Neenah Paper Third Quarter Earnings Up on Gains in Technical Specialty Products

Neenah Paper's net sales of $230.6 million in the third quarter of 2014 grew 8 percent compared with $214.1 million in the third quarter of 2013.

Nov. 4, 2014 - Neenah Paper, Inc. (NP) today reported 2014 third quarter results.

"Our businesses continue to perform well, delivering double-digit earnings growth even after adjusting for acquisitions and timing of downs. Results were led by gains in filtration, technical specialties and premium fine paper brands," said John O'Donnell, Chief Executive Officer.

"The acquisition integration is going very well and is providing new opportunities to grow in filtration, as well as in other attractive niche markets. With solid cash flows and a strong balance sheet, we remain well-positioned to act on high-returning organic investments and value-adding acquisitions, while continuing to increase cash returns to shareholders through an attractive dividend."

QUARTERLY CONSOLIDATED RESULTS

Income Statement

Net sales of $230.6 million in the third quarter of 2014 grew 8 percent compared with $214.1 million in the third quarter of 2013. In addition to the Crane Technical Materials acquisition, sales growth in 2014 resulted from increased Technical Products volumes, as well as a higher value mix and increased selling prices in both segments.

Consolidated selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expense of $19.8 million in the third quarter of 2014 was flat compared with the prior year.

Operating income of $22.1 million in the third quarter of 2014 grew 35 percent compared with $16.4 million in the third quarter of 2013. Higher income resulted from top-line growth, manufacturing efficiencies and lower expenses that more than offset higher input costs and integration/restructuring expense.

Net interest expense of $2.7 million in the third quarter of 2014 compared with $2.6 million in the third quarter of 2013.

The effective income tax rate of 30 percent in the third quarter of 2014 compared with 17 percent in the third quarter of 2013. The lower rate in 2013 was primarily due to recognition of $1.4 million for a one-time state tax credit.

Cash Flow and Balance Sheet

Cash provided from operations in the third quarter of 2014 was $20.7 million compared with $34.5 million in the third quarter of 2013. In the third quarter of 2014, changes in working capital provided less cash than in the prior year due in part to differences in timing of annual maintenance downs.

Capital spending of $6.1 million in the third quarter of 2014 compared with $10.7 million in the prior year period. Lower spending in 2014 is partly due to timing of maintenance downs, which will result in higher spending in the fourth quarter. Full year spending in 2014 is projected to be approximately $30 million.

Debt as of September 30, 2014 was $186.4 million compared to $193.5 million as of June 30, 2014 and compared with $211.9 million as of December 31, 2013. Cash and equivalents as of September 30, 2014 were $24.0 million, compared with $92.3 million as of June 30, 2014 and $73.4 million as of December 31, 2013. The reduction in cash in the third quarter of 2014 was primarily due to cash used for the purchase of Crane Technical Materials.

Quarterly Segment Results

Technical Products net sales of $121.5 million in the third quarter of 2014 increased 16 percent compared with prior year sales of $104.4 million. The growth in sales resulted from increased volumes (including the acquisition), a higher value product mix, and increased selling prices. Excluding the acquisition, sales increased 5 percent, with 2 percent volume growth and 3 percent net price improvement. Revenue gains were led by filtration (up 9 percent net of acquisition) and specialties (up 6 percent).

Third quarter operating income for Technical Products of $10.0 million in 2014 increased 49 percent compared with $6.7 million in the third quarter of 2013. Operating income included approximately $1.1 million for restructuring/integration costs in 2014 and $0.2 million in 2013.

Increased income in 2014 resulted primarily from higher volumes, a more profitable mix and increased selling prices. In addition, manufacturing costs benefitted from timing of the annual filtration maintenance down, scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared with the third quarter of 2013.

Fine Paper net sales were $101.4 million in the third quarter of 2014, down one percent compared with $102.6 million in the prior year. Sales in 2014 reflected a two percent decrease in volume that was partly offset by increased selling prices and a higher value mix that reflected strong growth in core premium brands.

Operating income of $15.2 million in the third quarter of 2014 increased 14 percent compared with $13.3 million in the prior year. The higher income in 2014 resulted from improved manufacturing efficiencies, a higher value mix and increased selling prices that were partly offset by higher input costs.

Unallocated Corporate and Other includes unallocated corporate costs and results from acquired non-premium paper grades. Unallocated corporate costs in the third quarter of 2014 were $3.2 million compared with $3.9 million in prior year period. The reduction in costs in 2014 resulted primarily from differences in timing of expenses. Sales of Other non-premium paper grades were $7.7 million in 2014, with operating income of $0.1 million, and compared with 2013 sales of $7.1 million and operating income of $0.3 million.

Discontinued Operations

With the sale of the Company's remaining pulp operations in 2010, there are no discontinued operations. In 2013, the Company recorded income of $2.6 million resulting from a refund for excess payments made in previous years to the pension plan of the Company's former Canadian pulp operations.

Neenah is a leader in premium image and performance-based products, including filtration, specialized substrates used for tapes, labels and other products, and high-end printing papers. To learn more, please visit: www.neenahpaper.com.

SOURCE: Neenah Paper, Inc.