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Clearwater Paper reports Q1 results

Clearwater Paper has reported net sales of $428.8m for the first quarter of 2019, 1.9% lower than $437.0m recorded in the first quarter of 2018.

The company said the decrease was due to lower paperboard and tissue shipments, including the impact from the sale of the company’s mill in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, in August 2018, partially offset by higher tissue and paperboard pricing.

EBITDA was $38.9m for the quarter, compared to $35.4m a year earlier.

Linda K. Massman, president and chief executive, said: “The Adjusted EBITDA of $39.8m achieved in the first quarter of 2019 included approximately $3m of additional professional fees associated largely with the assessment of material weaknesses and our evaluation of goodwill impairment, both of which were previously reported in the fourth quarter of 2018. “It also included an approximate $4m impact from significantly higher utility costs associated with an unusual gas pipeline disruption that occurred during the first quarter of 2019.

“Excluding those items, our Adjusted EBITDA would have compared favourably to Adjusted EBITDA achieved in the first quarter of 2018 and would have been comparable to Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2018.

“For the remainder of 2019, we will be focused on ramping tissue production at our Shelby, North Carolina mill to meet the growing demand for ultra-quality tissue and reducing costs throughout our facilities to generate stronger cash flow and improved returns on invested capital.”

Net sales for the company’s Consumer Products segment were $223.3m for the first quarter of 2019, down 6.5% compared to first quarter 2018 net sales of $238.8m.

The company said this decrease was due to lower volumes sold, including the impact from the divestiture of the Ladysmith mill, and partially offset by higher average prices for both retail and non-retail tissue products and a favourable mix shift to ultra-quality products.

Total tissue volumes sold were 83,622 tonnes in the first quarter of 2019, a decrease of 8,585 tonnes – or 9.3% – compared to 92,207 tonnes in the first quarter of 2018.

Converted product cases shipped were 12.3m in the first quarter of 2019, 7.1% lower than the 13.3m cases shipped in the first quarter of 2018.

Average tissue net selling prices increased 3.9% to $2,667 per tonne in the first quarter of 2019, compared to $2,568 per tonne in the first quarter of 2018.

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