IP Beats Estimates, Sees Sales Rise Despite Earnings Dip

By Bill Dries

International Paper Co. reported net earnings of $794 million in 2012, down from $1.3 billion in 2011.

But the Memphis-based company increased its net sales in 2012 to $27.8 billion compared to $26 billion the year before.

For the last three months of 2012, International Paper posted net earnings of $235 million compared to $281 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The earnings of 69 cents per share reported Tuesday, Jan. 29, excluding special items, was down from 73 cents a share a year ago. But it was ahead of the 65 cents per share predicted by analysts.

Net sales for IP were also up for the quarter at $7.1 billion compared to $6.4 billion in the last three months of 2011.

The net earnings for the quarter and the year reflect special items or one-time-only charges as well as pension expenses.

The fourth quarter special items included a pre-tax charge of $28 million related to International Paper’s acquisition and integration of Temple-Inland, an Austin, Texas-based paper company.

International Paper took another pre-tax $58 million charge in the third quarter of 2012 for integration costs from the Temple-Inland acquisition.

The fourth quarter is usually when IP schedules outages for maintenance at company facilities.

International Paper CEO John Faraci attributed the rise in sales for the quarter and for the year, in part, to the Temple-Inland acquisition.