Tissue World Magazine

Resolute Forest Products has reported sales of $898m in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of $9m compared to a year earlier.

Net income for the quarter ended 31 December was $13m compared to a net loss of $45 million in the same period in 2016.

For the year, the company reported a GAAP net loss of $84m compared to a net loss of $81m in 2016. Sales were $3.5bn, down 1%.

Richard Garneau, president and chief executive, said: “An otherwise solid quarter was impacted by the ongoing restructuring at our Calhoun paper operations, as well as maintenance outages at several locations.

“Also, the appreciation in our share price in the quarter, and company performance increased our share-based compensation expense.”

The company reported operating income of $49m in 2017 compared to a loss of $26m in 2016, mostly due to higher selling prices.

Operating results of the tissue segment – which continues to include only the former Atlas tissue operations – improved by $1m compared to the third quarter, reflecting higher overall pricing of $50 per short tonne, largely because of product mix.

Despite the improvement in manufacturing costs, mainly attributable to the impact of Hurricane Irma in the third quarter, the delivered cost remained essentially unchanged due to lower volumes.

For the year, the segment reported an operating loss of $6m, an improvement of $4m over 2016.

The difference reflects primarily a decline in delivered cost of $164 per short tonne, or 9%.

Garneau added: “Market fundamentals remain favourable in our pulp and lumber segments.

“In paper, we expect positive price momentum to carry into the first quarter. Additional gains are also anticipated from our restructuring initiatives at Calhoun and the restart of a paper machine at Alma.

“Initiatives undertaken in 2017 to redefine our tissue sales and marketing strategy, including broadening our product offering, rebranding as Resolute Tissue, and reinforcing the sales force, are beginning to yield results, with additional sales volume secured for 2018.

“We continue to manage through US capricious and arbitrary trade measures.”

The company has also appointed Yves Laflamme as president and chief executive. He is succeeding Richard Garneau, who the company said has retired.

Laflamme currently serves as senior vice president, wood products, global procurement and information technology for Resolute.

He is a 37-year veteran of the industry and began his career in finance working at Donohue Inc.’s Saint-Félicien integrated pulp mill and wood products operations in 1981, and moved on to serve as controller for the company’s integrated newsprint and wood products facilities in the Abitibi region of Quebec.

Resolute Forest Products is a manufacturer of forest products including market pulp, tissue, wood products, newsprint and specialty papers, which are marketed in close to 70 countries.

It owns or operates some 40 manufacturing facilities, as well as power generation assets, in the United States and Canada.