Cascades Reports Dip in First Quarter Earnings on Adverse Weather-related Costs

"Exceptionally harsh weather conditions in North America resulted in higher operating costs and lower shipments.

May 8, 2014 - Cascades Inc. (CAS.TO) announces its unaudited financial results for the three-month period ended March 31, 2014 .

Q1 2014 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sales of $994 million (compared to $958 million in Q4 2013 (+4%) and $914 million in Q1 2013 (+9%))

Excluding specific items

  • EBITDA of $80 million (compared to $105 million in Q4 2013 (-24%) and $68 million in Q1 2013 (+18%))
  • Net earnings per share of $0.01 (compared to net earnings of $0.19 in Q4 2013 and a net loss of $0.04 in Q1 2013)

Including specific items

  • EBITDA of $84 million (compared to $93 million in Q4 2013 (-10%) and $64 million in Q1 2013 (+31%))
  • Net loss per share of $0.01 (compared to net earnings of $0.05 in Q4 2013 and a net loss of $0.09 in Q1 2013)
  • Net debt of $1,708 million (compared to $1,612 million as at December 31, 2013 ), including $120 million of non-recourse net debt.
  • Ramp-up of the Greenpac containerboard mill progressing as planned.
  • Announcement of the closure of the Djupafors mill in Sweden on June 15, 2014 .
  • Mr. Mario Plourde, President and Chief Executive Officer, had the following comments on the first quarter results:

    "Exceptionally harsh weather conditions in North America resulted in higher operating costs and lower shipments. Compared to the last quarter, these factors negatively impacted our first quarter results which represent, nevertheless, an 18% EBITDA improvement compared to the same period last year. Sequentially, all our North American groups are showing lower results. The Containerboard Group suffered from a 14-day interruption of operations at its Trenton mill as a result of an equipment failure. The Specialty Products Group incurred higher energy and raw material costs.

    "As for the Tissue Papers Group, it was also impacted by a more competitive market and a decrease in volumes in the away-from-home market and retail in Canada.

    "On the positive side, results for the Boxboard Europe Group improved over the last quarter due to higher shipments and energy credits amounting to $5 million during the first quarter. Finally, the productivity of the Greenpac mill continues to improve gradually and produced to capacity for a few days in April."

    In commenting on the outlook, Mr. Plourde added: "Despite the shortfall in the results for the first quarter, we are still confident in our ability to do better this year than we did in 2013. The recent decrease of recycled fibre costs confirms our views that input costs should remain reasonable. Aside from Europe where the competitive environment is expected to be challenging for recovered grades, our Packaging Products activities should continue to improve. In the tissue sector, we will face headwinds caused by additional capacity and lower demand from major retailers in the US.

    "We are reaching new milestones at the Greenpac mill in terms of daily production peaks as we continue to gradually ramp-up the machine and logistics activities.

    "Finally, our debt to EBITDA ratio remained relatively stable during the quarter despite a weak Canadian dollar environment and seasonal working capital requirements and should continue to improve during the course of the year. As well, the closure of our Djupafors mill announced during the quarter is a concrete illustration of our commitment to manage our portfolio of assets and improve profitability."

    Founded in 1964, Cascades produces, converts and markets packaging and tissue products that are composed mainly of recycled fibres. To learn more, please visit: www.cascades.com.

    SOURCE: Cascades Inc.