Appvion Reports Third Quarter 2015 Results

Nov. 9, 2015 - Appvion's third quarter 2015 net sales of $180.6 million decreased $7.3 million compared to third quarter 2014. Thermal papers net sales of $99.4 million were $2.0 million lower than third quarter 2014; however they were $16.4 million higher than second quarter 2015. Carbonless papers net sales of $81.2 million were $5.3 million lower than prior year.

Appvion reported third quarter 2015 operating income of $4.2 million compared to a $14.7 million loss incurred during third quarter 2014, which included a $24.0 million charge related to the Fox River Funding Agreement. Current quarter operating income was negatively impacted by unfavorable product pricing and mix, largely in the thermal business. Those factors were partially offset by a $1.2 million reduction in manufacturing costs, a favorable $2.5 million mark-to-market adjustment related to the Company's retiree benefit plans and a $2.0 million reduction in selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses as a result of lower compensation and pension expenses.

Appvion's net sales for the first nine months of 2015 were $530.6 million compared to $579.9 million during the same time period of 2014. Appvion reported operating income of $7.0 million for the first nine months of 2015 compared to operating income of $3.3 million for the same period last year. Year-to-date results benefitted from improved manufacturing operations and lower SG&A spending. Those improvements were offset by unfavorable pricing, lower shipment volumes and extended downtime costs. In addition, 2014 results included a $24.0 million charge related to the Fox River Funding Agreement.

Appvion sells its Encapsys division
On August 3, Appvion completed the sale of its Encapsys division to an affiliate of Sherman Capital Holdings LLC for $208 million. Total working capital adjustments and expenses of the sale were approximately $7.5 million. The estimated carrying value of the net assets sold was $11.6 million. Therefore, Appvion's third quarter financial results include a gain of $188.9 million. Conditions of the sale include a long-term supply agreement whereby Encapsys will continue to produce and sell microcapsules to Appvion that Appvion uses to produce its carbonless paper.

THIRD QUARTER 2015 OVERVIEW

Kevin Gilligan, Appvion's chief executive officer, said that comparisons of the Company's third quarter and year-to-date performances to the respective periods of last year reflect the continued negative impact that lower than average selling prices for thermal papers have had on Company results. However, results for third quarter 2015, compared to second quarter 2015, reveal the positive impact of key account gains for Appvion and certain competitors retreating from the U.S. market.

Net sales declined 3.9% and 8.5% respectively compared to third quarter 2014 and the first nine months of 2014. Year-to-date, downward price pressure on thermal receipt paper accounted for a $19.4 million decline in sales compared to the same period in 2014. The continued strength of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies had a $4.2 million negative impact on Company sales compared to the first three quarters of 2014.

Appvion's shipments volume for thermal products rose 23% on a sequential basis and 10% compared to third quarter 2014. Shipments of thermal receipt paper increased 54% compared to second quarter 2015 and 21% compared to third quarter 2014.

The negative impact on sales, from the strength of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies, is greater for Appvion's tag, label and entertainment (TLE) products than for its thermal receipt paper due to the broader international markets Appvion serves with its TLE products. Despite currency exchange challenges, shipments of TLE products grew 4% on a sequential basis and 1% compared to third quarter 2014.

Gilligan said third quarter shipment volume for thermal products was a single quarter record for the Company. He added that the Company has benefited from improved market demand and increased market share.

Gilligan added that the Company's 5% to 7% price increase for thermal receipt paper, effective September 1, benefited third quarter volume and he expects the positive impact of this price increase on sales and margins will occur during the fourth quarter. Sales of thermal products rose 20% on a sequential basis, and were down 2% compared to third quarter 2014.

Net sales for the Company's carbonless segment declined 6.1% compared to third quarter 2014. Carbonless volume dropped approximately 8% primarily due to a 21% decline in international sales volume that was negatively impacted by currency exchange rates. Domestic carbonless volume dropped approximately 3%. The segment benefitted from an improved price and product mix of nearly $2 million compared to third quarter 2014 and continued volume growth from the Company's specialty paper products.

Gilligan noted that the Company's carbonless business continues to deliver stable financial performance from domestic volume that has been stronger than expected.

Company performance also benefitted from ongoing performance improvements from its manufacturing operations, as well as consistent reductions in SG&A expenses throughout the first three quarters of 2015. The combination of these efforts has provided over $20 million in year-to-date savings to help mitigate the negative impact of unfavorable price and product mix, and unplanned maintenance events.

The Company's focus on reducing working capital helped to lower inventories by $13.4 million in third quarter 2015. However, Gilligan said that while this reduction benefitted the Company's cash flow, it reduced earnings by $4.4 million for the quarter.

Thermal Papers
Third quarter 2015 net sales of $99.4 million declined 2.0% compared to prior year net sales of $101.4 million. Current quarter shipments of POS receipt paper increased nearly 21% compared to the same period last year while shipments of TLE were over 1% higher than in third quarter 2014. Third quarter 2015 operating income was slightly less than break-even compared to $5.3 million in the same period last year. Though shipment volumes improved and added $3.0 million to the bottom-line, unfavorable pricing and product mix, as well as a strong U.S. dollar, reduced operating income by $12.5 million. Continued improvements in manufacturing performance and lower SG&A spending helped to offset these losses. Year-to-date net sales of $277.0 million were 12.8% lower than the same period last year, while operating income declined $21.7 million to a net loss of $6.7 million.

Carbonless Papers
Third quarter 2015 net sales totaled $81.2 million, a decrease of $5.3 million, or 6.1%, compared to the same period in 2014. Current quarter shipment volumes were approximately 8% lower than third quarter 2014. Third quarter 2015 operating income of $6.7 million was down slightly compared to operating income of $7.0 million reported for the third quarter of 2014. Lower shipment volumes resulted in a $3.8 million shortfall in operating income. These declines were partially offset by favorable product pricing and mix of $1.9 million and slightly lower SG&A. Through the first nine months of 2015, net sales of $253.6 million were 3.2% lower than the same period last year on volume that declined approximately 4%. Operating income increased from $20.5 million during the first nine of 2014 to $21.7 million for the same period in 2015. Year-to-date manufacturing operations were $5.7 million favorable compared to 2014. SG&A was lower by $2.0 million and pricing and product mix were favorable by $2.2 million. These improvements were nearly offset by a $5.1 million shortfall due to lower shipment volumes and increased maintenance downtime costs of $2.4 million compared to the first nine months of 2014.

Other (Unallocated)
Other (unallocated) includes unallocated corporate expenses. Third quarter 2015 expenditures of $2.4 million were significantly lower compared to the $27.0 million unallocated expenses recorded during third quarter 2014. Year-to-date 2015 unallocated expenses of $8.0 million compared favorably to $32.2 million of expense during the same period last year. Both prior year periods included a $24.0 million charge related to the Fox River Funding Agreement.

Balance Sheet
At the end of third quarter 2015, the Company held unrestricted cash of $2.3 million compared to a cash balance of $2.7 million at year-end 2014. Net debt was $411.0 million compared to $589.5 million at year-end 2014. During the current quarter, the Company repaid $170.0 million on its first lien term loan using proceeds from the sale of its Encapsys business. The Company also made a payment of $7.5 million which was the third installment under the Fox River Funding Agreement.

Outlook
Gilligan said the Company expects strong demand for its thermal receipt paper and TLE grades throughout the fourth quarter. Increased volume will also help the Company realize the full sales impact of the September 1 price increase. Appvion recently announced an additional 4% to 6% price increase for its thermal receipt paper products effective January 1.

Gilligan expects the Company's carbonless segment to continue to benefit from sales of an expanding portfolio of specialty paper products that includes its kaBoom!TM brand of colored papers, Triumph!TM brand of inkjet papers and an array of contract manufacturing services.

The Company expects to sustain the performance improvements from manufacturing operations and SG&A reductions that have combined to deliver over $20 million in savings during the first nine months of 2015.

Appvion creates product solutions through its development and use of coating formulations and applications. The Company produces thermal, carbonless, security, inkjet, digital specialty and colored papers.To learn more, please visit: www.appvion.com.

SOURCE: Appvion