Kapstone Posts 4th Quarter Record Sales on Acquisition of U.S. Corrugated

Feb. 13, 2013 - KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation today reported preliminary results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2012.

For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2012:

  • Record net sales of $301 million, up 12% versus 2011
  • Diluted EPS of $0.22, down $1.34 per share versus prior year
  • Adjusted Diluted EPS of $0.28, down $0.01 per share versus prior year
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $38 million, flat with prior year

For the year ended December 31, 2012:

  • Record net sales of $1,217 million, up $311 million versus 2011, or 34%
  • Diluted EPS of $1.31, down $1.30 per share versus 2011
  • Record Adjusted Diluted EPS of $1.48, up $0.07 per share versus prior year
  • Record Adjusted EBITDA of $183 million, up $18 million, or 11% versus prior year

Roger W. Stone, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Fourth quarter completed a transformational year for KapStone as we successfully integrated our 2011 acquisition of U.S. Corrugated. The acquisition has been a significant contributor to KapStone's earnings this year, and we expect additional benefits in 2013.

"Average mill revenue per ton increased during the quarter by approximately $14 to $634 as our fall domestic containerboard price increase was fully implemented by the end of the quarter. Our corrugated operations realized the benefits from their fall price increase with most of the increase implemented by December. In the fourth quarter, we completed major planned maintenance at two of our mills which resulted in the loss of 12,500 tons of production. For the year, our mills ran very well, and our legacy mills achieved an all-time production record for the year of 1.32 million tons.

"Cash flow from operations for 2012 reached $158 million, a $21 million increase over 2011. Given the strength of our cash flows and the uncertain tax environment, we paid a special dividend of $2.00 per share on over 47 million shares in late December."

Fourth Quarter Operating Highlights

Net sales for the quarter ended December 31, 2012 were $301.0 million, an increase of 12 percent, when compared to the 2011 fourth quarter sales of $268.8 million. The increase in net sales was attributable primarily to the USC acquisition (the 2012 quarter included three months of results for USC compared to only two months in 2011's fourth quarter due to the acquisition being completed on October 31, 2011) and higher selling prices, partially offset by lower external sales volume as more tons were used internally by our corrugated operations. Average mill revenue per ton increased to $634 in the current quarter versus $620 during the fourth quarter of 2011, reflecting the partial realization of the $50 per ton domestic containerboard increase.

Operating income of $18.6 million for the 2012 quarter declined from the prior year's results by $2.0 million, or 10 percent. Operating income improved due to the USC acquisition and higher prices. Fourth quarter operating income was negatively impacted by increases in input costs and higher planned maintenance outage costs.

Interest expense was $1.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, which increased by $0.1 million versus the comparable quarter in 2011 as a result of increased borrowings partially offset by lower interest rates. In addition, amortization of debt issuance costs of $0.7 million for the 2012 quarter declined by $0.5 million compared to the 2011 quarter. At December 31, 2012, the interest rate on the Company's term loan was 1.71 percent.

The effective income tax rate for the 2012 fourth quarter was 36.9 percent compared to 35.7 percent for the first nine months of 2012. The higher tax rate in the fourth quarter of 2012 includes a lower expected benefit from the domestic manufacturing deduction. The effective income tax rate in the 2011 quarter was negative as it included the benefit from the reversal of tax reserves of $63.0 million related to alternative mixture tax credits. The 2011 effective income tax rate, excluding the impact of the tax credit reversal, was 35.8 percent.

Full Year Operating Highlights

Net sales for the year ended December 31, 2012, were $1,216.6 million, an increase of 34 percent, compared to 2011 sales of $906.1 million. The increase in net sales was attributable primarily to the USC acquisition (twelve months included in 2012 compared to two months in 2011) partially offset by lower selling prices and less favorable foreign exchange rates on the euro. Average mill revenue per ton decreased to $622 versus $627 in 2011.

Operating income of $109.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2012 exceeded the prior year's results by $2.8 million. The improvement resulted from the full year impact of the USC acquisition partially offset by higher input costs, lower selling prices, and the less favorable euro. Interest expense was $8.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2012, up $4.7 million from a year ago as a result of increased borrowings relating to the USC acquisition. Amortization of debt issuance costs of $3.5 million for 2012 increased by $1.0 million from a year ago due to a full year of amortization on the $13.8 million of debt issuance costs paid for the new credit agreement.

The effective income tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2012 was 35.9 percent compared to (23.6) percent for 2011. The 2012 effective income tax rate includes a lower than expected benefit from the domestic manufacturing deduction. The 2011 effective income tax rate was negative due to the reversal of tax reserves related to the alternative fuel mixture credits upon completion of the 2009 IRS examination in the fourth quarter of 2011. The adjusted effective income tax rate in 2011 was 38.0 percent when the alternative fuel mixture tax credit is excluded. We expect our effective income tax rate for 2013 to be 35.0 percent excluding any discrete adjustments.

Cash Flow and Working Capital
Cash and cash equivalents decreased by $19.8 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2012, to $16.5 million. For the fourth quarter of 2012, operating activities provided $40.3 million, investing activities used $25.8 million for capital expenditures and financing activities used $34.3 million.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, due to the strength of our cash flows and the uncertain tax environment, the Company's Board of Directors approved a $2.00 per share special cash dividend which totaled $94.9 million. In addition, employees elected the cashless exercise of 1.3 million stock options. To pay for their payroll taxes, employees surrendered 0.4 million shares, and the Company paid $8.3 million of cash to pay the taxes. In addition, operating cash flows were reduced by $6.7 million as Company accelerated payment of 80 percent of 2012 incentive compensation which typically would be paid in the following year.

For the full 2012 year, capital expenditures totaled $67.2 million including approximately $25.0 million for maintenance capital and the remainder for strategic projects such as $10.0 million for information systems projects and $4.0 million for the Charleston paper machine upgrade. The Company expects total capital expenditures to increase to $73.0 million in 2013 including $19.0 million for the Charleston upgrade project and $9.0 million for the opening of the Company's new manufacturing facility in Aurora, Illinois.

Total net debt outstanding as of December 31, 2012, was $352.3 million and increased by $82.7 million during the fourth quarter of 2012 primarily due to the short-term borrowings for the payment of the special dividend. For the year, net debt increased by $5.0 million.

At December 31, 2012, the Company had approximately $16.5 million of cash, $68.7 million of working capital and $79.6 million of revolver borrowing capacity.

The Company was in compliance with all debt covenants at December 31, 2012.

Conclusion
In summary, Stone commented, "We have positive momentum as we move into 2013 with higher containerboard and corrugated prices, the $50 per ton kraft paper increase announced in January, and the realization of additional acquisition synergies. In early January 2013, we announced the opening of our new 192,000 square foot Aurora, Illinois manufacturing facility. The plant should be operational in March. We are confident that we are in an excellent position to continue to grow the company profitably."

Headquartered in Northbrook, IL, KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation is a leading North American producer of containerboard, unbleached kraft paper and corrugated products. The Company is the parent company of KapStone Kraft Paper Corporation and KapStone Container Corporation which includes three paper mills and 15 converting plants across the eastern and Midwestern US. The business employs approximately 2,700 people. For more information visit: www.kapstonepaper.com

SOURCE: KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp.