFACTURING PACKAGING NATURAL RESOURCES FOREST PRODUCTS RETAIL SUPERMARKET

SOURCE: Clearwater Paper Corporation

Copyright Business Wire 2018.

PUB: 11/08/2018 04:05 PM/DISC: 11/08/2018 04:05 PM

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