Domtar is reporting net earnings of $45 million for the first quarter of 2013 on sales of $1,345 million.
These results can be compared to net earnings of $19 million for the fourth quarter of 2012 and net earnings of $28 million for the first quarter of 2012.
“The first quarter results in our paper business were disappointing and this is due to low productivity, resulting in high costs,” said John D. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer. “While we benefited from better paper pricing than we expected, the reconfiguration of our Marlboro, South Carolina operations resulted in multiple paper grade transfers, upsetting productivity at several of our paper mills. We anticipate a return to a more normalized productivity in the quarters to come.” John D. Williams added, “Our personal care business remains on track and the capital investments should start to deliver the expected benefits towards the end of 2013.”
Operating income before items was $75 million in the first quarter of 2013 compared to an operating income before items of $84 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Depreciation and amortization totaled $95 million in the first quarter of 2013.
The decrease in operating income before items in the first quarter of 2013 was the result of higher usage for energy and chemicals, higher unit costs for fiber, lower average selling prices for paper, higher general production costs and higher selling, general and administrative and other expenses. These factors were partially offset by higher volumes for paper, lower costs for planned maintenance, higher average selling prices for pulp and a favorable exchange rate.
When compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, paper shipments increased 2.9% and pulp shipments decreased 3.4%. Paper deliveries of Ariva® increased 9.8% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. The shipments-to-production ratio for paper was 104% in the first quarter of 2013, compared to 97% in the fourth quarter of 2012. Lack-of-order downtime and machine slowdowns in papers totaled 8,000 short tons in the first quarter of 2013. Paper inventories decreased by 34,000 tons while pulp inventories increased by 16,000 metric tons at the end of March, compared to December levels.
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