Wausau Paper reported its adjusted quarterly earnings of $.15 per share reached its strongest level in nearly five years.
Thomas J. Howatt, president and chief executive officer, reported Wausau Paper's adjusted net earnings reached their highest level in nearly five years with each of the company's three business units reporting year-over-year improvement.
"These results reflect the benefit of restructuring initiatives completed over the last two years designed to improve our competitive position and profitability, cost reductions implemented earlier this year and reduced fiber and energy prices," Howatt said in a news release. "Couple with aggressive cash conservation measures, these initiatives generated cash sufficient to reduce debt by $40 million during the second quarter, substantially improving liquidity and balance sheet strength despite recessionary business conditions."
Howatt said with little change in economic conditions expected in the near-term, the company remains focused on improving its position in core markets while continuing to contain costs, tightly manage capital spending and reduce debt.
Wausau Paper reported its Towel and Tissue segment achieved record quarterly operating profits of $13.8 million and its Printing and Writing segment, along with Specialty Products, had significant year-over-year improvements, excluding facility closure charges.
Wausau reported a second quarter net loss of $1.9 million, or $.04 per share, compared to a net loss of $9.6 million a year ago. Net sales and shipments decreased 14 percent to $262.2 million and 177,000 tons. Wausau reported those decreases were from expected volume reductions following facility closures and from continued weakness in demand in several market categories.
Second quarter results include after -tax facility closure charges of $13.4 million related primarily to the May closure of the paper mill in Jay, Maine and the announced closing of the Appleton, Wis. converting facility. After-tax gains came in a tax credit for use of alternative fuel mixtures in Mosinee, Wis. and from timberland sales.
Adjusted second quarter 2009 net earnings were $7.5 million compared to a net loss of $1.6 million last year. Adjusted net earnings for the first six months of 2009 were $10.9 million compared to last year's net loss of $4.7 million.
Printing and Writing, reported a second quarter operating profit of $.8 million compared to an operating loss of $16.6 million last year. Net sales declined by 9 percent and shipments declined by 5 percent because of demand weakness, Wausau reported. Howatt said the company expects its third quarter adjusted net earnings to approximate second quarter adjusted net earnings of $.15 per share.
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