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Newsgrafik #120828
 15.08.2018

Resolute Reports Preliminary Second Quarter 2018 Results  (Company news)

-Q2 GAAP net income of $72 million or $0.77 per diluted share
-Adjusted EBITDA of $172 million, up 59% from first quarter
-Debt repayment of $105 million; liquidity at $517 million
-Supercalendered paper cash duty deposits of $60 million to be returned with interest

Resolute Forest Products Inc. (NYSE: RFP) (TSX: RFP) reported net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2018, of $72 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $74 million, or $0.82 per share, in the same period in 2017. Sales were $976 million in the quarter, an increase of $118 million from the year-ago period. Excluding special items, the company reported net income of $66 million, or $0.71 per share, compared to a net loss, excluding special items, of $3 million, or $0.03 per share, in the second quarter of 2017.

"Overall positive price momentum and improved operational performance led to record profitability this quarter. Our strong financial results allowed repayment of $105 million of debt during the quarter, significantly improving our balance sheet and leverage," said Yves Laflamme (photo), president and chief executive officer. "We are also very pleased that the countervailing duty order on supercalendered paper has recently been revoked, resulting in a $60 million refund of duty deposits over the coming months."

A new four-year collective agreement was also ratified, shortly after the end of the second quarter, with the company's largest Canadian union, Unifor, covering 1,000 employees at six of its sawmills. Earlier in the year, Resolute reached a new four-year collective agreement covering 1,100 employees at eight of the company's Canadian pulp and paper mills.

Non-GAAP financial measures, such as adjustments for special items and adjusted EBITDA, are explained and reconciled below.

Operating Income Variance Against Prior Period
Consolidated
The company recorded operating income of $121 million in the quarter, compared to $48 million in the first quarter of 2018. The $73 million improvement reflects higher prices realized across almost all of our product offerings ($58 million), a reduction in energy costs, largely seasonal, favorable fiber usage, and higher shipments following distribution constraints in the first quarter. The operating results also benefited from the effect of the weaker Canadian dollar. These favorable elements more than compensated for the 20% increase in market-based stumpage fees and a rise in recovered paper prices. Maintenance and labor costs were also higher this quarter, largely related to the scheduled outages at two of our pulp mills.

Market Pulp
Operating income in the market pulp segment was $41 million, $8 million higher than the first quarter. Positive pulp price momentum continued in the quarter, resulting in a $37 increase in the average transaction price to $747 per metric ton. While productivity improved at most mills, shipments were down 9,000 metric tons, largely due to scheduled maintenance outages at the Catawba (South Carolina) and Calhoun (Tennessee) mills, as well as the planned inventory buildup at Saint-Félicien (Quebec), ahead of the extended outage required for the previously announced strategic investment. As a result, inventory increased by 17,000 metric tons. The operating cost per unit (the "delivered cost") increased by $12 per metric ton due to planned maintenance outages and higher recovered paper prices, offset in part by lower wood and fuel expenses, mostly stemming from improved efficiency. Pricing gains outweighed lower volumes and higher costs, resulting in EBITDA of $49 million in the quarter, or $137 per metric ton, up from $110 per metric ton in the first quarter.

Tissue
The tissue segment incurred an operating loss of $10 million, compared to $1 million in the first quarter, largely attributable to the first time inclusion of Calhoun's results in the second quarter. When compared to the previous quarter, Calhoun's operating results improved by $3 million, mainly due to an increase in shipments. If Calhoun's first quarter sales, previously recorded as a reduction of start-up costs, were included in the tissue segment, overall tissue sales would have risen by 5%, as product mix shifted favorably towards more converted product volume. Finished goods inventory decreased by 3,000 short tons. The delivered cost remains elevated as we continue to optimize productivity. EBITDA for the segment was negative $5 million.

Wood Products
Compared to the first quarter, operating income in the wood products segment improved by $26 million, to $79 million. The increase is almost entirely attributable to the rise in average transaction price, up $55 to $514 per thousand board feet, as new highs were reached for most grades during the quarter. Shipments also increased by 39 million board feet as a result of improvements in rail car availability. Finished goods inventory dropped by 9% to 128 million board feet. Despite better fiber recovery, the delivered cost rose by $13 per thousand board feet to $355 due to higher market-based stumpage fees linked to lumber selling prices, a rise in diesel fuel cost, and an increase in maintenance activity. EBITDA for the segment was $86 million, compared to $61 million in the first quarter, reflecting a margin of 34%.

Newsprint
At $18 million in the second quarter, newsprint generated $22 million more operating income compared to the first quarter. Sales rose by 16% as the average transaction price improved by $26 per metric ton and shipments increased by 38,000 metric tons to 393,000, following freight constraints and timing of export sales in the first quarter. Finished goods inventory at the end of the quarter was 8,000 metric tons lower, at 85,000. The delivered cost also improved by $30 per metric ton, largely due to higher volumes and a seasonal reduction in energy costs, offset in part by higher planned maintenance. EBITDA improved by $54 per metric ton from the previous quarter, reaching $88 per metric ton, or $35 million.

Specialty Papers
The specialty papers segment generated operating income of $4 million in the second quarter, compared to an operating loss of $7 million in the first quarter. Realized pricing continued to strengthen, reaching $701 per short ton, an increase of $26, while the delivered cost decreased by $10 per short ton to $688, as improved efficiency led to lower fuel costs. EBITDA rose to $16 million, or $57 per short ton, compared to $5 million in the previous quarter.

Consolidated Quarterly Operating Income Variance Against Year-Ago Period
The company's operating income improved by $169 million, compared to the second quarter of 2017. The favorable pricing environment across almost all of our products added $145 million to our results compared to 2017, as the average transaction price increased by 33% for wood products, 18% for market pulp, 15% for newsprint and 8% for specialty papers. The improvement in operating income also included the elimination of fixed costs due to capacity closures in our paper segments ($20 million) in 2017. In addition, there were no significant closure and other related charges in the quarter, compared to $65 million in the same quarter of 2017.

These favorable items were partially offset by an increase in manufacturing costs ($26 million), mainly resulting from scheduled maintenance and higher market-related fiber costs, a 15% rise in freight expenses ($16 million), and the unfavorable impact of the stronger Canadian dollar ($15 million).

Corporate and Finance
During the quarter, the company generated $158 million of cash from operations. After $28 million of capital expenditures and $37 million of cash duty deposits, $105 million of debt was repaid, and liquidity rose to $517 million.

Following the revocation of the countervailing duty order on supercalendered paper by the U.S. Department of Commerce, all of the $60 million of cash deposits previously paid will be returned with interest. Including $67 million for softwood lumber and $6 million for uncoated groundwood papers, cumulative duty deposits of $133 million are recorded on our balance sheet.

Standard & Poor's Global Ratings recently revised the company's outlook to stable and affirmed the BB- long-term corporate rating.

Outlook
"Our view on pulp markets remain optimistic through the third quarter, as supply and demand dynamics are expected to be strong in most markets. Despite extensive pulp downtime related to the major capital project in Saint-Félicien, which will increase pulp production in the long term, we expect our pulp performance to remain solid. We believe the underlying market fundamentals for lumber will support healthy operating results in the medium term, in spite of a recent pull back in lumber prices. Paper markets are expected to remain favorable in the third quarter, as we continue to benefit from rising prices across our product offering. For tissue, we have made progress in increasing sales and market penetration. Our operations are now focused on supporting our strengthening market position," added Mr. Laflamme.
(Resolute Forest Products)

Newsgrafik #120829
 15.08.2018

SWM ANNOUNCES SECOND QUARTER 2018 RESULTS  (Company news)

Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc. ("SWM" or the "Company") (NYSE: SWM) reported earnings results for the three month period ended June 30, 2018.

Second Quarter 2018 Financial Results Summary
-Total sales grew 6% to $270.4 million (no acquisition benefit)
-GAAP operating profit was $42.1 million, or 15.6% of sales, up 4%; adjusted operating profit was unchanged at $47.9 million, or 17.7% of sales
-GAAP earnings per share was $0.83, up 15%; Adjusted EPS was $0.99, up 13%

Second Quarter 2018 Business Highlights
-AMS segment sales increased 5% (no acquisition benefit) with strong gains in filtration, led by both RO water and process markets, and medical product lines
-AMS GAAP and adjusted operating profit margin contracted 40 and 160 basis points, respectively, due primarily to site closure expenses and higher resin costs, compared to strong segment margin in the prior year period
-EP segment sales increased 6% despite a 4% volume decline; favorable currency movements of 5% and positive price/mix performance drove sales growth
-EP GAAP and adjusted operating profit margins contracted 30 and 70 basis points, respectively, with higher pulp costs partially offset by manufacturing efficiencies

Dr. Jeff Kramer (photo), Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Second quarter Adjusted EPS growth of 13% marked another solid performance despite an inflationary cost environment. Both of our segments delivered organic sales growth and total adjusted operating profit was stable, with lower taxes providing an earnings boost. We raised prices and drove efficiencies to help mitigate raw material headwinds, but we continue to expect input costs to pose challenges in the coming quarters."

"AMS sales increased 5%, with double digit growth in filtration and medical products leading the portfolio. RO water filtration momentum continued as our customers' replenishment cycle turns back in our favor, and our process filtration sales performed well with gains in semiconductor manufacturing and heavy equipment end-markets. We also delivered high growth in medical, with strength in several niche product lines. While second quarter transportation sales declined slightly versus a very strong quarter last year, our full-year growth outlook remains intact. Higher sales were offset by elevated resin costs and anticipated expenses related to the planned site closure. These additional costs provided a challenging comparison as AMS achieved record segment adjusted operating margin of nearly 20% in the prior year period. Our price increases implemented during the second quarter on polypropylene-based products mostly covered the higher resin costs and we continue to expect facility rationalization synergies to provide a boost to fourth quarter margins."

"EP segment volume decreased 4%, with higher total cigarette paper and HnB volumes offset by the decline in traditional RTL and lower-margin non-tobacco volumes. Despite lower overall volume, sales grew 6% due to both strong price/mix benefits and favorable currency movements. Higher pulp costs continued to pressure margins, but good top-line performance and plant productivity improvements curtailed the impact."

Dr. Kramer concluded, "Year-to-date free cash flow continued to track ahead of 2017 and toward our expectation of more than $100 million for the full year, and we were able to reduce debt to further de-lever the balance sheet. We enter the second half of 2018 with strong sales momentum and expectations for Conwed synergy realization in AMS, and will continue to closely monitor the input cost pressures across both businesses for the balance of the year."
(Schweitzer-Mauduit International Inc.)

Newsgrafik #120831
 15.08.2018

Verso Corporation Reports Second Quarter 2018 Financial Results  (Company news)

Verso Corporation (NYSE: VRS) reported financial results for the second quarter of 2018.

Second Quarter 2018 Highlights:
-Net sales up $59 million versus second quarter 2017, a 10% increase
-Net income of $1 million, up $50 million versus second quarter 2017
-Adjusted EBITDA up $55 million versus second quarter 2017
-Last 12 months trailing Adjusted EBITDA of $204 million
-Net debt down $153 million from one year prior

Overview
"Verso had a strong second quarter with solid year-over-year improvement across the enterprise as our many initiatives to strengthen the business continued to deliver quantifiable results," said Verso Chief Executive Officer B. Christopher DiSantis (photo). "With what we believe is an industry-leading SG&A structure, our strong cash flow, fast-growing specialty papers business and low-cost conversion strategies, including the on-schedule restart of the No. 3 paper machine at the Androscoggin Mill, position Verso to capitalize on improving market dynamics and to create long-term value for our stockholders."

Comments to Results of Operations - Comparison of Three Months Ended June 30, 2018 to Three Months Ended June 30, 2017
-Net sales for the second quarter of 2018 increased $59 million, or 10%, compared to the second quarter of 2017. The sales increase was attributable to improved average pricing, primarily resulting from inflationary pressures, improvement in product mix and better alignment of supply and demand. The improved average pricing and product mix were driven by price increases across our product lines while volume was up significantly in specialty papers. As our focus on increasing production in this area continues, the Stevens Point and Androscoggin mills ran at capacity with specialty products during the second quarter of 2018. The overall decrease in volume was driven primarily by a reduction in external pulp sales of 15,000 tons resulting from a planned outage at our Quinnesec Mill and other internal needs. While sales volume of specialty papers increased in the second quarter of 2018, it was offset by a reduction in sales volume of other coated papers during that same period.
-Gross margin, excluding depreciation and amortization expenses, increased from 1.9% in the second quarter of 2017 to 9.8% in the second quarter of 2018, driven by higher average pricing and improved product mix, reduced downtime, improved operational performance and reduction of pension costs, partially offset by higher planned major maintenance costs, including a bi-annual outage at the Quinnesec Mill, increased freight expense and inflation on chemicals and purchased pulp.
-SG&A expense in the second quarter of 2018 increased $4 million over the same period in 2017, primarily attributable to costs incurred during the second quarter of 2018 associated with Verso's strategic alternatives initiative and an increase in cash incentive expense and non-cash equity award expense, partially offset by cost reduction initiatives implemented across the company.
-Other operating expense of $2 million in the second quarter of 2018 related to fees associated with the company's 2016 Chapter 11 cases.
-Interest expense reduction was driven by the reduction in amounts outstanding under our term loan.
-Other (income) expense in the second quarter of 2017 and 2018 each include income of $3 million associated with the non-operating components of net periodic pension cost (income) in connection with the adoption of a new accounting standard in the first quarter of 2018.

Comments to Results of Operations - Comparison of Six Months Ended June 30, 2018 to Six Months Ended June 30, 2017
-Net sales for the first half of 2018 increased $82 million, or 7%, compared to the first half of 2017. The sales increase was attributable to improved average pricing, primarily resulting from inflationary pressures, improvement in product mix and better alignment of supply and demand. The increased average pricing and improvement in product mix resulted in higher revenue, driven by price increases across our product lines while volume was up significantly in specialty papers, partially offset by an overall decrease in sales volume. The overall decrease in volume was driven primarily by a reduction in external pulp sales of 30,000 tons as a result of a planned outage at the Quinnesec Mill and other internal needs. While sales volume of specialty papers increased in the first half of 2018, it was offset by a reduction in sales volume of other coated papers during that same period.
-Gross margin, excluding depreciation and amortization expenses, increased from 5.4% in the first half of 2017 to 9.4% in the first half of 2018, driven by higher average pricing and improved product mix, reduced downtime, improved operational performance, reduction of pension costs, favorable wood costs and lower corporate overhead costs, partially offset by lower sales volume, higher planned major maintenance costs, including bi-annual outages at the Quinnesec and Luke mills, increased freight expense and inflation on chemicals, energy and purchased pulp.
-Depreciation and amortization expenses for the first half of 2018 were lower than the first half of 2017, as a result of $6 million in accelerated depreciation in first quarter of 2017, attributable to the capacity reductions at the Androscoggin Mill.
-SG&A expense in the first six months of 2018 decreased $4 million compared to the same period in 2017, primarily attributable to cost reduction initiatives implemented across the company, partially offset by higher costs associated with Verso's strategic alternatives initiative and non-cash equity award expense.
-Interest expense for the first half of 2018 includes $4 million of amortization of debt issuance cost and discount associated with the term loan as a result of a $21 million voluntary principal payment and a $21 million excess cash flow payment, both made during the first quarter of 2018.
-Other (income) expense in the first half of 2017 and 2018 includes income of $5 million and $7 million, respectively, associated with the non-operating components of net periodic pension cost (income) in connection with the adoption of a new accounting standard in the first quarter of 2018.
(Verso Corporation)

Newsgrafik #120835
 15.08.2018

Schur® Star Systems GmbH simplifies its flexo platemaking with Esko's CDI Crystal 4835 XPS  (Company news)

German packaging specialist Schur® Star Systems GmbH has further automated its entire prepress workflow with Esko’s (www.esko.com) CDI Crystal 4835 XPS platemaking solution.

Founded in 1846 by Johan Wilhelm Schur, the sixth-generation family-run company is one of Denmark's oldest. The group Schur® is comprised of 15 international companies in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France, Australia and the USA that provide a variety of packaging solutions from cartonboard to flexibles. There are around 850 employees. Schur® Star Systems GmbH is the flexible division that produces pre-made bags and supplies their customers worldwide.

For more than ten years Schur® Star Systems GmbH has been working with Esko’s technology to produce flexo plates in house. It chose Esko’s CDI Crystal 4835 XPS to further automate prepress. The system combines all the advantages of Crystal technology including ease of use, reliability, consistency and quality, with the popular 4835 format. The result is the highest possible flexo quality for flexible packaging and labels.

With Esko’s Flexo Platemaking Simplified strategy for flexible packaging and labels, prepress has become a highly automated process. From the one-up artwork all the way to the press-ready set of flexo plates, Esko systematically eliminates manual steps and inefficiencies where possible. The platemaking itself is reduced from the typical seven-step process to a two-step process, significantly reducing operator intervention as well as eliminating the need for operators with platemaking expertise.

Lene Hoegh Madsen, Schur® Star Systems GmbH’s Prepress Manager, comments; “In our end-to-end prepress implementation, we use Automation Engine, Deskpack, and Plato for step and repeat. For platemaking, we now have the new CDI Crystal 4835 and the XPS Crystal 4835. This system is very easy to operate. It is very fast to train new operators so that we can have cross-trained staff available to make plates at night or early in the morning, depending on our needs.

Esko’s Pascal Thomas, Director Prepress & Platemaking says, “ We are on a mission to make flexo platemaking simple and straightforward. Schur® Star Systems GmbH is yet another reference of a flexo converter who embraces Esko’s flexo plate making solution for its ease of use and advanced automation.”
(Esko Belgium)

Newsgrafik #120839
 15.08.2018

BOBST lands big order with CPC Packaging  (Company news)

CPC – the European packaging solutions company – has just invested in four top-of-the-range machines from BOBST, one of the world’s leading suppliers of equipment and services to packaging and label manufacturers.

Photo: NOVACUT 106 ER Autoplaten® die-cutter

CPC Packaging was founded in 1986 and has 650 employees across nine factories in France and Germany. With sales of 140 million Euros across Europe, CPC has successfully provided a one-stop-shop offer of cartons, flexibles and labels for many years.

“We help our customers to anticipate key trends and changes in the industry – whether those are consumer-driven or key technology developments – and help them to adapt accordingly, by upgrading or evolving their packaging specifications from one product to the other,” said Jonathan Schor, the CEO of CPC Packaging. “For example, if they want to move from folding carton to flexible packaging, or from cut labels to self-adhesive labels, we can help them to achieve this by ensuring a seamless transition in terms of design and supply chain management.”

The company needed new die-cutters and a rotogravure machine. After considerable research of potential suppliers, CPC finally turned to BOBST.

“I knew from the beginning it would make sense to buy the three die-cutters from one company, especially in terms of training, maintenance and servicing of the machines, but also in terms of the back-up between our plants,” explained Schor. “Following extensive market research and technical assessments of the various machines, it became clear that BOBST was the only supplier offering a reliable high-speed 145 cm die-cutter for our big runners – MASTERCUT 145 PER running at 9,500 sheets per hour – and there were only limited alternatives to EXPERTCUT 145 PER for our large sheet average-sized runners. Whilst there were several competitors for the smaller-sized NOVACUT 106 ER well suited for our short runs, it made no sense to buy this format from a competitor. It was clear that BOBST had the most comprehensive range addressing our needs, as well as a proven track record in die-cutters compared to later market entrants. Throughout our decision-making process, I relied heavily on our technical and operational team and there was unanimous agreement between us all to choose BOBST.”

CPC is acquiring four machines, three of which are flat-bed die-cutters: NOVACUT 106 ER, EXPERTCUT 145 PER and MASTERCUT 145 PER for its Cartons Business Unit. All these machines are equipped with latest BOBST die-cutting technology. Based on over 75 years’ experience, these technical innovations include clever features such as state-of-the-art register systems, intelligent feeders and quick-change tooling, all complemented by excellent ergonomics and automation.

Also part of the investment is a RS 6003C HS high speed gravure printing press. The machine features several leading-edge technologies, including BOBST’s unique TAPS (Total Automatic Pre-register Setting) system, which completes the pre-register procedure of all print units in just a few minutes at the touch of a button, whether it is a new or repeat job. During printing the machine has superior register performance, achieving register correction several times faster than conventional systems, especially at the critical phase of machine speed variations. Meanwhile the press enables fast make-ready operations and quick changeovers and automatic splice operations can be performed at maximum production speed.

Schor said: “I am impressed by the rapid growth of BOBST web-fed technology, which I can only applaud as web-fed products now account for 50% of our sales, up from 0 in 1995. We had bought a ROTOMEC press in 2009 just after BOBST had acquired the company. After extensive vetting of various rotogravure press-makers, we concluded the best deal would be to buy the new BOBST RS 6003C HS along with a retrofit of the existing machine, which I thought was a very relevant and attractive offer made by the Bobst Italia’s team in San Giorgio Monferrato, Italy.”

The machines will all be installed in different CPC Packaging plants during the 2nd half of 2018.

“We are delighted to extend our partnership with CPC, and we are confident that the addition of these four machines will have an almost immediate benefit for the company,” said Jean-Pascal Bobst, CEO Bobst Group SA. “Both companies share similar values in that we both place a heavy emphasis on quality and putting our customers first. We look forward to a long and exciting partnership.”
(Bobst Mex SA)

Newsgrafik #120871
 15.08.2018

Valmet to supply another OptiConcept M containerboard making line for Shanying International ...  (Company news)

... in China

Valmet will supply yet another OptiConcept M containerboard making line (photo) for Shanying International Holdings Co., Ltd., in the city of Jingzhou in Hubei province, China. The new production line (PM 23) with a wide automation package is following the delivery of the previous OptiConcept M board machine (PM 21) announced in December 2017 and the three winders announced in February earlier this year. PM 23 is designed to produce high-quality fluting grades. By increasing its fluting and testliner production capacity, Shanying is aiming for bigger market shares. The start-up of PM 23 is scheduled for the end of year 2019.

The order was included in Valmet's second quarter of 2018 orders received. The value of the order will not be disclosed. The total value of an order of this type is typically around EUR 30-40 million.

"This is already the seventh Valmet-supplied paper and board making line for Shanying International. The latest ones are the order of the testliner machine PM 21 and the two container board lines in Ma'anshan. This highly-efficient containerboard making line ordered by Shanying will be Valmet's 17th OptiConcept M production line to be supplied globally. Compared to conventional production lines, both of the new production lines will be able to significantly reduce carbon emissions as well as energy consumption," says Timo Saresvuo, Senior Sales Manager at Valmet.

Technical details about the delivery
Valmet's delivery for PM 23 will be quite similar to PM 21 including a high-speed OptiConcept M containerboard making line from broke collection to reel. PM 23 producing fluting grades will include OptiFormer Gap former with shoe blade technology equipped with OptiFlo Gap headbox enabling high capacity at high speed, which is the key feature of efficient lightweight containerboard manufacturing. Former with shoe and blade technology gives good strength properties, uniform CD profiles and excellent board formation.

The headbox and former are followed by OptiPress Center roll based press section, OptiRun Single dryer section, OptiSizer Film sizer, OptiCalender hard nip calender, OptiReel Pope reel and OptiCart Stream parent roll cart with transfer rails. The delivery will also include related ventilation equipment, runnability components, Valmet DNA machine control and process control systems, and Valmet IQ quality measurement system. The machine will be delivered with a Valmet fabrics package and an additional production support after take over.

The 8,600-mm-wide (wire) board machine will produce fluting grades. Design production values are the following: basis weight range 50-110 g/m2, design speed 1,300 m/min and daily capacity approx. 1,200 tonnes.
(Valmet Corporation)

Newsgrafik #120760
 14.08.2018

Biofilm selects Greycon to improve planning of BOPP Production   (Company news)

Greycon has recently won new business with BOPP Film Manufacturer, Biofilm. Greycon will be implementing X-Trim at Biofilm’s facilities in Mexico and Colombia.

Biofilm is a major player in the international BOPP Film market. Over the years, Biofilm has added to its product lines by increasing the number of manufacturing sites and capacity thus ensuring a need for a powerful trim optimisation system by Greycon.

Greycon’s presence in the plastic film industries has grown tremendously, with the realisation that Greycon’s solutions provide a competitive edge and a return-on-investment that is measured in months for both bubble and conventional line processes.

Greycon’s advanced trim system will bring numerous benefits to Biofilm including: increased production throughput (at primary lines and metallizers), reduced waste, overrun, improved use of inventory (trim around faults, consume semi-finish stock, and reduced inventory levels due to better trim planning).

Jeronimo Alvarez, Senior Consultant at Greycon commented: “We are very pleased to announce this new partnership with Biofilm and look forward to starting the project with them. We are continuously striving to improve our solutions and ensure our clients receive the best ROI. Winning new business like Biofilm and working on new projects will enable us to have the tools to refine our extensive range of specialist software solutions.”
(Greycon Ltd)

Newsgrafik #120797
 14.08.2018

Mondi: Half-yearly results for the six months ended 30 June 2018  (Company news)

Highlights
• Strong financial performance
• • • Underlying EBITDA of €852 million, up 17%, with margin of 22.9%
• • • Profit before tax of €490 million, up 6%
• • • Basic underlying earnings of 89.2 euro cents per share, up 26%
• • • Cash generated from operations up 18%
• • • Return on capital employed 21.3%
• Excellent performance from Packaging Paper
• Good progress on major capital investment projects
• Integration of recent acquisitions on track, expanding the Group’s containerboard portfolio and network of industrial bag plants in high growth regions
• Interim dividend declared of 21.45 euro cents per share

Peter Oswald (photo), Mondi Group Chief Executive Officer, said:
“Mondi delivered a strong performance in the first half of 2018, with underlying EBITDA of €852 million, up 17% in the period. We benefited from good demand across our packaging businesses as well as higher average selling prices, while remaining focused on initiatives to drive performance and mitigate inflationary pressures on our cost base. We saw a strong operational performance across the pulp and paper businesses, with the exception of the extended shut at our Richards Bay mill (South Africa).

We continue to make good progress in securing future growth and ensuring the ongoing cost competitiveness of our operations through the delivery of our major capital expenditure programme of over €750 million, which is expected to contribute to earnings from 2019. The modernisation of our kraft paper facility in Steti (Czech Republic) is on track to start-up in late 2018 and work to upgrade the pulp mill at our Ruzomberok mill (Slovakia) has commenced, while we await final permits to proceed with our investment in a new 300,000 tonne kraft top white machine at the same site. We continue to make good progress on smaller capital expenditure projects at a number of our packaging operations, while integration of the recently completed acquisitions is progressing according to plan.

The trading environment remains positive going into the second half of the year, with pricing in key fibre based product segments remaining supportive. The second half of the year will be impacted by the usual seasonal downturn in Uncoated Fine Paper. We also expect continued pressure on the cost base across the Group, mitigated by our ongoing proactive and comprehensive cost reduction programmes.

Mondi is uniquely positioned to develop sustainable fibre and plastic based packaging solutions. With our robust business model, focus on leveraging key industry trends of sustainability, e-commerce and convenience, and culture of driving performance, we remain confident of sustaining our track record of delivering value accretive growth.”

Group performance review
Underlying EBITDA for the half-year ended 30 June 2018 of €852 million was up 17% compared to the first half of 2017. Stable volumes and higher prices more than offset higher costs, negative currency effects and the impact of maintenance shuts. The fibre based packaging value chain, comprising Packaging Paper and Fibre Packaging, was the main contributor to the improved performance, driven by a combination of higher prices and strong operational performance.

Revenue was up 4% on a like-for-like basis, supported by higher average selling prices across all our businesses and volume growth in Containerboard and Industrial Bags. Input costs were higher than the comparable prior year period with the notable exception of paper for recycling costs, with average European benchmark prices down 27% and 30% on the comparable prior year period and the second half of 2017, respectively. While there remains uncertainty, caused mainly by Chinese import policies, we are seeing signs of stabilisation in European paper for recycling markets, with benchmark prices holding steady during the second quarter and July. Wood costs were generally higher in local currency terms in northern and central Europe during the first half of the year. Energy costs were higher than the comparable prior year period driven by increasing commodity input prices. Cash fixed costs were higher as a result of inflationary cost pressures across the Group and the impact of mill maintenance shuts. Depreciation and amortisation charges were marginally lower during the period.

In June 2018, we completed the acquisition of Powerflute, an integrated pulp and paper mill in Kuopio (Finland) with an annual production capacity of 285,000 tonnes of high-performance semi-chemical fluting, for a total consideration of €363 million on a debt and cash-free basis. We are pleased with the progress made to date with the integration of this business, which further broadens our containerboard product portfolio and geographic reach.

In the first half of 2018, we completed a longer than anticipated annual maintenance shut at our Richards Bay mill, a maintenance shut at our Syktyvkar mill (Russia) and smaller shuts at some of our other mills. The balance of our maintenance shuts are scheduled for the second half of the year. Based on prevailing market prices, the full year impact on underlying EBITDA of the Group’s maintenance shuts is estimated at around €115 million (2017: €95 million) of which the first half effect was around €55 million (2017: €40 million).

Currency movements had a net negative impact on underlying EBITDA versus the comparable prior year period. The weaker US dollar had a net negative impact mainly on dollar denominated sales of a number of the Group’s globally traded products, while the weaker Russian rouble had a net negative impact on translation of the profits of the domestically focused Uncoated Fine Paper business.

Basic underlying earnings were up 26% to 89.2 euro cents per share, with strong improvement in underlying operating profit and lower net finance charges partly offset by an increase in the effective tax rate from 19% in the prior year period to 22% in the current period. After taking the effect of special items into account, basic earnings of 72.5 euro cents per share were up 1% on the comparable prior year period.

An interim dividend of 21.45 euro cents per share has been declared.
(Mondi Europe & International Division)

Newsgrafik #120825
 14.08.2018

Heidelberg with a solid start to the new financial year – order backlog growing thanks to ...  (Company news)

...subscription model

-Incoming orders in the first quarter up by 6 percent to €665 million
-Group sales increased by 9 percent to €541 million
-Operating result (EBITDA) up from €14 million to €20 million – EBIT positive at €2 million
-On course to achieve overall annual targets for 2018/2019
-Digital transformation well underway, medium-term targets firmly in sight

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) has started off the 2018/2019 financial year with growth in net sales and result. High demand for the newly established sub-scription model and the launch of series production of the Primefire digital press are demonstrating the potential the digital transformation offers the company. Incoming orders, for example, improved in the first quarter (April 1 to June 30) by 6 percent to €665 million. Furthermore, the previous year’s figure of €629 million benefited from the Print China trade show. The order backlog grew by 18 percent to €714 million (previous year: €603 million), partly due to subscription contracts, particularly in terms of life cycle business, i.e. services and consumables.

The first quarter brought in the first revenues raised from subscription contracts, which generate recurrent sales over a term that usually lasts five years. However, Heidelberg also recorded growth in traditional business during the first quarter, with sales rising by 9 percent in total to €541 million, despite negative currency effects. Had exchange rates remained similar, revenues would have risen by around 11 percent.

“The strong customer demand for our new subscription portfolio and digital packaging printing presses has exceeded our expectations. Heidelberg is driving digitization in the entire industry. The establishment of the new business models is proceeding to plan and will at first make a relatively modest contribution to net sales and result, albeit one that will increase significantly in the medium term,” commented Rainer Hundsdörfer, CEO of Heidelberg.
(Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG)

Newsgrafik #120827
 14.08.2018

Michael Schulze, the new Managing Director at Hastamat - Focus on innovation and growth  (Company news)

In June 2018 Michael Schulze (photo) took over the management of Hastamat, the packaging machine manufacturer based in Lahnau, Germany. The 51-year old managing director is the successor to Gerhard Junker who managed the company in the interim since November 2017.

"We are delighted that we have been able to enlist the expertise of Michael Schulze for our company. Together with his striving team, he will further expand Hastamat's leading position in the market of vertical form fill and seal machines, multihead weighers and packaging lines for stackable chip", says Olaf Piepenbrock, Executive Partner of Hastamat's parent company, the Piepenbrock Group. Michael Schulze started his professional career by training to become a power electronics technician before he successfully completed his studies in electrical engineering at the Würzburg/Schweinfurt University of Applied Sciences in 1994. To his qualifications he later added a business economist course from the Göttingen and Wiesbaden Business Studies Academy.

Experience in international packaging machine construction
Michael Schulze's career is closely connected to machine construction in the food industry where he gained extensive experience as the head of Materials Management and the head of Global Procurement Management at international companies. From 2004 Michael Schulze managed the Distribution and Production Logistics department at a leading systems supplier for the packaging and beverage industry before in 2009 he took up the business management of a manufacturer of production facilities for wafers and snacks. In June Michael Schulze was appointed as the Managing Director at Hastamat in Lahnau, Germany. "Development in our markets is fast and dynamic – mirroring the strengths of our company. Against this backdrop, we are committed to further growth, developing intelligent and innovative products while further consolidating our high customer satisfaction", says Michael Schulze, looking forward to the coming challenges.
(Hastamat Verpackungstechnik GmbH)

Newsgrafik #120845
 14.08.2018

ANDRITZ receives order to supply two tissue machines to Taison Pulp, China  (Company news)

International technology Group ANDRITZ has received an order from Taison Pulp (Group) Co., Ltd. to supply two PrimeLineST W8 tissue machines, including stock preparation and automation systems, for their mill in Suzhou, Anhui province, China.

Photo: ANDRITZ PrimeLineST W8 tissue machine.

The machines will produce up to 120,000 tons of tissue per year and are designed for grammages from 12 to 42 g/m2 used for facial and toilet paper. Start-up is scheduled for 2019.

The two tissue machines have a design speed of 1,800 meters per minute and a paper width on reel of 5.6 meters, and they are equipped with the ANDRITZ PrimeControl automation system for an optimized production process.

The combination of an 18ft PrimeDry Steel Yankee with the steam-heated hood enables highly efficient drying with substantial energy savings compared to conventional dryer sections with cast Yankee dryers and gas-heated hoods. The steel Yankee will be manufactured at ANDRITZ China’s Yankee business center in Foshan, which offers customers state-of-the-art manufacturing, local field service, and quality management.

The scope of supply also includes the stock preparation system, comprising two lines to process short fiber pulp and a mixture of bamboo and long fiber pulp as raw materials, as well as the approach system and Disc Filter Savealls for fiber recovery. Market pulp bales are dissolved in ANDRITZ FibreSolve FSV pulpers, which enable efficient slushing without damaging the fibers. Six ANDRITZ TwinFlo double disc refiners achieve superior fiber properties with regard to fiber length and fibrillation. ModuScreen HBE screens protect the tissue machine and ensure highest runability.

This order once again confirms ANDRITZ’s strong market position as one of the leading suppliers of machines and systems to the Chinese tissue industry.
(Andritz AG)

Newsgrafik #120847
 14.08.2018

Valmet will supply BCTMP plant conversion, slab press and conveyor systems to Estonian Cell ...  (Company news)

... pulp mill in Estonia

Valmet has received an order from Estonian Cell which will be delivered in two stages. In the first stage, Valmet will supply a conversion of the existing bleached chemi-thermomechanical pulp plant, which will increase production and reduce steam, fresh water and chemical consumption. In the second stage, Valmet will deliver a slab press (photo) and conveyor systems with connecting control system. The new machinery will boost production capacity and make the line more cost-efficient. The second stage will increase the annual production volume.

Valmet's delivery is part of Estonian Cell's EUR 20 million growth investment program that will enable the company to achieve an annual production capacity of 185,000 tons and improve the plant's efficiency. In 2017, the production capacity of Estonian Cell was 171,708 tons of aspen pulp and all production was exported.

The order was included in Valmet's second quarter of 2018 orders received. A project of this size and scope is typically valued at EUR 5-10 million. The start-up is planned for the second quarter of 2019.

"We are ready to start with the first stage of the investment program which focuses on liquidating the bottlenecks of the production and wastewater treatment and improving efficiency. In the second stage, we have chosen to invest in another slab press from Valmet to increase our production capacity. The good experience from the earlier installed slab press, which increased availability and stabilized production, makes us confident that this investment will make us reach our set production target," says Lauri Raid, Mill Manager at Estonian Cell.

"We appreciate the long cooperation we have had around the BCTMP plant and the repeat order of a slab press. To see the plans being realized is something we are really looking forward to, as well as to be working together again in this new project," says Mikael Ehrnholm, Senior Product Specialist, Mechanical Fiber at Valmet.

Details about Valmet's delivery
The BCTMP plant conversion includes a mechanical steam separator, a new washing stage by a screw press with medium consistency pump and a new final washing stage before the flash dryer with heavy duty TwinRoll presses. Reconfiguration and reprogramming of the existing bleaching system with detailed automation engineering is also included. The new slab press is replacing the original slab press, which was a prototype that did not meet stability expectations. Mechanical installation of the slab press is included. Commissioning and start-up supervision are included for both stages.
(Valmet Corporation)

Newsgrafik #120810
 13.08.2018

PCMC names Adam Servais as aftermarket sales representative  (Company news)

Customers will benefit from his depth of knowledge about PCMC’s flexographic products

Paper Converting Machine Company (PCMC) — a division of Barry-Wehmiller and a leading supplier of high-performance converting machinery for the tissue, nonwovens and package-printing industries worldwide—is pleased to announce that Adam Servais (photo) has accepted the position of Aftermarket Upgrade and Rebuild Sales Representative, Printing, Coating and Laminating.

In his new role, Servais will be responsible for direct sales of machine upgrades and modifications for the PCMC aftermarket PCL product line.
Servais started with PCMC in 1996 and has held various positions, including Controls Designer, Service and Construction Manager, and Senior Project Manager, all of which will serve him as he applies his varied experience and depth of knowledge to provide customers with the solutions they need.

“I’m thrilled to have Adam on our team,” said Joe Schuh, PCMC’s Director of Sales for Modifications. “His extensive expertise with the PCL product line and his existing relationships with our customers make him an exciting addition.”

Servais will operate from PCMC’s Glory Road office in Green Bay.
(PCMC Paper Converting Machine Company)

Newsgrafik #120811
 13.08.2018

Clearwater Paper Reports Second Quarter 2018 Results  (Company news)

Clearwater Paper Corporation (NYSE:CLW) reported financial results for the second quarter of 2018.

The company reported net sales of $432.1 million for the second quarter of 2018, up 0.6% compared to net sales of $429.7 million for the second quarter of 2017. Net earnings determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, for the second quarter of 2018 were $7.0 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, compared to net earnings for the second quarter of 2017 of $8.0 million, or $0.48 per diluted share. The decrease in net earnings was due to a weaker product mix in tissue products, higher input costs for transportation, wood fiber, and external pulp and reorganization expenses, all of which were partially offset by improved price and shipment volumes for paperboard, no planned major maintenance and lower expense associated with profit dependent accruals. Excluding certain non-core items identified in the attached Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures, second quarter 2018 adjusted net earnings were $7.1 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, compared to second quarter 2017 adjusted net earnings of $7.9 million, or $0.48 per diluted share.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, were $42.4 million for the second quarter of 2018, compared to $45.7 million for the second quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $42.6 million, down 5.4% compared to second quarter 2017 Adjusted EBITDA of $45.0 million.

“We met our expectations in the second quarter due to record paperboard production and shipments, continued strong demand for paperboard and ultra-quality tissue, and cost savings from strategic capital and operational efficiency initiatives,” said Linda K. Massman, president and chief executive officer. “Those results were achieved in spite of a competitive tissue market, and high external pulp prices and transportation costs. For the second half of 2018, we are acutely focused on improving operating profit, generating cash, completing the expansion work at our Shelby, North Carolina facility and optimizing our network of assets to reduce costs and improve service to customers.”

SECOND QUARTER 2018 SEGMENT PERFORMANCE
Consumer Products
Net sales in the Consumer Products segment were $221.6 million for the second quarter of 2018, down 4.5% compared to second quarter 2017 net sales of $231.9 million. This decrease was due primarily to lower prices and weaker product mix reflected in a 6.0% reduction in retail converted case tissue shipment volumes offset by a 26.1% increase in non-retail parent roll shipments as we work to recover converted case business in the second half of 2018.

Operating loss for the second quarter of 2018 was $3.6 million, compared to operating income and margin of $10.7 million and 4.6% respectively, in the second quarter of 2017. After adjusting for certain non-core items identified in the attached Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures, adjusted operating loss of $2.6 million for the second quarter of 2018 was down from $11.9 million and 5.1% of adjusted operating income and margin, respectively, for the same period in 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the segment was $11.6 million in the second quarter of 2018, down from $27.7 million in the second quarter of 2017. These decreases were primarily due to lower average selling prices, the absorption of fixed costs over lower volumes of retail shipments and higher transportation costs.

Tissue Sales Volumes and Prices:
-Total tissue volumes sold were 90,386 tons in the second quarter of 2018, a decrease of 1.2% compared to 91,450 tons in the second quarter of 2017. Converted product cases shipped were 12.0 million in the second quarter of 2018, 5.4% lower than the 12.7 million cases shipped in the second quarter of 2017.
-Average tissue net selling prices decreased 3.2%, or $82 per ton, to $2,451 per ton in the second quarter of 2018, compared to $2,533 per ton in the second quarter of 2017, primarily due to product mix.

Pulp and Paperboard
Net sales in the Pulp and Paperboard segment were $210.5 million for the second quarter of 2018, up 6.5% compared to second quarter 2017 net sales of $197.8 million. The increase was due to record production levels and volume shipments coupled with higher paperboard prices.

Operating income and margin for the second quarter of 2018 were $34.2 million and 16.2%, compared to $21.1 million and 10.7%, respectively, for the second quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the segment was $43.6 million in the second quarter of 2018, compared to $29.4 million in the second quarter of 2017. The improvement was primarily due to higher average selling prices and lower major maintenance spending, which more than offset increased costs for wood fiber in the Pacific Northwest and higher transportation costs.

Paperboard Sales Volumes and Prices:
-Paperboard sales volumes were 216,582 tons in the second quarter of 2018, an increase of 4.6% compared to 207,152 tons in the second quarter of 2017.
-Paperboard net selling prices increased 1.8% to $972 per ton for the second quarter 2018, compared to $955 per ton in the second quarter of 2017.

Taxes
The company's consolidated tax rate for the second quarter of 2018 was 26.5%. This compares to a 33.0% tax rate in the second quarter of 2017. The favorable tax rate for the second quarter of 2018 was primarily the result of the federal corporate rate reduction enacted with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
(Clearwater Paper Corporation)

Newsgrafik #120813
 13.08.2018

When the intelligent packaging knows when the next tablet needs to be taken   (Company news)

Faller’s Smart Packaging Solution “Medical Prescription”

Intelligent, interactive pharmaceutical packaging with integrated electronics can improve compliance and help patients handle their medication intake more easily. With the Smart Packaging prototype “Medical Prescription”, Faller has developed a digitised folding carton which supports patient compliance with regard to medication intake. The innovative packaging solution, which includes a small e-paper display and electronic controls (buttons), counts down the tablets, reminds the patient of the correct time to take them and alerts the patient when it is time to order a new prescription. The special trick: With the help of an app developed in-house and via Bluetooth, doctors or pharmacists can transfer the individual dosage instructions onto the folding carton.

The multifunctional Smart Packaging prototype “Medical Prescription” promises special support when taking medication: The doctor or pharmacist transfers the personalised dosage instructions including what time the medication should be taken, the number of tablets to be taken and the duration of the medication in days to the digitalised folding carton by pressing a button via his/her smartphone, laptop or PC.

When the patient opens the pharmaceutical packaging for the first time, or
presses one of the operating buttons on the front, the display shows a
greeting. It also offers the patient the possibility to count the tablets or to find out about the correct dosage instructions. The patient navigates
through the menu using the operating buttons. An integrated clock, an LED
and a tone signal remind patients to take their medication promptly.

If the number of tablets drops below a certain level, the display also shows a warning and recommends the patient to order a new prescription. If the packaging was not correctly closed, patients are also informed.

The intelligent folding carton is created by a particularly flat electronics system with e-paper display, microcontroller, battery and
Bluetooth/wireless interface.

Three digitalised packaging solutions
The smart folding carton in the “Medical Prescription” design is one of a
total of three innovative, digitalised packaging prototypes that Faller has
developed together with MSC Technologies from Freiburg and Pforzheim
College. The three prototypes are the initial ideas that give an impression
of what’s possible. Naturally Faller is also developing individual solutions together with its clients that are exactly customised to con
crete applications. The prototype “Counting Device” is able to count the number of tablets and the folding carton solution “Level Indicator” calculates the liquid level in a bottle with liquid medication. Both solutions have an e-paper display as well as operating buttons and remind the patient to apply for a new prescription.

With the development of the prototypes for digitalised folding cartons,
Faller is reacting to the growing interest in interactive packaging solutions and the increased digitalisation on the e-health market.
(August Faller GmbH & Co. KG)

Newsgrafik #120814
 13.08.2018

Canfor Reports Results for Second Quarter of 2018   (Company news)

Canfor Corporation (TSX: CFP) reported second quarter 2018 results:

Highlights
-Record adjusted operating income of $334 million driven by historically high lumber prices and record-high pulp and paper earnings; record-high quarterly sales of $1.46 billion
-Adjusted net income of $214 million, or $1.66 per share
-Net cash of $174 million, or 7.9% net cash to total capitalization, at June 30, 2018

Financial Results
The Company reported operating income of $282.1 million for the second quarter of 2018, up $78.3 million from reported operating income of $203.8 million for the first quarter of 2018, with the increase reflecting significantly higher lumber segment operating earnings and record-high pulp and paper segment operating earnings. Reported results for the second quarter of 2018 included a net duty expense of $51.7 million, at a current effective countervailing duty ("CVD") and anti-dumping duty ("ADD") rate of 14.94%, compared to $34.9 million in the first quarter of 2018 and $35.6 million in the second quarter of 2017. After adjusting for duties, operating income was $333.8 million for the second quarter of 2018, up $95.1 million from similarly adjusted operating income in the first quarter of 2018.

Adjusted lumber segment earnings largely reflected record Western Spruce/Pine/Fir ("Western SPF") and Southern Yellow Pine ("SYP") benchmark lumber prices, a 2 cent, or 2% weaker Canadian dollar and increased shipment and production volumes following the significant weather-related transportation and operational challenges experienced in the first quarter of 2018. These factors more than outweighed the impact of moderately higher unit log costs in Western Canada as a result of increased market-based stumpage and upward pressure on purchased wood costs, as well as higher duties linked to improved shipments and sales realizations in the current quarter. Pulp and paper segment earnings largely reflected favourable Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft ("NBSK") pulp unit sales realizations, increased shipments following the aforementioned transportation challenges, and to a lesser extent improved NBSK pulp mill productivity, which more than offset the impact of scheduled maintenance outages and market-related fibre cost increases in the quarter.

North American lumber demand was solid across all segments of the market in the second quarter of 2018. US housing starts averaged 1,262,000 units on a seasonally adjusted basis, down 4% from the previous quarter and up 8% from the second quarter of 2017. Single-family starts, which consume a higher proportion of lumber, were up 1% from the previous quarter, while multi-family starts were down 16% compared to the first quarter of 2018. Canadian housing construction activity remained solid in the current quarter, at an average of 219,000 units on a seasonally adjusted basis. Offshore lumber demand from China, Japan and other regions was stable through the second quarter, particularly for the Company's increasing percentage of higher-value lumber products.

The average benchmark North American Random Lengths Western SPF 2x4 #2&Btr price was US$598 per Mfbm, up US$85 per Mfbm, or 17%, compared to the first quarter of 2018, with more modest price increases seen across wider-width dimensions. The average benchmark North American Random Lengths SYP East 2x4 #2 price was US$589 per Mfbm, up US$23 per Mfbm, or 4%, compared to the first quarter of 2018, with more pronounced price increases in 2x6 and 2x10 #2 dimensions, in part reflecting seasonally higher demand. Solid demand coupled with supply constraints contributed to a sharp increase in benchmark lumber prices in April and May, before prices came off their record-high levels through June as transportation availability slowly improved. Offshore lumber realizations saw more modest increases when compared to North America, due in part to the nature of pricing, much of which is negotiated monthly or quarterly in advance.

Total lumber production, at 1.31 billion board feet, was moderately higher than the prior quarter reflecting productivity gains in Western Canada following the extreme winter weather experienced in the first quarter of 2018, as well as the benefit of recent capital expenditures and fewer statutory holidays in the current quarter. Total lumber shipments, at 1.35 billion board feet, were up 13% from the previous quarter aided by solid demand and the drawdown of finished inventory as transportation networks slowly improved. Unit manufacturing costs in the second quarter of 2018 were slightly higher than the previous quarter as the per unit impact of gains in productivity and the benefit of stable log costs in the US South largely offset market-based stumpage increases and higher purchased wood costs in Western Canada.

Global softwood pulp markets remained strong through the second quarter of 2018, with near-record high US-dollar NBSK pulp list prices to China reflecting tighter supply during the traditional spring maintenance period as well as healthy global demand. Average NBSK pulp unit sales realizations were moderately higher than the previous quarter reflecting the weaker Canadian dollar combined with rising US-dollar NBSK pulp list pricing in other regions, particularly North America. Average Bleached Chemi-Thermo Mechanical Pulp ("BCTMP") unit sales realizations showed a moderate decrease quarter-over-quarter, with lower US-dollar pricing more than offsetting the weaker Canadian dollar.

Pulp shipments were up 6% from the previous quarter, reflecting strong market demand and an unwinding of inventory resulting from the transportation challenges in the previous quarter. Pulp production was down 5% from the previous quarter following scheduled maintenance outages at CPPI's Prince George NBSK pulp mill, as well as at its Taylor BCTMP mill, which reduced NBSK pulp production by approximately 4,000 tonnes and BCTMP production by approximately 17,000 tonnes, offset in part by improved productivity at CPPI's NBSK pulp mills. The scheduled maintenance outage at the Prince George pulp mill was completed ahead of schedule. The Taylor BCTMP mill's reduced production included extended downtime in connection with the commissioning of its previously announced energy project, which is now achieving anticipated operating rates. Pulp unit manufacturing costs were moderately higher than the previous quarter, with seasonally lower energy prices and usage partly offsetting market-driven increases in fibre costs and higher unit costs associated with the aforementioned scheduled outages.

Commenting on the Company's second quarter results, Canfor's President and Chief Executive Officer, Don Kayne, said, "Our lumber and pulp businesses continued to generate strong financial results reflecting both the strength of the lumber and pulp markets and a return to more normal operating conditions in the second quarter. Our solid operational performance enabled us to capitalize on these favourable market fundamentals, and set new record-high operating earnings."

Looking ahead, the US housing market is forecast to continue its ongoing gradual recovery through the balance of 2018. North American lumber prices are projected to remain solid, and high by historical standards, in the third quarter of 2018 reflecting solid seasonal demand, while transportation networks are anticipated to continue their slow return toward normal service levels through the quarter. For the Company's key offshore lumber markets, demand is anticipated to remain solid through the third quarter of 2018, particularly in Japan.

Notwithstanding some seasonal weakness in China during the traditionally slower summer months, global softwood kraft pulp markets are projected to be balanced through the third quarter of 2018. For the months of July and August 2018, CPPI announced NBSK pulp list price increases in North America of US$40 per tonne and US$30 per tonne, respectively. Results in the third quarter of 2018 will include a scheduled maintenance outage at Northwood, CPPI's largest NBSK pulp mill, with a projected 28,000 tonnes of reduced NBSK pulp production, combined with higher associated maintenance costs and lower projected shipment volume. Bleached kraft paper demand is anticipated to remain stable through the third quarter of 2018.
(Canfor Pulp Limited)

Newsgrafik #120841
 13.08.2018

Valmet to upgrade the Ahlstrom-Munksjö Billingsfors pulp mill in Sweden  (Company news)

Valmet has been chosen as a supplier by Ahlstrom-Munksjö for the upgrade of the recovery boiler and surrounding systems in the Billingsfors mill in Sweden. The main objective is to increase the capacity of the recovery boiler. The upgrade will also result in a better boiler availability and environmental performance.

The order was included in Valmet's second quarter 2018 orders received. The value of this kind of order is typically above EUR 10 million. The upgraded recovery boiler is planned to be started in the second half of 2019.

Valmet will bring major upgrades to the pulp mill's recovery boiler. The lower part will be replaced with a new pressure vessel based on the latest designs for Valmet's high-performing RECOX recovery boilers. New heating surfaces will be installed to increase the boiler's heat economy and enable a higher production of steam. Surrounding systems for combustion air, black liquor, smelt and green liquor will be upgraded.

Valmet has a very high focus on the management of health, safety and environment (HSE) and the delivery to Billingsfors also includes improvements that focus on worker safety and a better working environment in the boiler building.

"We are very happy and proud to have been chosen as supplier for this important upgrade and are really looking forward to working together with Billingsfors. We will bring the knowledge and technology of Valmet and will combine this with a solid partnership approach that brings the mill's performance forward," says Marcus Grundevik, Sales Manager at Valmet.

"We at Ahlstrom-Munksjö Billingsfors look forward to work with Valmet in the upgrade of our recovery boiler. This project is an important step for Billingsfors to meet the stricter environmental regulations through improved process combustion, reducing local air emissions. This investment is also key for improved efficiency in the mill including lower maintenance costs and higher pulp and insulation paper production," says Jonas Lindqvist, Plant Manager, Ahlstrom-Munksjö Paper AB Billingsfors.
(Valmet Corporation)

Newsgrafik #120793
 10.08.2018

Voith Paper wins contract with Copamex for a stock preparation system for their PM 5 conversion...  (Company news)

... in Anáhuac, Chihuahua, México

Copamex partners with Voith as the most experienced supplier to reliably process highly contaminated furnish

Voith Paper North America recently reached a deal with Copamex of Monterrey, México, for the installation of a BlueLine stock preparation system at their mill in Anáhuac, which is being converted to drive Copamex’s growth into the containerboard and packaging markets in México.

Previously, Copamex focused on printing and writing grade paper, but the new BlueLine stock preparation system from Voith is a key step in their expansion plans. The system will utilize a variety of raw material including Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) and mixed waste.

“By partnering with Voith, we’re working with the company that has the most knowledge in processing highly contaminated furnish, and this will assist us with successfully launching our growth in the containerboard and packaging markets in México,” said Alonso González, CEO, Copamex. “The Voith team consistently understands the needs of our projects and customizes our stock preparation systems accordingly.”

As the a full-line supplier, Voith and MERI Environmental Solutions (a Voith company) will be providing Copamex with all of the elements of the stock preparation system, including reliable material handling with automatic wire cutting, reject compactors, sludge handling, water clarification and effluent treatment. The project is also environmentally friendly as steps have been taken to limit energy and water consumption, as well as making waste management improvements.

When the new stock preparation system starts up in early 2019, the mill will output 260,000 metric tons of testliner and corrugated medium per year for use in containerboard production.

“Copamex is known for their quality, innovation and versatility. Earning their continued business speaks volumes about our relationship and our experience with this type of raw material,” said Michael Hmielewski, Vice President of Project Sales, Stock Preparation, Voith Paper North America. “When we worked together on other projects, we worked beside Copamex throughout every step of the process and we look forward to supporting them again as we all bring our expertise to this new facility in Anáhuac.”
(Voith Paper Inc.)

Newsgrafik #120795
 10.08.2018

Toscotec's TTSteelDryers are going to land in Canada - Cascades Packaging selected Toscotec ...   (Company news)

...to supply a dryer section rebuild at Kingsey Falls Mill

Cascades Packaging entrusted Toscotec with a major rebuild of the dryer section of PM1 at Kingsey Falls mill, Canada. In view of the challenging targets of the project, Cascades decided that Toscotec’s technology was the right match for this rebuild, thanks to the flexibility and high level of customization guaranteed by the Italian supplier with regards to the seamless integration between the existing equipment and the new tailor-made solution.

Toscotec’s rebuild will achieve an 8% production increase. The Italian supplier will accomplish this substantial upgrade without increasing the overall length of the dryer section and without increasing the actual width of the dryers’ frame in cross direction. Toscotec’s TTSteelDryer allows better performances in terms of specific evaporation rate, thanks to its reduced shell thickness. Due to its shorter taper length, TT SteelDryer dries a wider sheet with the same space requirements of a traditional dryer section.

The scope of supply includes a number of TTSteelDryers, specifically designed for an operating steam pressure of 14 barg, as well as doctors, wire tensioning system, guiding and sheet stabilizing components. Toscotec’s service specialists will also provide supervision, commissioning and start-up assistance.

With this new contract, Toscotec strengthens its reputation as a top P&B machinery supplier on technically demanding markets such as North America. In particular, through its proven ability to supply all-round tailor-made solutions based on the specific features of the existing equipment and to deliver significant upgrades, over the years Toscotec gained the trust of major papermaking producers across the globe.

Delivery is forecast within the end of August 2018.
(Toscotec S.p.A.)

Newsgrafik #120796
 10.08.2018

WestRock Reports Strong Growth In Fiscal 2018 Third Quarter Results - Net Sales Increased 12%...  (Company news)

...and Segment EBITDA Increased 30%


WestRock Company
(NYSE:WRK), a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, announced results for its fiscal third quarter ended June 30, 2018.

Third Quarter 2018 Highlights
-Earned $1.03 per diluted share, a 20% decrease compared to $1.29 per diluted share in the prior year quarter. The prior year earnings per diluted share included a $191 million, or $0.75 per diluted share, gain on the sale of the company’s former Home Health & Beauty business (“HH&B”).
-Earned $1.09 of adjusted earnings per diluted share, a 47% increase over the $0.74 earned in the prior year quarter. Adjusted earnings per diluted share excludes the aforementioned gain on sale of HH&B.
-Increased net sales by $442 million, or 12%, and Segment EBITDA by $177 million, or 30%, compared to the prior year quarter.
-Increased Corrugated Packaging Segment EBITDA by $111 million, or 30%, compared to the prior year quarter. The segment delivered a Segment EBITDA margin of 21.2% and a North American Adjusted Segment EBITDA margin of 23.0%, up 390 and 420 basis points, respectively, compared to the prior year quarter.
-Increased Consumer Packaging segment net sales by $324 million, or 21%, and Segment EBITDA by $55 million, or 26%, compared to the prior year quarter.
-Achieved the $1 billion synergy and performance improvements goal the company set at the inception of WestRock.
-The effective tax rate for the quarter was 23.7% and the adjusted tax rate was 22.5%.
-Continued integration planning for the acquisition of KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation (“KapStone”), which is expected to close by the end of the calendar year, subject to obtaining antitrust clearance in the United States, KapStone stockholder approval and customary closing conditions.

“Our WestRock team delivered significant margin and cash flow improvement in the third fiscal quarter, evidence that our strategy, operational performance, and productivity efforts are delivering value for our stockholders,” said Steve Voorhees (photo), chief executive officer. “With our productivity performance in the quarter, we achieved our goal of a run rate of more than $1 billion of synergy and performance improvements. We are on track to achieve our financial goals for the year and are well positioned to build on our success in fiscal 2019.”

Consolidated Financial Results
WestRock’s performance for the three months ended June 30, 2018 and June 30, 2017 (in millions):
The $442 million increase in net sales compared to the prior year quarter was primarily attributable to $129 million of increased Corrugated Packaging segment sales driven principally by higher selling price/mix and $324 million of increased Consumer Packaging segment sales, primarily due to the contribution from the Multi Packaging Solutions International Limited (“MPS”) acquisition.

The $135 million increase in segment income was primarily due to $90 million of increased Corrugated Packaging segment income and $36 million of increased Consumer Packaging segment income. Consumer Packaging’s segment income in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 was reduced by $13 million as a result of an acquisition inventory step-up charge related to the MPS acquisition. Adjusted Segment EBITDA increased 27% compared to the prior year quarter.

Restructuring and Other Items
Restructuring and other items during the third quarter of fiscal 2018 included the following pre-tax costs:
-$7 million of restructuring costs, primarily associated with the consolidation of operations
-$7 million of integration costs
-$3 million of acquisition costs, principally related to the planned KapStone acquisition

Cash Provided By Operating, Financing and Investing Activities
Net cash provided by operating activities was $772 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2018 compared to $589 million in the prior year quarter, primarily due to higher cash earnings and a decreased use of working capital. Total debt was $6.5 billion at June 30, 2018. Consistent with WestRock’s disciplined capital allocation strategy, during the third quarter WestRock invested $239 million in capital expenditures, paid $110 million in dividends and returned $101 million to stockholders in stock repurchases.

Segment Results
Corrugated Packaging Segment
Operating Highlights for the Three Months Ended June 30, 2018 compared to June 30, 2017:
-The Corrugated Packaging segment delivered a Segment EBITDA margin of 21.2% and a North American Adjusted Segment EBITDA margin of 23.0%, up 390 and 420 basis points, respectively.
-Brazil Adjusted Segment EBITDA margin was 28.3%, up 320 basis points.
-Segment sales increased $129 million, primarily due to an estimated $176 million of higher corrugated selling price/mix that was partially offset by $34 million of lower recycling sales that were driven by lower recovered fiber prices.
-Segment income increased $90 million, or 40%, as higher corrugated selling price/mix and productivity improvements were partially offset by cost inflation and other items, including $21 million of higher depreciation and amortization and an estimated $11 million impact of start-up issues following a major maintenance outage.
-North American box shipments increased 4.1% on a per day basis, including the impact of acquisitions.

Consumer Packaging Segment
Operating Highlights for the Three Months Ended June 30, 2018 compared to June 30, 2017:
-Segment sales increased $324 million, primarily due to a $290 million increase from acquisitions (principally the MPS acquisition).
-Segment income increased $36 million, or 37%, primarily due to income from acquisitions, productivity improvements, and higher volume and selling price/mix, which were partially offset by cost inflation. Consumer Packaging’s segment income in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 was reduced by $13 million as a result of an acquisition inventory step-up charge related to the MPS acquisition.
-Shipments of paperboard and converted products increased 6.9%, including 3.5% from organic growth.

Land and Development Segment
WestRock expects to be substantially complete with the monetization strategy of its portfolio by the end of calendar 2018. We have excluded the results of the Land and Development segment from adjusted earnings per diluted share.
(WestRock Companies)

Newsgrafik #120799
 10.08.2018

CGS enhances ORIS Professional Media portfolio - Advanced OBA proofing paper offers ...  (Company news)

...outstanding benefits

CGS Publishing Technologies International has updated its ORIS Professional Media portfolio with ORIS PearlPROOF Universal NEW. The advanced OBA proofing paper exhibits strong and outstanding benefits.

The great advantage of ORIS PearlPROOF Universal NEW is that it meets the requirements of Fogra 51 (PSOcoated v3) and, with a paper simulation, also those of FOGRA 39 (ISOcoated v2). It is therefore possible to reproduce ISO standards within very tight tolerances. The new paper is also compatible with the GRACol standard. As a result, fewer paper roll changes are necessary, which leads to an increase in productivity.

But there is even more. ORIS PearlPROOF Universal NEW has an extra coating layer, which allows for shorter ink drying times, particularly with the Epson SC-P printer series, increased lightfastness and a considerably reduced paper aging rate. ORIS PearlPROOF Universal NEW offers a maximum of flexibility and quality at a very attractive price.

CGS has created the ORIS Professional Media family of contract proofing media based on detailed feedback from major publishers, printers and industry-standard organizations especially for the stringent needs of digital proofing. Because no inkjet proofing system is complete – nor can it provide contract-proof quality – without the right media. ORIS Professional Media have an exclusive ultra-fine-grain nanoporous coating and provide twice the surface area of common microporous papers, thus allowing for higher ink densities, uniform ink absorption, better shadow detail, larger color gamut and faster drying.
(CGS Publishing Technologies International)

Newsgrafik #120803
 10.08.2018

Koenig & Bauer rotary die-cutter scoops supplier award in the category Innovation  (Company news)

-Honour by one of the big users
-Extremely high die-cutting speeds of up to 15,000 sheets/h
-Shortest makeready times for economical die-cutting of short runs

Photo l-r: Mario Gerber, senior sales manager postpress, Johannes Naumann, head of engineering, and Ralf Sammeck, CEO KBA-Sheetfed, are pleased with their award for the Rapida RDC 106 from Edelmann Group

On 19 June, the Edelmann Group, one of the leading German packaging manufacturers and system suppliers with locations in Europe, Asia and North and South America, presented its first Supplier Awards. One prize was awarded each in the categories innovation, logistics and cooperation. Koenig & Bauer received the Supplier Award in the category innovation for the Rapida RDC 106 rotary die-cutter, which has been in operation at Edelmann’s Heidenheim site since mid-2017. With this award, the company honoured ground-breaking postpress technology that makes the die cutting process faster and more economical, and at the same time calls for a rethink in the process workflows.

Ralf Sammeck, CEO of KBA-Sheetfed Solutions and Koenig & Bauer board member, is delighted: “We are extremely honoured to receive such an award from one of our major users. The award shows that we meet the expectations of the market and act in a customer-orientated manner.”

Edelmann operates a Rapida RDC 106 with two die-cutting units for cutting and creasing as well as an additional stripping unit. Compared to flatbed die-cutters, it is characterized by extremely high die-cutting speeds of up to 15,000 sheets per hour. Last year a Rapida RDC 106 broke the world record for die-cutting self-adhesive labels at 17,000sph. In addition, extremely short makeready times ensure significantly higher performance and productivity. The Rapida RDC 106 is economical for both long and short runs.

In addition to rotary die cutters, Koenig & Bauer also offers Optima flatbed die cutters in medium format and the Ipress in medium and large formats. The company has thus evolved from a classic manufacturer of printing presses to a systems provider in the postpress sector.
(KBA-Sheetfed Solutions AG & Co. KG)

Newsgrafik #120821
 10.08.2018

Valmet to supply an Advantage tissue production line to CMPC Tissue in Argentina  (Company news)

Valmet has been chosen as the supplier of a complete tissue production line by CMPC Tissue S.A. The tissue line will be installed at CMPC's Zarate mill in Argentina.

The new production line is planned to be started up in the fourth quarter of 2019, and it will add over 50,000 tons of high quality toilet and towel grades to the company's annual production. Valmet has previously delivered a Valmet Advantage DCT200 tissue line to the Talagante mill in Chile, a tissue machine to Altamira in Mexico and an Advantage ViscoNip rebuild to CMPC's Caieiras mill in Brazil.

The value of the order will not be disclosed. The order was included in Valmet's second quarter 2018 orders received.

"Our experience of running the Advantage DCT concept has been very good in terms of energy efficiency, production capacity and tissue quality. We are convinced that the new tissue line will support our market leading position in Argentina," says Pedro Muzzio Castelletto, Corporate Development Manager, Industrial & Supply Chain, CMPC Tissue.

"The Latin American tissue market is growing both in respect of capacity and quality. Valmet has the tissue making technologies to meet current and future demands of the market," says Johan Björn, Sales Director, Valmet. "We are very pleased that CMPC chose us as their supplier and selected Valmet's Advantage tissue technology to increase their current production in means of quality and capacity."

Technical information about the delivery
Valmet's delivery will comprise of a complete Advantage DCT200 tissue production line with stock preparation equipment and tissue machine including the most advanced technology options focused on a superior consistent quality, an energy and water efficient operation and cost competitive manufacturing setup. The scope will also include control systems, electrification, mill engineering as well as installation. The production line will be optimized to enhance final product quality and reduce energy consumption. The raw material for the new line will be virgin and DIP pulp.
(Valmet Corporation)

Newsgrafik #120784
 09.08.2018

Codimag Celebrates 40 Years in Business and 20 Years Partnering with Toray to Bring ...  (Company news)

...Waterless Offset Printing to Narrow Web Printers

Toray Graphics in the Czech Republic, a leading manufacturer of waterless offset plate technology, congratulated Codimag on celebrating its 40th year in business, manufacturing a range of offset and letterpress presses for the narrow web market. Headquartered in France, the company has partnered with Toray for the past two decades, one of the first offset press manufacturers to adopt waterless offset printing technology. The company currently has an installed base of more than 400 presses worldwide. Codimag has installed more than 200 narrow web waterless offset presses to date, according to Benoît Demol, the CEO of this family-owned business.

Photo: Viva 340 press

“When we first started working with Toray,” Demol explains, “introducing waterless offset printing to the narrow web market was truly an innovation. In 2007, we introduced our Aniflo technology, an anilox solution that creates the most competitive narrow web press for short to medium – and even longer – runs, another important innovation for this market.”

Demol, who has been the company’s CEO for the past three years, is a tireless supporter of waterless offset technology. “The key benefit of waterless offset printing is its quality,” he says. “We wanted to avoid the instability and waste associated with the ink/water balance in wet offset. As run lengths in the narrow web market have continued to become shorter, we are now seeing true results of the strategic choice we made in the late 1990s to partner with Toray to bring waterless offset printing to our customers. Our latest presses are completely designed for waterless offset printing, and we are selling only Aniflo presses these days. The technology takes time and waste out of the printing process, making it the ideal choice for today’s shorter runs, cost considerations and high-quality expectations.”

Codimag is particularly pleased with the advances Toray has brought to the market with its IMPRIMA family of waterless offset printing plates, especially IMPRIMA MC, a digital thermal non-ablative waterless printing plate especially designed for waterless printers who are looking for a water washable plate for short-run applications. He continues: “We think all the innovations we have brought to this market over the years, including our new Viva 340 press introduced during Labelexpo Europe 2017 in Brussels, deliver the best printing quality for our market. When people hear ‘short run,’ they immediately think of digital printing. While inkjet quality has improved considerably, it still cannot deliver the same level of quality and productivity delivered by waterless offset printing. And while flexography has dominated, it is simply cost prohibitive for shorter runs, largely because the cost of flexographic plates is so high. The only process with the quality and productivity demanded by today’s market is waterless offset. Wet offset has issues with ink/water balance, and we have chosen to avoid these by promoting waterless offset technology.”

Another factor that can negatively impact the quality, cost and productivity of wet offset, according to Demol, is the use of chemistry in platemaking. “Waterless offset has fewer variables,” he says. “Plates are faster to make and more environmentally sustainable. Not only do we not use chemistry in the platemaking process, but we also avoid the issues that are caused when chemistry is not properly maintained, which can result in poor printing quality and excessive waste. We have chosen to avoid chemistry in order to avoid these issues at their roots, and that is why I am so happy working with Toray and its IMPRIMA plates.”

In 2017, Codimag attended Labelexpo Shanghai for the first time. “Our demonstrations there really caught the interest of attendees,” Demol explains. “We had attendees bring us their own files, and we were able to print them in less than 30 minutes, with the entire process unfolding before their eyes – prepress, plate imaging, mounting plates on press, and less than five minutes to get to a production speed of 75 meters per minute. It’s helping us gain traction in China, where we already have three presses installed and a fourth coming soon to Beijing Sunrise, a company that won the L9 World Label Award last year.”

Codimag presses can be found in Australia, South Africa, China, Thailand, Korea and Latin America, although the bulk of the installs are in Central Europe. “We see great expansion opportunity in Eastern Europe,” Demol states. “Companies in these countries often have older presses, but they now have the money to invest in new technology, and they are very interested in investing in disruptive technology, such as Aniflo for waterless offset. We also have several presses installed in Latin America, another geography that is very interesting for us. Especially in these smaller markets, we see more companies interested in finding a way to produce labels more economically with higher quality and in-line finishing, which we can help them do. And, of course, the Chinese market is very interesting to us, and we see lots of opportunity to expand there as well.”

A good deal of Codimag’s success can be attributed to the relationship with Toray, according to Demol. “I am really happy with the direction Toray is going with its IMPRIMA line of plates,” he says. “They truly listen to our common customers, and that feedback drives a lot of their development strategy. And sometimes Toray refers us to customers who are not in the narrow web market but want to enter it and are great fans of waterless offset. It’s truly a symbiotic relationship that brings value to our respect companies, and, importantly, our customers.”

In addition, Demol appreciates Toray’s efforts to educate the market on the value of waterless offset. “There is still bad information out there about waterless offset printing,” he reports. “This is left over from many years ago, and we really need a strong effort to educate the market on the benefits of today’s waterless offset printing. We have very few press issues with waterless offset. You have to consider that, while we are a small company, two of the world’s largest offset press manufacturers also use waterless offset. If it didn’t work as advertised, they certainly wouldn’t be using it!”

Demol is also looking forward to visiting Toray’s new R&D Centre in the Czech Republic. “It will help us deliver even better customer support,” he says, “and provide a direct channel into the Toray R&D process for customer feedback. Access to these resources will help us put into the mind of customers that waterless offset printing is a brilliant technology with so many advantages, and world-class support. We truly believe it is the future of offset printing.
(Codimag)

Newsgrafik #120785
 09.08.2018

BURGO GROUP ANNOUNCES THE START OF VERZUOLO PM9 RECONVERSION PLAN, ...   (Company news)

...WHICH WILL FOCUS ON THE PRODUCTION OF CONTAINER BOARD

-NEW PRODUCTION IS EXPECTED TO START BY Q4 2019
-THE GROUP CONTINUES ITS DIVERSIFICATION STRATEGY, RANGING FROM PUBLISHING TO PACKAGING

Photo: Verzuolo mill

Burgo Group S.p.A., one of the leading European producers of graphic and specialty papers, announces the start of the reconversion plan of PM9 at Verzuolo mill (Italy), from coated mechanical papers to container board.

Approximately three months after the start-up of Avezzano mill, Burgo Group is keeping the focus on containerboard (RCCM) and continues its diversification strategy, ranging from publishing to packaging, from printing paper to paper for corrugators.

The new production is expected to start by 4Q 2019 and the converted PM9 will have a full operating production capacity of 600,000 tons/yr of corrugating medium and testliner made of paper for Recycling (PfR) and designed for corrugated board. Coated mechanical paper clients will continue to be served throughout 2019.

Burgo Group continues with the implementation of its strategic plan, which also includes production options to preserve its role as an important player in coated mechanical paper market.
(Burgo Group spa)

Newsgrafik #120787
 09.08.2018

KapStone Reports Second Quarter Results  (Company news)

KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation (NYSE:KS) reported results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2018. As compared to 2017's second quarter, results for 2018's second quarter are below:
-Net sales of $913 million up $90 million, or 11 percent
-Net income of $53 million up $33 million, or 169 percent
-Diluted EPS of $0.53 up $0.33 per share, or 165 percent

Non U.S. GAAP financial measures for the 2018 second quarter compared to 2017 are as follows:
-Adjusted EBITDA of $138 million up $38 million, or 38 percent
-Adjusted net income of $58 million up $31 million, or 114 percent
-Adjusted diluted EPS of $0.58 up $0.31 per share, or 115 percent

Matt Kaplan, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Our second quarter results reflect continued higher prices, good demand and strong operating performance. We announced a $50 per ton kraft paper price increase effective with shipments in May as well as a $40 per ton price increase for Kraftpak® effective with shipments in early August 2018. In addition, we completed our annual planned maintenance outage at the Roanoke Rapids mill ahead of schedule.

"Victory Packaging, our distribution business, had a seasonally strong second quarter and is expecting a strong second half of the year.

"We continue to work on the merger with WestRock."

Second Quarter Operating Highlights
Consolidated net sales of $913 million in the second quarter of 2018 increased by $90 million, or 11 percent, compared to $823 million for the 2017 second quarter. The increase in net sales is primarily due to higher prices and higher sales volume. The Company sold 743,000 tons of paper during the second quarter of 2018 compared to 699,000 tons a year earlier. The Company's average mill selling price of $736 per ton in the second quarter of 2018 increased by $75 per ton, or about 11 percent, compared to the second quarter of 2017 due to higher prices for most products and a favorable product mix. Mill selling prices increased by $17 per ton, or 2 percent, compared to the first quarter of 2018.

Net income of $53 million for the 2018 second quarter increased by $33 million, or 169 percent, compared to the 2017 second quarter. The higher earnings primarily reflects:
-Higher selling prices and a better product mix of $58 million;
-$7 million of additional margin mainly due to higher mill production;
-Lower recycled fiber costs of $11 million; and
-A lower effective income tax rate resulting from the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December 2017.

The above items were partially offset by:
-Merger expenses of $2 million;
-$3 million of higher planned maintenance costs, mainly at Roanoke Rapids and Charleston;
-Inflation of $18 million driven by higher virgin fiber, freight and compensation costs;
-$11 million of higher management incentives due to higher earnings; and
-An increase in interest charges of $3 million due to higher interest rates.

Cash Flow and Working Capital
Cash and cash equivalents of $9 million as of June 30, 2018, declined by $10 million from March 31, 2018. Operating activities provided $28 million during the second quarter. Investing activities used $41 million and financing activities provided $4 million of cash in the current quarter, reflecting $13 million of higher borrowings, partially offset by a $10 million quarterly dividend payment.

On June 14, 2018, our Board of Directors approved a regular $0.10 per share cash dividend which was paid on July 11th.

At June 30, 2018, the Company had approximately $495 million of working capital and $458 million of revolver borrowing capacity. The Company's net debt to EBITDA ratio as defined by our credit agreement decreased to 2.78 times at June 30, 2018, down from 4.17 a year ago.
(KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation)

Newsgrafik #120789
 09.08.2018

FachPack: Schumacher Packaging is expanding its paper-based CargoProfil product series  (Company news)

Low weight and minimised risk of injury improve logistics

The Schumacher Packaging Group, one of the largest family-run manufacturers of packaging solutions made from corrugated and solid board (www.schumacher-packaging.com), is presenting its range of paper-based CargoProfil products for logistics in returnable and non-returnable systems at this year's FachPack packaging trade fair in Nuremberg (25th–27th September 2018, Hall 4, Stand 4-301). The innovative CargoProfil material is a hollow paper profile made from wrapped corrugated raw paper that has been obtained from side runs of paper. Schumacher Packaging uses CargoProfil to manufacture transport pallets and cover frames that have the lightweight quality of paper, yet are just as resilient and stable as conventional wooden pallets and top covers. This revolutionary paper material can be disposed of quite easily along with waste paper and is completely recyclable. This means it is far more environmentally friendly and resource-sparing than conventional solutions made from wood. The CargoProfil product range currently includes the "CargoPropal" pallets as well as the "CargoProtop" cover frames and cover panels.

CargoPropal sets new standards
One of the greatest advantages of the CargoPropal pallets is their light weight: While a conventional Euro pallet weighs 28 kg, the paper-based pallet weighs around only 7 kg. Logistics workers will also benefit from this reduction in weight, since the pallets are considerably easier to handle. In addition, the smooth surfaces and shock-absorbing edges minimise the risk of injury. Nevertheless, the stability of the paper-based pallet is in no way inferior to that of a conventional wooden pallet. Furthermore, CargoPropal is ideal for use in the food industry, since the paper material easily complies with hygiene regulations: In contrast to wood, the paper profile requires no pretreatment against pests and is therefore completely safe in terms of hygiene. The basic structure of the CargoPropal transport pallet consists of wrapped paper profiles that are stabilised with affixed corrugated board blocks in the Schumacher S-wave. Its shape and recesses for forklift transport allow CargoPropal to be handled and loaded just like any conventional Euro pallet, even with automatic transport systems. The innovative pallet is available in the standard size of 1200 x 800 mm.

Minimised risk of injury thanks to CargoProtop
At FachPack, Schumacher Packaging will also showcase their paper-based CargoProtop products, which can be used to stably and securely fix loads to a transport pallet. CargoProtop is available as either a cover panel or a cover frame. In comparison to the conventional chipboard panel, the paper-based solution has three key advantages: It is lighter, more stable and more robust. Thanks to its round edges, low weight and splinter-proof material, CargoProtop enables problem-free handling and optimum securing of goods. The risk of injury when handling, palletising and strapping down goods is reduced, while its low weight also safeguards the health and well-being of workers. In addition, the products have a significant advantage from a hygienic perspective, since neither splinters nor dirt particles can accrue when goods are being secured. The CargoProtop cover panels and frames are supplied by Schumacher Packaging in the standard size of 1200 x 800 mm.

Digital printing ready for series production – in high-gloss quality
The CargoProfil pallets and the CargoProtop cover frames can be supplied with a custom colour print image upon request. To achieve this, Schumacher Packaging prints a corrugated board sheet using the innovative digital printing procedure and affixes it to the hollow paper profile. This corrugated board sheet can be marked with colour company logos or barcodes, for example. Schumacher Packaging currently operates a digital printing machine from Durst in its main factory in Ebersdorf, Germany. This machine for mass volume digital printing, jointly tested in production and further developed by partners Durst and Schumacher Packaging, became ready for series production in the summer of 2018. This new digital printing machine is able to split large industrial batches of packaging with identical structures into any number of sub-series, from one sheet to several thousand. This makes it possible for the print to differ from sheet to sheet, with different printed images, versions or barcodes. All this is possible immediately and without setup costs. This makes it possible to categorise and customise packaging according to individual requirements, regardless of whether this is specific to regions, seasons, campaigns or customers. Thanks to special inks from Durst, Schumacher Packaging is also the only manufacturer to provide a digital printing service for packaging in high-gloss quality.
(Schumacher Packaging GmbH)

Newsgrafik #120790
 09.08.2018

Mercer International Inc. Reports Strong 2018 Second Quarter Results and Announces ...  (Company news)

...Quarterly Cash Dividend of $0.125

Selected Highlights
-Major Annual Maintenance totaling 37 days (55,400 ADMTs) completed at Celgar and Stendal mills
-Strong pulp and lumber price realizations in the quarter
-Second Quarter Net Income of $16.8 million ($0.26 per share) and Operating EBITDA* of $60.5 million.

Mercer International Inc. (NASDAQ:MERC) reported strong results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2018 due to higher pulp and lumber sales realizations. Operating EBITDA in the current quarter was $60.5 million compared to $39.5 million in the second quarter of 2017 and $99.4 million in the first quarter of 2018.For the second quarter of 2018, net income was $16.8 million, or $0.26 per share, compared to a net loss of $2.1 million, or $0.03 per share, for the second quarter of 2017 and $25.6 million, or $0.39 per share, in the prior quarter of 2018.

Mr. David M. Gandossi, the Chief Executive Officer, stated: "We are pleased with our performance and results for the second quarter of 2018 as:This was a significant maintenance quarter for us. We had an aggregate of 37 days (55,400 ADMTs) of downtime at our Celgar and Stendal mills. We estimate that such downtime adversely affected our operating income by approximately $59.1 million comprised of $36.6 million in direct out-of-pocket costs and the balance in reduced production. Many of our competitors that report their financial results using International Financial Reporting Standards capitalize their direct costs of maintenance downtime; and even with such maintenance, strong pulp and lumber sales realizations permitted us to generate Operating EBITDA of $60.5 million in the current quarter."

He continued: "In the second quarter of 2018, pulp prices in Europe and North America increased and pulp prices in China were generally flat compared to the prior quarter of 2018. In the second quarter of 2018, European and U.S. lumber markets continued to be strong with prices near multi-year highs.At the end of the current quarter, NBSK list prices in Europe, China and North America were approximately $1,230, $910 and $1,330 per ADMT, respectively.In the third quarter of 2018, we have 14 days of scheduled maintenance downtime (which will reduce production by approximately 14,800 ADMTs) at our Rosenthal mill and in the fourth quarter of 2018, we have three days of scheduled maintenance downtime (which will reduce production by approximately 5,700 ADMTs) at our Stendal mill.Currently, the NBSK pulp market is generally balanced with world producer inventories at about 28 days' supply. Looking forward, we believe the new pulp production capacity that has or is coming online will not materially adversely impact the market in the near term as a result of continued steady demand growth, producer downtime and continuing restrictions on the import of recovered or waste paper in China. We also expect lumber markets to moderately adjust from their multi-year highs in the near term."

Mr. Gandossi concluded: "In addition, it has been a year since we acquired the Friesau sawmill. In the last year we have ramped up our lumber business ahead of plan, we are realizing significant synergies between our solid wood and pulp businesses, and Friesau is generating substantial value for shareholders. I am also confident our upcoming targeted investments in Friesau will generate additional value for our shareholders.This quarter was highlighted by significant investments in our assets, which were focused on increasing our efficiency, productivity and lowering the risk of unplanned downtime. These investments are consistent with our long-term value creation strategy of leveraging our core competencies to deliver results for shareholders from world-class assets and building a platform for sustainable and profitable growth."Quarterly DividendA quarterly dividend of $0.125 per share will be paid on October 3, 2018 to all shareholders of record on September 26, 2018. Future dividends will be subject to Board approval and may be adjusted as business and industry conditions warrant.
(Mercer International Inc.)

Newsgrafik #120819
 09.08.2018

Pasaban supplies 2 new paper sheeters to Asia Symbol (Guangdong) in China  (Company news)

Asia Symbol Paper Company has once again entrusted Pasaban with the design and manufacture of 2 paper sheeting machines which will become a part of the paper converting equipment at one of its plants.

This is not the first time that Pasaban manufactures a folio sheeter for this factory located in the province of Guangdong, south-east of China. Therefore, for one of their latest projects (PM12), the factory has once again chosen Pasaban's technology and machinery.

The Guangdong factory belongs to the April group, one of the largest cellulose and paper manufacturers in the world. It has a cut-size conversion line for the production and sale of high-quality copy paper. In 2017, due to the purchase of a new paper machine capable of producing 1,700 tons of paper a day, they found it necessary to complete the equipment with the latest technology conversion machinery that ensured a high-quality finished product.

Pasaban's KB sheeters are the right solution for paper and cardboard factories.

For the design of the cutters for the Asia Symbol factory, the characteristics of the manufactured paper were considered; high-quality copy and offset paper of 50 to 150 gsm. The result, a solution tailored to their needs, 2 KB 2000 cutters with 8 unwinders capable of producing a speed of 320 m/min.

Once again Asia Symbol banks on Pasaban's paper converting equipment in order to continue offering a high-quality product that places them among the world's largest cellulose and paper producers.
(Pasaban S.A.)

Newsgrafik #120773
 08.08.2018

FIBRIA ENDS SECOND QUARTER WITH RECORD EBITDA AND CASH FLOW; ...  (Company news)

... LEVERAGE IN USD REACHES 1.58 TIMES, BACK TO THE SAME LEVEL OF 2015

-Record adjusted EBITDA of R$2.5 billion in 2Q18, up 133% from 2Q17;
-EBITDA margin of 58%, another record, excluding sales from the contract with Klabin;
-Free cash flow of R$1.7 billion, record for a quarter;
-Pulp sales volume totaled 1.768 million tons in the quarter, up 15% from 2Q17;
-Pulp production of 1.6 million tons, 20% higher than in the second quarter of last year;
-Net revenue of R$4.722 billion, 70% more than in 2Q17;
-Cash cost of R$668/ton, down 6% from 1Q18 and practically stable in relation to 2Q17;
-Learning curve of the second plant at Três Lagoas concluded successfully in May.

Fibria, a Brazilian company and the world’s leading producer of eucalyptus pulp derived from planted forests, has set new operational records in the second quarter of the year, with EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of R$2.5 billion and EBITDA margin of 58%, driven by higher pulp prices in Brazilian real, higher sales volume and better production costs, despite the impact caused by the truck drivers’ strike in May. The free cash flow of R$1.7 billion, excluding non-recurring investments and before dividend payments, was also a record for a single quarter.

These results, combined with solid financial health, enabled Fibria to return, in the second quarter of 2018, to the level of leverage it had before the start of the investment cycle relating to the construction of the second production line at Três Lagoas, Mato Grosso do Sul, with the ratio of net debt to EBITDA in U.S. dollar reaching 1.58 – the lowest since the third quarter of 2015, when investments in the expansion project were still incipient. The second quarter of 2018 also marked the successful conclusion of the learning curve at the new plant in Mato Grosso do Sul, within the nine months initially scheduled in the project.

“We have completed the cycle. We announced the expansion at Três Lagoas in May 2015 and, in August 2017, we started operating the new line – ahead of time and within the budget – while retaining the investment grade throughout the period. Now, in the second quarter of this year, we concluded the learning curve of the plant and returned, within just 10 months of its startup, to the level of leverage we had three years ago. All this shows the quality of the investment decision, the high degree of excellence in project execution and the structural competitiveness of the company. We have attained a high level of operational stability at the new production line, which translates into our capacity to achieve even better economic performance,” said Marcelo Castelli, CEO of Fibria.

In the pulp market, the second quarter of the year was marked by the continuation of positive fundamentals. Demand remained solid in key markets, contributing to the 11% growth in sales volume compared to 1Q18, driven by higher sales to Asia and North America. Compared to 2Q17, the 15% increase in sales volume was due to the operational startup of the second plant at Três Lagoas, backed by strong demand, especially in Asia. In the second quarter of 2018, Fibria’s sales volume reached 1.768 million tons.

On the supply side, apart from the wood availability problems in the initial months of the year, other unforeseen events continued to pressure inventories, notably the truck drivers’ strike in May, which restricted the production capacity of plants in the sector throughout Brazil, resulting in an estimated reduction of around 250,000 tons in hardwood pulp supply. In the second quarter, Fibria’s pulp production volume was 1.6 million tons, remaining stable in relation to the first quarter, mainly due to the impact of the truck drivers’ strike, which caused a decline of 67,000 tons in production.

Fibria’s cash cost of production in the second quarter came to R$668/ton, down 6% from the first quarter, mainly due to the lower impact of scheduled maintenance shutdowns and the better result from energy sales, the effects of which were partially neutralized by the truck drivers’ strike, whose impact was R$31/ton, and by the appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Brazilian real. Excluding the effects of scheduled plant shutdowns and the truck drivers’ strike, cash cost of production in the second quarter was R$598/ton, lower than in the previous quarter, already excluding scheduled shutdowns from that period, and also lower than the cash cost of production in the same quarter in 2017.

Since Fibria is an exporter and since around 60% of its debt is in U.S. dollar, any depreciation of the Brazilian real favors the Company’s financial condition by increasing its EBITDA and free cash flow. On the other hand, it also has a non-cash accounting effect, of mainly increasing the balance of debt in dollar when translated into Brazilian real. As a result of this effect, which does not arise during periods of currency stability, financial result was negative at R$2.239 billion in the second quarter, largely due to the 16% depreciation of the Brazilian real, which impacts debt and the hedge result. Due to the negative financial result, Fibria recorded an accounting net loss of R$210 million in the second quarter. In the first six months of the year, the company recorded net income of R$405 million.

“This quarter, we set records for EBITDA and free cash flow, while leverage in U.S. dollar reached 1.58 times. Fibria’s capacity to maintain the course of deleveraging is significant when we consider the contribution of new sales volumes from the second production line at Três Lagoas and considering that pulp prices and the exchange rate in the second half of last year were lower than they are now,” said Guilherme Cavalcanti, the Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer.
(Fibria Celulose S/A)

Newsgrafik #120774
 08.08.2018

International Paper Reports Second Quarter 2018 Earnings  (Company news)

International Paper (NYSE: IP) reported second quarter 2018 net earnings attributable to International Paper of $405 million ($0.97 per diluted share) compared with $729 million ($1.74 per diluted share) in the first quarter of 2018 and net earnings of $80 million ($0.19 per diluted share) in the second quarter of 2017. Net earnings in all periods include the impact of special items, if any, non-operating pension expense and discontinued operations.

Adjusted operating earnings in the second quarter of 2018 were $498 million ($1.19 per diluted share) compared with $395 million ($0.94 per diluted share) in the first quarter of 2018, and $274 million ($0.66 per diluted share) in the second quarter of 2017.

Net sales were $5.8 billion in the second quarter of 2018 compared with $5.6 billion in the first quarter of 2018 and $5.4 billion in the second quarter of 2017.

Business segment operating profits were $697 million in the second quarter of 2018 compared with $512 million in the first quarter of 2018 and $157 million in the second quarter of 2017.

Cash provided by (used for) operations was $801 million in the second quarter of 2018 and $645 million in the second quarter of 2017. Free cash flow (non-GAAP) was $361 million in the second quarter of 2018 and $355 million in the second quarter of 2017.

"International Paper delivered a very strong second quarter and year-over-year earnings growth," said Mark Sutton (photo), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We had outstanding commercial performance, with sequential volume growth and price realization across our three businesses. Operationally, our global team members performed well in a heavy maintenance outage quarter and continue to work aggressively to offset higher distribution and continuing input cost pressure. We see healthy demand across our global operations and are confident in our commitment to deliver a second consecutive year of strong earnings growth."

SEGMENT INFORMATION
The performance of the Company's business segments is measured quarter to quarter without variations caused by special items, as management focuses on business segment operating profits excluding those items (non-GAAP). Second quarter 2018 business segment operating profits and business trends compared with the prior quarter are as follows:

Industrial Packaging operating profits in the second quarter of 2018 were $537 million ($569 million excluding special items) compared with $437 million ($464 million excluding special items) in the first quarter of 2018. In North America, continued strong box and export containerboard demand and higher sales prices across all channels drove improved earnings. Input costs were favorable in the quarter driven by lower recovered fiber.

Global Cellulose Fibers operating profits in the second quarter of 2018 were $66 million ($69 million excluding special items) compared with $11 million ($15 million excluding special items) in the first quarter of 2018. Earnings were favorably impacted by continued price realization for fluff and commodity grades across all regions, lower planned maintenance outage expense and lower operating costs.

Printing Papers operating profits in the second quarter of 2018 were $94 million versus $64 million in the first quarter of 2018. In North America, improved earnings were driven by higher sales volume, continued price realization, better geographic mix, improved mill operations and lower input costs, which were partially offset by higher distribution and planned maintenance outage expense. In Brazil, earnings improved driven by price realization and favorable foreign currency impacts which were partially offset by the impact of a truckers' strike. In Europe and Russia, higher sales prices and favorable mix were offset by lower sales volumes due to higher planned maintenance outages and by higher input costs.

EQUITY METHOD INVESTMENTS
Ilim joint venture equity earnings were $57 million in the second quarter of 2018 compared with $92 million in the first quarter of 2018. Operationally, sales prices and volumes increased, but were offset by higher input and operating costs. The Company recognized a non-cash after-tax foreign exchange loss of $39 million in the second quarter of 2018 ($0.09 per diluted share) compared with a loss of $0.4 million in the first quarter of 2018 ($0.00 per diluted share), primarily due to Ilim's U.S. dollar denominated net debt.

International Paper recorded equity earnings of $15 million in the second quarter of 2018 on its 20.5% ownership position in Graphic Packaging compared with $2 million in the first quarter of 2018. The Company also received a $6 million cash dividend during the quarter.

CORPORATE EXPENSES
Corporate expenses were $30 million for the second quarter of 2018, compared with $9 million in the first quarter of 2018.

EFFECTIVE TAX RATE
The reported effective tax rate for the second quarter of 2018 was 27%, which reflects the impact of state income tax legislative changes, compared to a 2018 first quarter reported effective tax rate of 25%. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the Company recorded a provisional net benefit related to the enactment of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ("Tax Reform".) The net benefit is comprised of a non-cash benefit related to the remeasurement of the Company's U.S. deferred taxes and additional tax expense related to the deemed repatriation of earnings of its foreign subsidiaries. The Company continues to analyze Tax Reform and the provisional amounts will be finalized in 2018. No changes were made to these provisional amounts in the second quarter. Excluding special items, non-operating pension expense and discontinued operations, the effective tax rate for the second quarter of 2018 was 25%, equal to the effective tax rate of 25% in the first quarter of 2018.

EFFECTS OF SPECIAL ITEMS
Special items in the second quarter of 2018 included a pre-tax charge of $26 million ($18 million after taxes) included in Restructuring and other charges related to the optimization of our EMEA Packaging business. Special items also included a pre-tax charge of $12 million ($9 million after taxes) for costs associated with our proposal to acquire Smurfit Kappa, pre-tax charges of $9 million ($7 million after taxes) related to the removal of abandoned property at our mills and a tax expense of $9 million due to state income tax legislative changes.

Special items in the first quarter of 2018 included a pre-tax charge of $22 million ($17 million after taxes) for Restructuring and other charges related to the optimization of our EMEA Packaging business. Special items also included pre-tax charges of $9 million ($7 million after taxes) related to the removal of abandoned property at our mills and a pre-tax charge of $9 million ($7 million after taxes) for a legal settlement.

Special items in the second quarter of 2017 included a pre-tax gain of $16 million ($11 million after taxes) for Restructuring and other charges. Included within Restructuring and other charges were a pre-tax gain of $14 million ($9 million after taxes) related to the sale of our investment in ArborGen and a gain of $2 million (before and after taxes) for other items. Special items also included a pre-tax charge of $354 million ($219 million after taxes) related to the settlement of the Kleen Products antitrust class action lawsuit, a pre-tax loss of $9 million ($4 million after taxes) for the impairment of the assets of our Foodservice business in Asia, a pre-tax loss of $5 million ($3 million after taxes) for integration costs associated with the 2016 acquisition of the Weyerhaeuser pulp business and a net charge of $1 million (before and after taxes) for other items. Also included in special items is a net tax benefit of $47 million primarily due to income tax refund claims.

DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS
As a result of the transfer of the North American Consumer Packaging business on January 1, 2018, all current and prior year amounts have been adjusted to reflect this business as a discontinued operation. Discontinued operations in the second quarter of 2018 was a loss of $23 million ($0.05 per diluted share) compared with income of $368 million ($0.88 per diluted share) in the first quarter of 2018 and a loss of $4 million ($0.01 per diluted share) in the second quarter of 2017. Discontinued operations in the second quarter of 2018 included a pre-tax loss of $28 million ($21 million after taxes) to adjust the gain on the transfer of the business associated with the final post-closing adjustments and charges of $2 million (before and after taxes) for costs associated with the transfer. Discontinued operations in the first quarter of 2018 included a pre-tax gain on the transfer of the business of $516 million ($385 million after taxes) and pre-tax charges of $23 million ($17 million after taxes) for costs associated with the transfer. Discontinued operations in the second quarter of 2017 included the operating earnings of the North American Consumer Packaging business.
(International Paper)

Newsgrafik #120776
 08.08.2018

Koenig & Bauer on track to meet 2018 targets: Strong order intake of €454.4m in the ...  (Company news)

...second quarter

-17.2% rise in orders in H1
-Large orders in security printing and order gains in packaging printing
-Greater accumulation of deliveries in H2 than in the previous year
-EBIT below prior year due to delivery-related lower revenue
-With a book-to-bill ratio of 1.37 order backlog grows to an extraordinarily high €805.8m
-Good cash flows from operating activities of €17.4m
-Equity ratio of 35.6%

Photo: World premiere: Ipress 106 K PRO flatbed die-cutter with proven feeder of Rapida presses for the growing folding carton market

With order intake reaching a particularly high €454.4m in the second quarter and the order backlog rising to €805.8m at the end of the first half, the Koenig & Bauer Group is on track to meet its targets for 2018. Strong security business and more orders in packaging printing caused order intake to rise by 17.2% to €705.3m in the first half of 2018 (2017: €601.9m). Driven by the good Q2 figure of €297.1m, group revenue came to €514.4m but fell short of the previous year’s figure of €538.9m due to the even greater accumulation of delivery dates in the second half of the year. This was also reflected in EBIT, which at €10.6m was lower than in 2017 (€16.3m).

Sheetfed expands market leadership in large-format
The Sheetfed segment reached a strong order intake of €326.3m, exactly matching the previous year’s figure, which had been influenced by the Print China fair. President and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann: “Substantial growth was achieved in large-format cardboard printing. As the world market leader in folding carton printing, we are benefiting from heightened capital spending of the international packaging printers.” EBIT of €7.7m was below the previous year’s figure (€12.1m) due to the delivery-related decline in revenue from €307.8m in 2017 to €283m.

Despite the encouraging growth in new business in flexible packaging, orders in Digital & Web (€84.7m) were slightly down on the previous year (€85.7m) due to fewer orders for newspaper web presses and services. In addition to the market-entry costs for corrugated and flexible packaging in particular, EBIT was significantly burdened by the decline in revenue from €68.3m to €55.8m. CFO Mathias Dähn: “This was materially due to the decline in revenue from digital printing presses as a result of subdued demand. However, we see significantly greater short and medium-term potential in the large corrugated and foil printing markets, which are expanding at above-average rates. The targeted expenses required for future growth will leave traces on our cost position, exerting pressure on segment earnings.”

Driven by large orders in security printing and growth in marking and coding, order intake in the Special segment rose by 52.8% to €330.6m (2017: €216.3m). With revenue rising slightly from €189.2m to €195m, EBIT came to €14.4m, thus matching the previous year’s figure (€14.6m). President and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann: “With the major order received from Giesecke+Devrient for the delivery of several press lines for the production of ultra-secure banknotes in Egypt, we have a high degree of capacity utilisation in security printing until well into 2019.”

Strong financial and balance sheet profile
Cash flows from operating activities rose substantially over the previous year (€–20m) to €17.4m. The free cash flow was burdened by the final payment instalment of €34.8m made in Q1 for the external funding of a part of the pension provisions. In addition to net liquidity of €48.1m and securities of €14.6m that can be liquidated at any time, the group also has access to syndicated credit facilities. The equity ratio stood at 35.6% at the end of the first half of 2018.

Group targets for 2018
In 2018, the management board expects to achieve organic growth of around 4% in group revenue and an EBIT margin of around 7%. With many projects still in the pipeline in all business fields, the forecast is based on the high order backlog of €805.8m as of the end of the first half year together with further progress being made in the group-wide service initiative and the cost-cutting projects in security printing, purchasing and production. These projects should cause earnings to rise by €70m over 2016 by 2021.

CFO Mathias Dähn: “The achievement of the targets 2018 requires the execution of orders on time in the second half of the year and particularly in Q4 with the accumulation of press installations. Given the high capacity utilisation and external and internal delivery bottlenecks in parts, this is a challenging task to which we pay particular attention. However, we consider it to be particularly important to utilise the opportunities for growth being offered by the market in new press business in order to widen the installed base as the foundation for further growth in service business.”

Medium-term goals until 2021
Depending on global economy, end markets and the necessary investments in growth, management is targeting a group-wide organic revenue growth rate of around 4% p.a. and an EBIT margin of between 4% and 9% by 2021. Product innovations in corrugated printing and 2-piece can decorating are not included in the medium-term targets, neither revenue nor costs. President and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann: “In addition to our printing, finishing, coding and postpress solutions for cardboard, banknotes, cans, glass and hollow containers and other products, we are particularly focusing on corrugated board and flexible packaging. With the focus on the growing packaging printing, we want to boost our revenue and profitability as well as the stability of our business on a sustained basis.”
(Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA))

Newsgrafik #120779
 08.08.2018

GLATFELTER REPORTS SECOND QUARTER 2018 RESULTS  (Company news)

Glatfelter (NYSE: GLT) reported a net loss of $7.4 million, or $0.17 per share for the second quarter of 2018 compared with a net loss of $5.7 million, or $0.13 per share in the second quarter of 2017. On an adjusted basis, the net loss for the second quarter of 2018 was $4.3 million, or $0.10 per diluted share compared with a loss of $2.6 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the same period a year ago. Net loss on an adjusted basis is a non-GAAP financial measure for which a reconciliation to the nearest GAAP-based measure is provided within this release.

Consolidated net sales totaled $405.8 million and $387.3 million for the three months ended June 30, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Composite Fibers’ and Advanced Airlaid Materials’ net sales increased by 1.5% and 11.3%, respectively, on a constant currency basis. Specialty Papers’ net sales declined 0.7% in the quarter-over-quarter comparison.

“Significantly higher input costs, and operational challenges in Specialty Papers, led to second-quarter results that were below our expectations,” said Dante C. Parrini (photo), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “During the quarter, higher purchased pulp prices adversely impacted our results by $9 million. While selling prices increased in all of our businesses, this was not sufficient to offset increases in raw material prices, particularly in Composite Fibers. However, Advanced Airlaid Materials volume and net sales grew 6% and 16%, respectively, over last year. The additional capacity from the new Fort Smith facility is ramping up and enabling us to meet demand from key customers who serve the growing North American wipes market.”

Mr. Parrini said, “In addition to higher pulp prices, Specialty Papers’ results were adversely affected by increased costs of the annual maintenance outages and cost penalties from a slower than expected restart. However, the business unit successfully capitalized on an improving pricing environment, achieving a nearly $40 per ton increase in average selling prices compared with the first quarter of 2018. With the maintenance outages now complete, we anticipate volumes and operating income to improve on the heels of strong industry operating rates and pricing momentum heading into the second half of the year.”

Mr. Parrini concluded, “While our second-quarter financial performance was weaker than expected, we are confident our engineered materials platform continues to represent significant opportunity for Glatfelter and value for our shareholders. Our Advanced Airlaid Materials business is positioned to accelerate its growth as utilization of the new capacity increases. In addition, we anticipate closing on our announced acquisition of Georgia-Pacific’s European nonwovens business during the fourth quarter, pending regulatory approval. This transaction is expected to be immediately accretive, and we look forward to adding its complementary products to our Airlaid Materials portfolio. Composite Fibers will continue to face competitive market conditions and raw material cost challenges in the near term; nonetheless, we remain a leader in the end-markets served and continue to be optimistic about the market growth potential.”

In June 2018¸ the Company announced a definitive agreement to purchase Georgia-Pacific’s European nonwovens business, based in Steinfurt, Germany, for $185 million, subject to customary purchase price adjustments. The facility produces high-quality airlaid products for the table-top, wipes, hygiene, food pad, and other nonwoven materials markets. The Steinfurt facility is a state-of-the-art, 32,000-metric-ton-capacity manufacturing facility that employs approximately 220 people.

As previously announced, the Company is reviewing strategic alternatives for the Specialty Papers business. This review is ongoing and there can be no assurance that it will result in a particular outcome.

Outlook
Composite Fibers’ shipping volumes in the third quarter of 2018 are expected to be approximately 8% higher than the second quarter. Selling prices as well as raw material and energy prices are expected to increase slightly.

Advanced Airlaid Materials’ shipping volumes in the third quarter of 2018 are expected to be in-line with the second quarter of 2018, and selling, raw material and energy prices are expected to increase slightly. For the full-year 2018, we anticipate shipping volumes to be 6% to 8% higher than 2017 as the ramp-up of new volumes has been delayed slightly by qualification processes. We anticipate taking downtime in the third quarter to align supply with demand, resulting in an adverse impact to operating income of approximately $1 million.

Specialty Papers’ shipping volumes in the third quarter are expected to be 8% higher than the second quarter of 2018. Average selling prices are expected to increase by approximately $20 per ton and we expect raw material and energy prices to increase slightly.

Consolidated capital expenditures for the year are expected to be between $60 million and $62 million.

The effective tax rate on adjusted earnings is expected to be approximately 35% in the second half of 2018.
(Glatfelter Corporate Headquarters)

Newsgrafik #120817
 08.08.2018

Change in Valmet's Executive Team  (Company news)

Mr. Sami Riekkola (M.Sc. (Eng), photo) has been appointed Business Line President, Automation as of September 1, 2018. He will be a member of Valmet's Executive Team and report to President and CEO Pasi Laine.

Sami Riekkola is currently employed at Valmet as Vice President, Energy and Process Systems in the Automation business line. Sami started his career in 1998 as automation project engineer at Valmet and has since then worked in a variety of automation positions within the company in several geographical locations in Europe and Australia. During the years, he has gathered excellent experience from automation products, project management, sales and customer management, as well as automation related services.

Mr. Sakari Ruotsalainen, the current Business Line President, Automation, has decided to retire as of September 30, 2018 after a long and successful career at Valmet.

"It is a pleasure to welcome Sami Riekkola to our Executive Team. His long and versatile experience in our automation business has helped him to gain a thorough understanding of the business and its customers in different markets. With this background, I believe Sami is in an excellent position to lead our Automation business line and to grow it further. I want to thank Sakari Ruotsalainen for his strong dedication and excellent contribution to Valmet's success in the past years. It has been a true pleasure to work with Sakari. We wish Sakari all the best for his well-earned retirement days," says Pasi Laine, President and CEO of Valmet.
(Valmet Corporation)

Newsgrafik #120762
 07.08.2018

Kimberly-Clark Announces Second Quarter 2018 Results  (Company news)

Executive Summary
-Second quarter 2018 net sales of $4.6 billion increased 1 percent compared to the year-ago period. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates benefited sales by 1 percent while organic sales were even year-on-year.
-Diluted net income per share for the second quarter of 2018 was $1.30. Second quarter adjusted earnings per share were $1.59 in 2018, an increase of 7 percent compared to diluted net income per share of $1.49 in 2017. Adjusted earnings per share exclude certain items described later in this news release.
-Diluted net income per share for 2018 is anticipated to be $3.37 to $3.87.
-The company is now targeting full-year 2018 adjusted earnings per share of $6.60 to $6.80, a year-on-year increase of 6 to 9 percent. The company's prior target was $6.90 to $7.20. The update reflects higher commodity inflation along with a worse currency outlook, partially offset by increased cost savings and reduced overhead spending.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. Falk (photo) said, "Our second quarter results reflect a challenging environment, particularly with commodity inflation. Nonetheless, we continue to manage our company with financial discipline, as we generated $150 million of cost savings, reduced discretionary spending and returned approximately $575 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases."

Falk added, "For the full year, we are maintaining our organic sales growth target and reducing our earnings outlook because of significantly higher commodity costs and the recent weakening of most foreign currencies. Given these headwinds, we will continue to aggressively manage costs and evaluate further opportunities to increase net selling prices. While the near-term environment has become more difficult, we continue to execute our long-term strategies to grow our brands and deliver cost savings while we implement our restructuring that will make Kimberly-Clark an even stronger company."

Second Quarter 2018 Operating Results
Sales of $4.6 billion in the second quarter of 2018 were up 1 percent compared to the year-ago period. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates benefited sales by 1 percent. Organic sales were even year-on-year. Product mix improved 1 percent, while volumes fell approximately 1 percent and net selling prices were down slightly. In North America, organic sales decreased 2 percent in consumer products and increased 2 percent in K-C Professional. Outside North America, organic sales rose 1 percent in developing and emerging markets and also in developed markets.

Second quarter operating profit was $674 million in 2018, including charges related to the 2018 Global Restructuring Program. Second quarter adjusted operating profit was $774 million in 2018 compared to operating profit of $814 million in 2017. Results were impacted by $200 million of higher input costs, driven by $125 million in pulp and $45 million in other raw materials. The operating profit comparison was also affected by lower net selling prices and volumes. On the other hand, results benefited from $110 million of cost savings from the company's FORCE (Focused On Reducing Costs Everywhere) program and $40 million of cost savings from the 2018 Global Restructuring Program. In addition, the comparison benefited from improved product mix and reduced marketing, research and general spending, including lower general and administrative costs.

The second quarter effective tax rate was 24.1 percent in 2018. The adjusted effective tax rate was 23.0 percent in the second quarter of 2018 compared to the effective tax rate of 28.2 percent in the second quarter of 2017. The comparison benefited from U.S. tax reform, along with resolution of certain tax matters.

Kimberly-Clark's share of net income of equity companies in the second quarter was $30 million in 2018 and $26 million in 2017. At Kimberly-Clark de Mexico, results benefited from sales growth and cost savings, but were negatively impacted by higher input costs.

Cash Flow and Balance Sheet
Cash provided by operations in the second quarter was $787 million in 2018 and $825 million in 2017. The comparison was impacted by cash payments related to the 2018 Global Restructuring Program along with lower earnings, partially offset by lower tax payments. Capital spending for the second quarter was $158 million in 2018 and $171 million in 2017. Second quarter 2018 share repurchases were 2.2 million shares at a cost of $224 million. Total debt was $7.5 billion at June 30, 2018 and $7.4 billion at the end of 2017.

Second Quarter 2018 Business Segment Results
Personal Care Segment
Second quarter sales of $2.3 billion decreased 1 percent. Net selling prices fell 2 percent, while product mix improved 1 percent. Second quarter operating profit of $461 million decreased 3 percent. The comparison was impacted by input cost inflation and lower net selling prices, while results benefited from cost savings, reduced marketing, research and general spending and favorable product mix.

Sales in North America decreased 1 percent. Net selling prices declined nearly 3 percent, including higher promotion spending to support innovations and growth initiatives, while volumes increased 2 percent. Volumes were up double-digits in adult care, including benefits from innovations and category growth. Volumes were similar year-on-year in Huggies diapers, baby wipes and child care.

Sales in developing and emerging markets decreased 1 percent. Currency rates were unfavorable by 2 percent while the acquisition of the company's joint venture in India benefited sales by 1 percent. Product mix improved 2 percent while net selling prices were down 2 percent. Volumes were even year-on-year, including increases in Eastern Europe and declines in China and Argentina.

Sales in developed markets outside North America (Australia, South Korea and Western/Central Europe) increased 1 percent, including a 5 point benefit from favorable currency rates. Volumes were down 3 percent, driven by South Korea, and the combined impact of changes in net selling prices and product mix reduced sales by 1 percent.

Consumer Tissue Segment
Second quarter sales of $1.5 billion increased 1 percent. Changes in currency rates benefited sales by 2 percent. Volumes decreased 3 percent, while net selling prices increased approximately 2 percent and product mix improved slightly. Second quarter operating profit of $207 million decreased 16 percent. The comparison was impacted by input cost inflation and lower volumes. Results benefited from cost savings, higher net selling prices, reduced marketing, research and general spending and favorable product mix.

Sales in North America decreased 4 percent, driven by changes in the timing of promotion shipments, along with lower sales in facial tissue. Volumes fell 6 percent, while net selling prices and product mix each improved 1 percent.

Sales in developing and emerging markets were even year-on-year. Net selling prices increased 2 percent and product mix was up 1 percent, while volumes fell 3 percent. The changes in net selling prices and volumes occurred primarily in Latin America.

Sales in developed markets outside North America increased 12 percent. Currency rates were favorable by 7 percent, mostly in Western/Central Europe. Volumes increased 3 percent and net selling prices rose 2 percent.

K-C Professional (KCP) Segment
Second quarter sales of $0.9 billion increased more than 3 percent. Changes in currency rates benefited sales by approximately 2 percent. Volumes and product mix each improved 1 percent. Second quarter operating profit of $165 million decreased 1 percent. The comparison was impacted by input cost inflation, mostly offset by cost savings, volume growth and favorable product mix.

Sales in North America increased 2 percent. Volumes were up 2 percent, with growth in all major product categories.

Sales in developing and emerging markets increased 3 percent. Volumes were up 2 percent, driven by Asia-Pacific, and net selling prices improved 1 percent.

Sales in developed markets outside North America were up 7 percent. Currency rates were favorable by approximately 7 percent, mostly in Western/Central Europe. Product mix improved 1 percent.

Year-To-Date Results
For the first six months of 2018, sales of $9.3 billion increased 3 percent. Currency rates were favorable by 2 percent and organic sales rose 1 percent. Volumes increased more than 1 percent and product mix improved slightly, while net selling prices declined about 1 percent.

Year-to-date operating profit was $921 million in 2018, including charges related to the 2018 Global Restructuring Program. Year-to-date adjusted operating profit was $1,598 million in 2018 versus operating profit of $1,662 million in 2017. The comparison was impacted by $375 million of higher input costs and lower net selling prices. Results benefited from volume growth, $200 million of FORCE cost savings, $40 million of cost savings from the 2018 Global Restructuring Program, and reduced marketing, research and general spending.

Through six months, diluted net income per share was $1.56 in 2018. Year-to-date adjusted earnings per share were $3.30 in 2018, an increase of 8 percent compared to diluted net income per share of $3.06 in 2017.

2018 Global Restructuring Program
In January 2018, Kimberly-Clark initiated the 2018 Global Restructuring Program in order to reduce the company's structural cost base and enhance the company's flexibility to invest in its brands, growth initiatives and capabilities critical to delivering future growth. The program will make Kimberly-Clark's overhead organization structure and manufacturing supply chain less complex and more efficient and is expected to broadly impact all of the company's business segments and organizations in each major geography.

The company expects the program will generate annual pre-tax cost savings of $500 to $550 million by the end of 2021, driven by workforce reductions along with manufacturing supply chain efficiencies. As part of the program, Kimberly-Clark expects to exit or divest some low-margin businesses that generate approximately 1 percent of company net sales. The sales are concentrated in the consumer tissue business segment. To implement the program, the company expects to incur restructuring charges of $1,700 to $1,900 million pre-tax ($1,350 to $1,500 million after tax) by the end of 2020.

Second quarter 2018 restructuring charges were $130 million pre-tax ($102 million after tax), bringing cumulative charges to $707 million pre-tax ($530 million after tax). Second quarter 2018 and cumulative restructuring savings were $40 million.

2018 Outlook and Key Planning Assumptions
The company updated the following key planning and guidance assumptions for full-year 2018:
-Net sales similar, to up 1 percent, year-on-year (prior assumption increase of 2 to 3 percent).
---Changes in foreign currency exchange rates anticipated to have a neutral to 1 percent negative impact on net sales (previous estimate 1 to 2 percent positive impact).
---Organic sales expected to increase approximately 1 percent (no change).
-Adjusted operating profit decline of 2 to 5 percent (prior estimate growth of 2 to 5 percent).
---Inflation in key cost inputs of $675 to $775 million compared to the previous estimate of $400 to $550 million. The update reflects higher assumptions for pulp costs in particular, and secondarily other raw materials. In North America, the company is assuming full-year market prices of $1,200 to $1,250 per metric ton for eucalyptus pulp and high-$60's per barrel for oil.
---Cost savings of $425 to $450 million from the FORCE program. The prior target was for savings of approximately $400 million.
---Cost savings of $100 to $120 million from the 2018 Global Restructuring Program. The previous estimate was for savings of $50 to $70 million.
-Adjusted effective tax rate expected to be at the low end of the 23 to 26 percent target range.
-Adjusted earnings per share of $6.60 to $6.80. The prior estimate was $6.90 to $7.20.
(Kimberly-Clark Corp.)

Newsgrafik #120763
 07.08.2018

Packaging and paper trends at RosUpack signal changes in Russian market  (Company news)

Global packaging and paper group Mondi reports market-specific trends for Russia following its fifth year at RosUpack. This year, the major packaging exhibition in Moscow attracted about 23,000 visitors.

“At RosUpack 2018 we observed specific market trends for our partner industries, including retailers, packaging converters, and baby and personal care brands,” commented Albert Klinkhammer, head of public affairs at Mondi Group.

“Notably, Russian companies showed concrete and growing interest in the environmental sustainability of the packaging solutions we offer, including recyclability, light-weighting and renewable materials. We see this as a significant change for the Russian market. In addition to adapting product and packaging strategies for environmental sustainability, we also saw a rise in interest about packaging solutions for e-commerce and diapers, as well as premium quality printing papers.”

Here are the top trends from RosUpack 2018:
E-commerce market growth requires packaging that is durable and convenient
The Russian e-commerce market is expected to grow to almost 22 billion US dollars by 2020. The number of shoppers will grow from approximately 50 million in 2018 to 61.6 million by 2022, an increase of nearly 20% in four years. These trends were evident at RosUpack this year, where more visitors were looking for packaging designed specifically for e-commerce. These businesses should challenge packaging to optimise fulfilment as well as convenience for the end-user – for example, easy-open, tape-less closure for return shipment. Durability to protect the goods throughout long-distance transport, and attractive visual branding on or inside the packaging are other relevant aspects. Sustainability factors also matter, as brands look to prove eco-credibility with right sized, lighter and recyclable e-commerce packaging. Mondi introduced Re(use) to the Russian market, a recyclable corrugated e-commerce packaging solution with double hotmelt application. The first strip makes for process effective tape-less and easy closure at shipping. With the box being fully sealed, additional foil bag wrapping becomes obsolete. Consumers appreciat the convenient tear-open strip and easy re-closure via the second hotmelt strip for returns.

Growing diaper market makes local supply even more relevant
The Russian diaper market still has not reached its apex. Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade reported that it could grow tenfold to 1.2 billion US dollars.The vast majority of diapers sold in Russia are manufactured locally. Some of these manufacturers came to RosUpack 2018 in search of local partners to produce outer packaging for their diapers and shorten lead times and reduce currency risks and import taxes. As well as high sealing strengths and excellent runnability on packaging lines, visitors were interested in high-quality printing and other features to support branding and increase shelf appeal.

Mondi’s plant in Aramil, southeast of Yekaterinburg, Russia, is a supplier of diaper packaging, with expertise in film extrusion, printing, lamination and bag converting. Here, Mondi produces custom wicket bags designed to give personal hygiene products high-impact shelf appeal. Along with high tensile and sealing strengths, these Mondi films and laminates run superbly on packaging lines.

Growing demand for premium paper for print marketing
While online sales and marketing continue to grow in Russia as elsewhere, a countertrend towards high-end printed materials for brand differentiation was also apparent at RosUpack 2018. Fair visitors were looking for high quality papers with unique technical and physical properties for a strong visual and sensory experience. Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre, for example, chose Mondi’s premium design paper PERGRAPHICA®, which is available in a variety of white shades and textures, for its programmes.

Infinite Black, a new paper offering in the PERGRAPHICA® portfolio received attention at RosUpack. With its rich black shade and smooth surface PERGRAPHICA® Infinite Black is designed for premium creative print and packaging applications, including shopping bags, covers or liners.

“PERGRAPHICA® is an amazing paper for creative designers. I am inspired to see at RosUpack the PERGRAPHICA “family” extension. We all are in touch with creative packaging every day – we like emotions triggered by receiving and giving gifts. Shopping bags, boxes, sleeves made out of PERGRAPHICA® Infinite Black make our gifts look fabulous from the first moment,” says Yuri Tikhonov, Managing Director of the Bolshoi Theatre printing house.

Global sustainable packaging trend arrives in Russia
Commercial inquiries at RosUpack 2018 revealed interest in environmentally sustainable packaging in the largest country in the world. Converters and brands at the Moscow trade fair showed interest in recyclable and renewable packaging solutions, sustainable production methods and resourcing, including sustainable forestry practices in Russia.

“Increased awareness of the environmental impacts of inappropriate packaging and waste could be accelerating this trend. We see that conscious consumers are driving companies to offer sustainable products and packaging. RosUpack is an important industry event and a marker of trends in Russia, so we were glad to show visitors how Mondi can be a strong partner and help them adopt more sustainable packaging. Sustainability is part of our DNA,” said Albert Klinkhammer.
(Mondi Europe & International Division)

Newsgrafik #120764
 07.08.2018

Smurfit Kappa Group Q2 and H1 2018 Results   (Company news)

Smurfit Kappa Group plc announced results for the 3 months and 6 months ending 30 June 2018.

First Half Key Points
-Significant improvement against all key performance measures
-Underlying1 revenue growth of 8%
-EBITDA increase of 27% to €724 million and EBITDA margin of 16.4%
-ROCE of 18.1%
-Strong Free Cash Flow of €148 million and Net Debt to EBITDA of 2.1x
-Completion of Reparenco acquisition for €460 million on 2 July accelerating the Medium Term Plan
-7.5 year bond issuance of €600 million in June 2018
-Interim dividend increased by 10% to 25.4 cent per share

Performance Review and Outlook
Tony Smurfit (photo), Group CEO, commented:
“SKG is pleased to deliver significant improvement against our key performance measures. With an increase in EBITDA of over 27% to €724 million and an EBITDA margin of 16.4% our first half performance reflects the quality of our assets, geographic reach and market positions. SKG's integrated business model and a performance-led culture continue to drive demonstrably superior returns.

“The performance during the first half is a measure of the tremendous efforts of our people and our continued success in developing innovative packaging solutions for our customers.

“Europe reported a record EBITDA margin of 17.3% for the first half, with corrugated volume growth of 3%. Market demand remains strong and the Group has continued to recover corrugated pricing in line with expectations.

“The Americas reported a year-on-year improvement in EBITDA margin to 15.2% for the first half as the recovery of input costs continues. Demand is strengthening with improving corrugated growth. Our 2017 mill investments in Mexico and Colombia continue to ramp-up and deliver incremental tonnage for integration. We see the Americas as a region for growth with ongoing opportunities to expand our geographic reach.

“The Group communicated its Medium Term Plan in February of this year. The plan outlined the positive medium-term growth drivers of corrugated demand such as e-commerce, discount retailers, increased supply chain complexity and the substitution of plastic and other non-renewable substrates. SKG is uniquely positioned to capitalise on these secular drivers with our industry leading business applications delivering scientifically backed solutions to our customers, whether this is in reducing their costs, driving sales growth or reducing their business risk.

“I am particularly pleased with the acquisition of Reparenco financed by our successful bond issuance in June. This acquisition represents a compelling strategic fit for SKG and delivers a significant and early step in our Medium Term Plan, securing our current and expected European containerboard needs in a highly cost effective manner.

“With significant growth opportunities, both organic and through acquisition, we have announced increased medium-term performance targets including: an objective to invest an incremental €1.6 billion above base capex to capitalise on internal and external growth opportunities; an increased medium-term ROCE target of 17% and a lower target leverage range of 1.75x to 2.5x net debt to EBITDA.

“Our first half performance represents an early yet significant step towards the delivery of these targets.

“As we start the second half, business conditions remain strong. We are excited about our prospects and we continue to expect our 2018 EBITDA to be materially better than 2017. Reflecting the Board’s confidence in the Group’s performance and prospects the interim dividend is increased by 10% to 25.4 cent per share.”
(Smurfit Kappa Group Headquarters plc)

Newsgrafik #120766
 07.08.2018

Management change at Koenig & Bauer Flexotecnica  (Company news)

-Optimal utilisation of sales and service network
-New product portfolio at Flexotecnica
-Growth market flexo
-Strong management team in Tavazzano complete

Dr Peter Lechner (photo) is the new CEO at Koenig & Bauer Flexotecnica. As planned, he takes over from Christoph Müller, who moves to the company's supervisory board as chairman. “Peter Lechner has many years of experience in the field of flexible packaging. He will continue on the positive path of Flexotecnica and achieve our ambitious goals,” says Christoph Müller, Flexotecnica supervisory board chairman and member of the executive board at Koenig & Bauer. Peter Lechner previously held leading positions at companies in Germany, the USA and the Czech Republic. In the coming years Flexotecnica will focus on making the best possible use of Koenig & Bauer's strong service and sales network and even expanding its flexible packaging activities. The cooperation between the various business units at Koenig & Bauer has already proved its worth. Peter Lechner, CEO at Koenig & Bauer Flexotecnica: “Our order books are full. This year a raft of presses we have sold will go into operation worldwide. Especially in the field of flexible packaging, our Evo series is in great demand.”

A strong team in Tavazzano
Flexotecnica has improved the technological level of its presses over the past 18 months and now its existing product portfolio is expected to be expanded. A new press is to be introduced to the market by the end of this year. “I think we have a very strong team at Flexotecnica. The goal is, of course, to use these prerequisites in order to be able to implement the planned growth in the market,” says Lechner. Flexo printing is growing at an average rate of four to five percent worldwide, and in some regions even faster. Increased print quality, based on mature prepress and press technology, plays a key role here.
(Koenig & Bauer Flexotecnica S.p.A.)

Newsgrafik #120767
 07.08.2018

Essity restructures in France  (Company news)

To further strengthen competitiveness and increase efficiency, Essity is restructuring its Consumer Tissue production in France.

Essity is closing a converting facility for retail branded products in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray and invests in remaining integrated production facilities in France. The closure is expected during the fourth quarter of 2018. These measures are aligned with the company’s strategy to optimize the production footprint to increase cost and capital efficiency and further increase value creation in the Consumer Tissue business area.

The restructuring costs are expected to amount to approximately SEK 480m, of which approximately SEK 430m is expected to be recognized as an item affecting comparability in the third quarter of 2018. The remaining costs are expected to be recognized as an item affecting comparability in 2019. Approximately SEK 320m of the restructuring costs are expected to impact cash flow. Total investments will amount to approximately SEK 210m.
(Essity Aktiebolag)

Newsgrafik #120816
 07.08.2018

Valmet will supply a new Advantage DCT tissue production line to Papelera San Andrés ...  (Company news)

... de Giles in Argentina

Valmet will supply an Advantage DCT100HS tissue production line, including an extensive automation package, to Papelera San Andrés de Giles in Argentina. The new tissue line will fulfill Papelera San Andrés de Giles' demand of new capacity of high quality tissue products for the Argentinian market. Start-up is planned for the second half of 2018.

The order was included in Valmet's second quarter of 2018 orders received. The value of the order will not be disclosed.

"Our first contact with Valmet was at their Tissue Making Conference in Karlstad, Sweden in 2012. Since that moment, we have been convinced that Valmet's technology is what we need to differentiate and keep our position as a frontrunner in the Argentinian tissue market," says Mr. Sebastian Schiaffino, Plant Manager, Papelera San Andrés de Giles.

"Even more important is to work with skilled people within Valmet. This is a long-term partnership for us. Valmet has met, and exceeded, all expectations as an advisor during our cooperation," Mr. Schiaffino continues.

"This newfound relationship means a lot for Valmet. This will be the first running Advantage DCT tissue machine in Argentina," says Kent Nika, Sales Manager at Valmet. "Not only does this mean breaking ground in Argentina, but we are also excited to welcome Papelera San Andrés de Giles to our ever-growing tissue community. And of course, we are very proud that our capability to supply tissue mill equipment with superior technology, e.g. Advantage ViscoNip press, were considered as important success factors in their expansion plans."

Both companies are now looking forward to step in to the future with a shared aim of realizing Papelera San Andres de Gilés' expansion plans and ambitions of providing high quality products to their customers.

Technical information about the delivery
The new tissue machine will have a width of 2.8 meters and a design speed of 2,000 meters/minute. It will add 35,000 tons of tissue paper per year to Papelera San Andrés de Giles' current production of high-quality facial, toilet tissue and kitchen towels.

Valmet's scope of delivery will comprise of a tissue production line featuring stock preparation systems and an Advantage DCT100HS tissue machine. The machine is equipped with OptiFlo headbox and Valmet steel Yankee cylinder as well as the Advantage technology including ViscoNip press, AirCap hood, WetDust dust system and SoftReel reel. The delivery also includes an extensive automation package with Valmet DNA, process controls, tissue line training simulator and Valmet IQ quality controls. Engineering, supervision, training, start-up and commissioning is also included in the delivery.
(Valmet Corporation)

Newsgrafik #120754
 06.08.2018

SCA Interim Report Q2 2018  (Company news)

JANUARY 1 - JUNE 30, 2018
(compared with the year-earlier period)
-Net sales increased 11% to SEK 9,070m (8,191). The growth was mainly related to higher prices, offset partly by lower pulp volumes.
-EBITDA rose 45% to SEK 2,209m (1,521). The improvement in EBITDA was mainly related to higher prices in Kraftliner and Wood. EBITDA was affected by the planned expansion stop in Östrand in the second quarter 2018.
-EBITDA margin increased to 24.4% (18.6)
-Earnings per share amounted to SEK 2.57 (0.93)
-Operating cash flow, which excludes strategic capital expenditures, increased to SEK 1,265m (906). Strategic capital expenditures totaled SEK 1,122m (1,476) and relate to the Östrand investment.
-In june, the expanded Östrand pulp mill went into operation according to plan

COMMENTS ON THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS by Ulf Larsson (photo), President and CEO
The market remained strong in the second quarter with healthy demand in all of SCA’s product areas. The expanded pulp mill in Östrand went into operation in June following a planned expansion stop to complete the final stage of the sequential start-up. Forest, Wood and Paper reported improved earnings compared with the preceding quarter and the corresponding quarter in 2017, while the Pulp segment reported a loss for the quarter as a result of the planned stop.

The supply of wood to SCA’s industries was stable. Deliveries to Östrand pulp mill declined during the quarter due to the planned expansion stop ahead of the start-up of the expanded plant. The price of timber and pulpwood rose slightly.

The positive market trend in the Wood segment continued in the second quarter and further price increases were implemented. Inventories are generally low in all markets.

The pulp market remained strong with high demand in all markets. The price of pulp increased further during the quarter.

The market for kraftliner remained strong, with growing demand and limited supply. In addition to the positive economic trend in Europe, growth in e-commerce is increasing the demand for transport packaging.

For publication papers, capacity reductions among paper producers have created a better balance between supply and demand in a structurally contracting market. Demand has improved for uncoated papers, and a slightly stronger market was also noted for coated papers. The market and product mix steadily improved in the first six months of the year.

Expanded Östrand pulp mill in operation
In June, the Östrand pulp mill was put into operation following a longer stop to complete and install the final sections of the expanded plant.

The start-up of the mill has gone well despite the operational disruptions and necessary adjustments and fine-tuning that can be expected in such a major project. A good level of production was achieved early and Östrand is now focusing on ensuring stable production and gradually calibrating the mill to reach full capacity and the highest quality.

The Östrand pulp mill is starting up in a favorable market and the first pulp has been delivered to customers.
(Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget SCA)

Newsgrafik #120755
 06.08.2018

UPM Half Year Financial Report 2018: Commercial success drives growth in sales and earnings ...  (Company news)

Q2 2018 highlights
-Sales grew by 5% to EUR 2,589 million (2,464 million in Q2 2017).
-Comparable EBIT increased by 24% to EUR 334 million (270 million).
-Sales prices increased in all business areas, outweighing the impact of higher input costs and unfavourable currency exchange rates.
-Q2 operating profit was held back by several significant scheduled maintenance shutdowns - total impact was EUR -90 million.
-Operating cash flow was EUR 329 million (269 million).
-UPM completed the UPM Kaukas pulp mill expansion.

H1 2018 highlights
-Comparable EBIT increased by 20% to EUR 689 million (575 million in H1 2017).
-Sales prices increased in all business areas, outweighing the impact of higher input costs and unfavourable currency exchange rates.
-Delivery volumes were held back by several significant maintenance shutdowns in Q2 and weather-related wood harvesting limitations in Q1.
-UPM paid a dividend of EUR 613 million.
-Net debt decreased to EUR 401 million (1,046 million).
-UPM announced focused investments in Germany, Finland and China to grow in the attractive release liner segments.

Jussi Pesonen (photo), President and CEO, comments on Q2 results:
"UPM delivered yet another successful quarter of earnings growth. Customer demand for our products continued to be strong and we succeeded in increasing prices in most of our businesses also during the quarter. This enabled us to expand our margins and recover the impact of clearly higher input costs.

We carried out several significant scheduled maintenance shutdowns during the quarter, which held back our operating profit by approximately EUR 90 million. However, earlier challenges in wood harvesting and logistics were solved and no longer impacted our performance.

Our sales grew by 5% and our comparable EBIT increased by 24% to EUR 334 million. Operating cash flow was strong at EUR 329 million. UPM paid a dividend of EUR 613 million and net debt was EUR 401 million at the end of the quarter.

UPM Biorefining increased its earnings clearly. Customer demand was strong for pulp, biofuels and sawn timber, and sales prices increased. Scheduled maintenance shutdowns were carried out at the Fray Bentos and Kaukas pulp mills and at the Lappeenranta biorefinery. During the Kaukas shutdown, the pulp mill expansion was completed, providing 30,000 tons of additional pulp capacity.

UPM Communication Papers grew both its sales and earnings in tight markets. The business area achieved high operational efficiency and increased prices. UPM Raflatac performed well and managed to resume earnings growth after a challenging Q1. UPM Plywood had a steady performance in a good market situation.

UPM Energy improved earnings due to higher electricity prices and volumes. Electricity generation was held back by the annual maintenance shutdown at Olkiluoto power plant and weakened hydropower availability during the quarter.

UPM Specialty Papers enjoyed good market demand and increased prices, but was not able to fully offset the higher pulp costs.

We look to the future with confidence. In the second half of the year we have every opportunity to respond to customer demand with growing deliveries. Our ongoing focused growth projects enable us to develop our market position while maintaining and growing our earnings. During the quarter we announced new focused growth investments in Germany and in China in the attractive release liner business.

Our transformative prospects provide us with unique and exciting opportunities for significant long-term earnings growth. In Uruguay, the second preparation phase for the potential new world-class pulp mill is proceeding well. In attractive biomolecular businesses we continue to prepare for the potential first industrial-scale biochemical refinery in Germany and study the potential biofuels scale up in Finland.

In 2009, we redefined UPM as the Biofore Company, creating a new, future-oriented industry category characterized by efficiency, innovation and sustainability. This positioning gave a name to our transformation, energizing both UPMers as well as our stakeholders. We continue to be inspired by the limitless opportunities of bioeconomy. We are committed to delivering renewable and responsible solutions and innovating for a future beyond fossils."

Outlook 2018
UPM's comparable EBIT is expected to continue growing in 2018 compared with 2017. H2 2018 comparable EBIT is expected to be significantly higher compared with H1 2018.

The fundamentals for UPM businesses in 2018 are favourable. Sales price increases in 2018 are expected to outweigh the increase in variable cost, compared with 2017.

H1 2018 results were impacted by four significant maintenance shutdowns and weather-related wood harvesting limitations. H2 2018 is scheduled to have one significant maintenance shutdown.
(UPM)

Newsgrafik #120756
 06.08.2018

Thirty-four percent of shoppers return an online purchase because of the packaging  (Company news)

Esko Identifies Shopper Behaviors in New Food and Beverage Packaging Study

Esko (www.esko.com), alongside sister companies Pantone, X-Rite and AVT released a new study, “Packaging and the Digital Shopper: Meeting Expectations in Food & Beverage,” highlighting what primary shoppers want from food and beverage packaging. Brand and marketing managers, design leaders, packaging professionals and tech leaders gain knowledge of shopper’s preferences in packaging within the food and beverage category in this study, along with the how and why they buy. With this knowledge they can better optimize, evolve and connect packaging through technology platforms that support end-to-end packaging value chain and leverage packaging as an enabler for product innovation.

Some statistics from study are highlighted below:
-Only 0.8% of primary shoppers indicated that they have never purchased any food and beverage products online
-Thirty-three percent of those who purchase online cite convenience as a reason and 43% of respondents say they shop online to get a better price
-Seventy-five percent of shoppers stated they foresee purchasing more snacks online in the next 18 months
-Nine percent of primary shoppers say that buying these food and beverages online isn’t their first preference and they won’t purchase this way in the future

Inside the Mind of the Shopper In-Store
Packaging plays a role in product differentiation, on the shelf at traditional brick and mortar stores. A key in-store goal for any consumer packaged goods (CPG) company is to get the shopper to actually touch their package. The shopper is more likely to buy a product once they touch it, and how the packaging looks and feels in their hand impacts that impulse. In-store activities have a big impact on trial, with 20% of shoppers reporting that they have tried a new product specifically because of in-store taste samples or an in-store display.

Online Purchases and Shopper Packaging Expectations
Online and offline experiences must mirror each other as primary shoppers expect nothing less from brands. Whether they are purchasing products on the Internet or pulling an item from a retail shelf, the packaging and experience should be the same.

-Forty-seven percent of shoppers expect the product image to match the product packaging that arrives on their doorstep
-Only 9% of survey respondents were OK with packaging that was a different color of pack type
-Twenty-six percent of primary shoppers who had returned product based on the packaging reported that they did so because they thought it looked wrong or was counterfeit

“Data and insights on what shoppers like helps fuel innovative product designs with strong value propositions through packaging, but knowing how shoppers want to receive products is also critical piece of the story,” says Senior Director of Global Brand Sales, John Elworthy. “Without knowing the means by which shoppers want to receive products, marketers and brand leaders risk losing out on revenue opportunities.”

Esko’s President, Udo Panenka agrees, “And by connecting the packaging value chain through the latest packaging technologies, fast-moving consumer goods companies will be able to better connect to consumers and elevate their brand experiences and both premedia and converters will better understand the product standards consumers expect and can work more seamless with brand owners to provide them. This helps to make packaging the enabler to satisfy consumer needs rather than being a cost driver or a headache”.
(Esko Belgium)

Newsgrafik #120757
 06.08.2018

Sappi to fund research on Artificial Intelligence and bringing carbon emissions to net zero in the..  (Company news)

...paper and pulp industry

Sappi to fund research on Artificial Intelligence and bringing carbon emissions to net zero in the paper and pulp industry as one of the founding partners of The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme

Photo: Dame Polly Courtice, Director of the CISL

Sappi Limited, a leading global producer of dissolving wood pulp, speciality and packaging papers, graphic (printing and writing) paper and biomaterials, is pleased to announce its support as one of the founding partners of The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme.

The 3-5 year fellowships, announced last week by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), will attract academics from around the world to identify breakthrough solutions to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At launch eight Fellowships have been funded.

The Sappi supported Fellowship will focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goal “Reshaping the future of industry” (SDG9). It aims to build on Sappi’s current engagement with the CISL by investigating how trends of innovation and sustainability will come together to reshape the future of industry – looking at the paper and pulp industry as an initial example and examining drivers including the rise of artificial intelligence and the need to bring carbon emissions to net zero.

Commenting on Sappi’s decision to become a Founding Partner of the Fellowship Steve Binnie, Chief Executive Officer of Sappi Limited, said:
“We have been engaging at a group and European level with Dame Polly Courtice and the CISL team since 2013. They have helped and supported our European industry efforts related to the Green Growth Platform, the development of a new low carbon pulp technology (DES), exploring financing options to support industry’s transformation and investigating block-chain technology for timber certification.” He continued “The challenge for the pulp and paper industry is how to be much more effective than today, both in our journey towards durable sustainability and to the need for economic vitality and employment for future generations. This Fellowship programme and the research it will deliver will help take this work forward. We live in an age of hyper-innovation and we take responsibility for making it work positively. That is why we have chosen a subject which joins the desire and need for sustainable materials with the most revolutionary technology to appear for over a generation – that of Artificial Intelligence. We anticipate that the Fellowship programme will deliver students with a profound knowledge and understanding of these issues which will help drive new solutions for us and others, creating exciting opportunities far into the future.”

CISL, a 30-year old Institute with 80 staff and a network of 8,000 alumni and 250 companies, will host the Fellowship Programme alongside its existing industry collaborations and executive education programmes to foster an exchange of knowledge and ideas.

Speaking at the launch of the Fellowship, Dame Polly Courtice, Director of the CISL said: “The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme will create a rich intellectual space for collaboration between researchers and industry as we seek breakthrough ideas and leadership actions to towards meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.

Over and above Sappi’s topic of Industrial Transformation, the other confirmed research topics include Social and Environmental Accounting; Investing in Sustainable Communities; Sustainable Health; Radical Innovation and Disruption; The Role of Responsible Business in the Community; Inclusive Growth; Pathways to a Circular Economy.
(Sappi Limited)

Newsgrafik #120759
 06.08.2018

2018 first half-year results - Bobst Group reports 19% higher sales with 10% lower net result ...  (Company news)

... compared to first half of 2017

-Sales up 19% compared to H1 2017
-EBIT decreased to CHF 35.2 million from CHF 39.8 million in 2017
-Net result was CHF 24.9 million compared with CHF 27.7 million in 2017
-Order entries increased by 13% and backlog by 14% compared to previous year.

Bobst Group recorded very good first half-year sales of CHF 762.5 million for the first six months of 2018, compared to CHF 643.2 million in the first half of 2017. The operating result (EBIT) decreased by CHF 4.6 million to CHF 35.2 million. The net result reached CHF 24.9 million, down from CHF 27.7 million in the previous year. Order entries increased by 13% and the order backlog is 14% higher than in the previous year. The Group has lowered its 2018 full year profit guidance and expects to achieve an operating result (EBIT) of higher than CHF 90 million for the full year 2018 (compared to slightly higher than CHF 119 million in 2017).

During the first half of 2018, consolidated sales amounted to CHF 762.5 million, representing an increase of CHF 119.3 million, or +18.6%, compared with the same period in 2017. This evolution was mainly driven by a high backlog at the beginning of the year and an overall good level of activity in all three Business Units. Volume and price variances had a positive impact of CHF 93.2 million, or +14.5%. An improvement of CHF 0.2 million came from the creation of two new entities in Vietnam and in the Netherlands.

The exchange rates had an overall positive impact on sales of CHF 25.9 million. The evolution due to the conversion of foreign currencies for consolidation accounts for CHF 19.7 million, or +3.1%, and the transactional impact on sales volume from our Swiss operations accounts for CHF 6.2 million, or +1.0%.

The operating result (EBIT) reached CHF 35.2 million compared with CHF 39.8 million for the same period in 2017. An unfavorable product mix, the ramp-up of the digital printing activities as well as further investments to strengthen the Group’s sales and service network, and capabilities in growing markets, more than compensated the positive contribution from higher sales, leading to the reduction of the operating result (EBIT).

Business Unit Sheet-fed increased its operating result (EBIT) by CHF 17.1 million to reach CHF 29.7 million due to the strong increase in sales in the first half of the year and an optimal utilization of the industrial capacities. Business Unit Web-fed continues to have an unfavorable product mix and high pressure on margins. The ramp-up of the new site in China and of the product lines structure, as well as higher than expected restructuring efforts at one of our German entities, had also a negative impact on the Business Unit’s profitability. The operating result (EBIT) was CHF -20.2 million in the first half of 2018 compared to CHF -5.3 million in the first six months of 2017. Business Unit Services has significantly increased the number of field service technicians and technical support people, according with the Group’s strategy. The induction and training costs have a negative impact on the Business Unit’s operating result (EBIT), which was CHF 27.4 million in H1 2018 compared with CHF 33.2 million in the same period in 2017. All three Business Units have higher costs due to the ramp-up of the Group’s digital printing activities (Mouvent) which have been part of BOBST since June 1st, 2017.

Net result reached CHF 24.9 million, compared to CHF 27.7 million in 2017. The decrease in net result is mainly due to lower operating result (EBIT) and lower result from associates.

Net cash reduced to CHF 31.8 million from CHF 132.9 million at the end of 2017. This is mainly due to dividends paid and temporarily higher inventories for machines to be invoiced in the second half of the year. The consolidated shareholders’ equity reached 35.0% of the total balance sheet, compared to 35.6% at the end of 2017.

BUSINESS ACTIVITY AND OUTLOOK BY BUSINESS UNIT
Business Unit Sheet-fed
Total bookings follow a positive trend with an increase of 13% compared to the same period in 2017 and a continuous good performance in the corrugated board industry, with 17% increase; folding carton is at a similar level with good potential for the rest of the year. Mature markets continue to lead the growth, with North America showing better result than last year, with 25% increase. China has improved bookings by more than 35%, due to the new China 4.0 strategy implemented in the first quarter of this year, and expects good results for the months to come, with the last successful Open House held in June at the Shanghai premises.

Thanks to the opportunity to ship machines very early in the year, the first half of 2018 was very strong, with an improvement in sales of 29% versus last year, in both corrugated board and folding carton industries, mainly in the mature markets with North America ahead by more than 50% in comparison with last year. In the emerging markets, only China is doing better than last year, due to the new China 4.0 strategy.

Overall the outlook for the full year is promising, based upon the current backlog and an expected solid second half. There will of course be challenges still to meet, especially for the hot foil stamping products and part of the emerging markets, especially Middle East and Africa.

Business Unit Web-fed
Business activity in flexible materials remains at a good level with regards to bookings, with an increase of 13% compared to the previous year. There were no significant changes in the market compared to 2017. Mature countries remain in line with the expected volumes. In the emerging countries, except for a slow start in South-East Asia, Africa and Middle East, the remaining countries are at a good level of activity.

Business Unit Web-fed participated in numerous international exhibitions, such as Plast India in Ahmedabad, Plast Print Pack in Karachi, Expo Print in São Paolo, amongst others. The roadshows with partners organized in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Central and South Americas were well attended and welcomed by prospects and customers.

In May, the new China plant and Competence Center in Changzhou was inaugurated. This new infrastructure will allow Business Unit Web-fed to increase its footprint in Asia and to better serve the local market.

First half-year sales increased by 12% compared with the same period in 2017 but with a completely different, and less favorable product mix. The Business Unit expects a very busy second half of the year leading to an even more unbalanced situation than in previous years.

In order to reach an ambitious growth plan until 2020, the overall structure of the product lines was reinforced to support the future growth.

Business Unit Services
First half-year sales for the Business Unit Services were 7% above the same period in 2017. In the European markets, the business volume increased, mainly through more maintenance programs, machinery inspections and contracts for remote troubleshooting and monitoring.

The emerging markets, such as Middle East and Africa (MENA) and India, recorded the highest growth rates. It reflects the efficiency of the new organization’s implementation and the standardization of business processes, which have increased customer satisfaction. While MENA and India grew by more than 25% compared to 2017, North America showed only a slight increase in service business. In Japan and South East Asia, overall service business is stagnating compared to 2017. We expect to see normal business development for the second half of 2018, if no major changes in the world economy or exchange rates occur.

The Business Unit Services will continue to increase in competencies to support the worldwide growth of machine installations and increasing demands of customers. The focus for the remainder of 2018 will therefore be to ‘hire, train and retain’ service technicians, to further optimize the distribution centers in Asia and in North America, and to continue to further improve customer satisfaction.

OUTLOOK FOR THE SECOND HALF OF 2018
The Group expects to see continued good demand for its products and services, leading to a very active second half of 2018 in nearly all plants. Based on the strong sales growth and a good overall market situation, the Group has accelerated some measures to:
-Invest in quality upgrades on some new products launched in recent years;
-Launch a range of digital printing products;
-Strengthen its activities in Internet-of-Things (IoT);
-Increase its sales and service network, and capabilities in growing markets.

All these measures, combined with an unfavorable product mix in Business Unit Web-fed, and higher than expected restructuring efforts at one of our German entities, have a significant negative impact on the Group’s 2018 profitability.

At current exchange rates, and barring unforeseen circumstances, the Group expects to improve its full year 2018 sales by 5-7% compared to 2017, which is at the higher end of the guidance issued at the end of February 2018. The guidance for the full year operating result (EBIT) which was “slightly higher than previous year (CHF 119 million)”, has to be reduced due to the aforementioned reasons. The Group expects to achieve an operating result (EBIT) higher than CHF 90 million for the full year 2018.

The mid- to long-term financial targets of at least 8% operating result (EBIT) and a minimum 20% return on capital employed (ROCE) remain unchanged.
(Bobst Mex SA)

Newsgrafik #120805
 06.08.2018

ANDRITZ successfully starts up new production technologies and equipment for the extension of ...  (Company news)

... SCA’s Östrand pulp mill, Sweden

ANDRITZ supplied the following equipment for the SCA Östrand mill:
-a complete debarking plant with two parallel debarking and chipping lines each consisting of a PowerFeed de-icing conveyor, a hydrostatically supported debarking drum for a capacity of 425 m3 sob/h and measuring 5.5 x 39 meters, and a horizontally fed, XL-size HHQ-Chipper operating with a TK-IV knife system. The delivery also includes two new-generation HQ-Press bark presses resulting in excellent bark dry content, as well as modernization of the existing chip handling system;

-the new innovative EvoDry pulp drying system with its energy-saving technologies that substantially reduce the mill’s operating costs, including a boiler exhaust energy recovery system, fine screening, a twin wire dewatering system with a fully automatic tail threading system to meet strictest health, safety, and environmental regulations, a new-generation sheet dryer for lowest downtime and fast start up, as well as a cutter and two baling lines;

-new recausticizing machinery including a LimeGreen green liquor filter enabling efficient green liquor filtration with a minimum of waste going to landfill, two LimeFree centrifuges for dregs, LimeSlake technology, LimeWhite white liquor disc filter to optimize white liquor quality, and LimeDry lime mud disc filter upgrade;

-ANDRITZ LimeFlash technology, enabling a substantial increase in the capacity of the existing lime kiln without the need to invest in a new lime kiln. The delivery also included upgrade of the existing wood dust burning system, which ANDRITZ supplied in 2011 in order to support the new increased lime kiln capacity.

-substantial increase in the recovery boiler capacity from 3,300 to 5,000 tds/d. The existing boiler was supplied by ANDRITZ in 2006 and had already been designed to enable a major extension by moving the boiler side wall and widening the heating surfaces of the superheater, boiler generation bank, and economizers. The boiler extension by moving the side wall allows optimum flue gas flux before and after the rebuild, which has great benefits compared to traditional technology for expanding the recovery boiler by moving its front wall. The total increase of the boiler width was 3.8 meters. In addition to boiler enlargement, one additional ESP°(electrostatic precipitator) chamber and feed water pump were added.

The mill expansion was one of the largest industrial investments in Sweden and the largest ever in northern Sweden. SCA Östrand is doubling its annual production capacity from 430,000 to 900,000°tons, thereby becoming the largest mill in the world for softwood kraft pulp.
(Andritz AG)

Newsgrafik #120701
 03.08.2018

Drytac SpotOn SynPaper speeds into the future at Shell Eco-marathon  (Company news)

Drytac's SpotOn SynPaper felt the need for speed at Shell's Eco-marathon in London last month, where it was used for eye-catching vehicle graphics on innovative racing car designs.

The Shell Eco-marathon brought together 143 teams of young engineers from 24 countries at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from July 5th to 8th 2018, where they put their STEM skills to the test to attempt record-breaking levels of energy efficiency in one-seater cars. The event was covered live on social media, with viewers around the world able to see the skills of drivers and technicians close-up.

As a main sponsor for the event, HP provided all the PC and printing equipment for the student teams to produce their own graphics, including an HP PageWide XL large-format printer running Drytac's SpotOn SynPaper. As a product designed specifically for this HP system, SpotOn SynPaper was the material of choice for the vehicle decals speeding around the track.

A printable, matte white, self-adhesive film, SpotOn SynPaper has been developed to be incredibly easy to apply with a bubble-free finish - which meant the Eco-marathon teams could install their graphics themselves. The cars were made from a variety of materials, including polystyrene and silk fibres, in order to achieve the highest speeds with the lowest amount of energy.

Drytac has also ensured that SpotOn SynPaper, as a polypropylene film, is recyclable - in keeping with the sustainability ethos of Shell's Eco-marathon programme.

In addition to one-off uses such as the car stickers at the Eco-marathon event, SpotOn SynPaper is ideal for vibrant short-term wall and window applications like seasonal retail promotions and trade show graphics. It is simple and clean to remove, thanks to its smart dot pattern and pressure-sensitive polyacrylate adhesive.

"The Shell Eco-marathon was a really exciting event with the innovation of the teams matched by the speeds of the cars," comments Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager for Drytac. "We love to see unusual applications for our products and Drytac SpotOn SynPaper graphics, printed on HP PageWide XL technology, worked brilliantly on the track. The event was all about the energy-efficient cars of the future, making it a great setting for our advanced graphics media."

Drytac SpotOn SynPaper produces excellent results with aqueous and UV inkjet printers, delivering twelve months' durability for interior applications. The 120 micron-thick material is available in 1,016mm-wide rolls.
(Drytac Europe Limited)

Newsgrafik #120745
 03.08.2018

Sappi commits to significant investment programme in KwaZulu Natal economy  (Company news)

Sappi Limited, a leading global producer of dissolving wood pulp, specialities and packaging papers, printing and writing papers and biomaterials headquartered in South Africa, has provided further details regarding capital investments at its Saiccor Mill (photo) in Umkomaas, south of Durban. The investments include a R2,7 billion capacity expansion project and a planned R5 billion over five years in various continuous improvement initiatives and upgrade projects.

Explaining the background to the investment decision, Sappi Limited Group CEO Steve Binnie said: “Sappi has seen significant benefits in serving its global customers from its South African operations. Sappi had invested some R4.3 billion from 2012 to 2018 to increase its dissolving pulp capacity in South Africa. This global market has shown such strong growth that Sappi will again increase capacity in South Africa by investing R2.7 billion at Saiccor during 2018 and 2019.”

He concluded by saying: “Sappi, which contributes 1% of South Africa’s total foreign revenue from its South African operations and supplies the fruit export industry with most of their packaging requirements which contributes around 4% to the country’s foreign revenue, is pleased to be able to support President Ramaphosa’s call for significant investment into the South African economy.”

“In addition to expanding capacity” says Alex Thiel, CEO of Sappi Southern Africa “Sappi is planning to invest R5 billion over the next five years through maintenance and upgrade projects to decrease production costs, introduce new technology, optimise processes and future-proof manufacturing systems at Saiccor Mill. These investments will secure the mill’s future by increasing its global cost competitiveness and significant reducing its environmental footprint.”

Thiel confirmed that Sappi was currently in the process of engaging with the relevant authorities and consulting with communities and various other stakeholders to obtain the required support for the planned investments, collectively known as Project Vulindlela; chosen to emphasise that the projects pave the way for additional future investment.

With reference to the cost and environmental benefits, Thiel stated: “The ongoing cost savings we will derive from these projects amount to at least R300m per annum. With reference to the environmental benefits of the projects, CO2 emissions will be cut in half and waste to landfill will reduce by 48%. In addition, SO2 emissions will reduce by 35% and water use efficiency will increase by 17%. All of this while earning more revenue for the province and country and providing a secure future to our workforce, their families and the communities where they live.”

Saiccor Mill and Sappi Forests which sources and supplies the timber required by the mill are already major contributors to the KZN economy through job creation, community investment, local supplier programmes, world-class research and development facilities and training and development programmes. In total Sappi’s KZN operations comprising three mills, forestry operations and sales and export services provides a direct contribution of some R12 billion per annum to the KZN economy. This number rises to R60 billion per annum when reflecting indirect benefits. Project Vulindlela will add a further R1 billion per annum direct benefit to the KZN economy.

“Saiccor produces dissolving wood pulp from which our customers produce items such as textiles, pharmaceutical, beauty and household products” says Thiel.

Vulindlela will increase the mills production from 780 000 tons to 890 000 tons per year, and is expected to create employment opportunities for local job seekers through construction companies and business prospects for entrepreneurs from the local communities around the Mill. During the peak period of the project, there will be between 2,500 and 2,800 contractors working on site at one time. The projects will include a new evaporator, recovery boiler and screening and washing plant, along with upgrades to bleach plant and pulp machines, improved recovery circuits and additional magnesium digesters.

In January 2018, Sappi launched its Skills Centre near Saiccor Mill to create training and upskilling opportunities for the workforce and for local youth. As part of Project Vulindlela, all general workers seeking employment through Sappi or its contractors will be required to attend training at the Sappi Skills Centre where they will receive basic skills required for job opportunities during Project Vulindlela. This training from Sappi will provide community members with the necessary skills to become more employable or to start their own businesses.

“The commitment we had made and implemented during our previous expansion remains” says Thiel ‘The majority of the workforce will be local community residents employed by contractors on the project”. In addition, many other services and products required during the construction phase and beyond will be sourced from local emerging businesses.
(Sappi Limited)

Newsgrafik #120746
 03.08.2018

Packaging Corporation of America Reports Second Quarter 2018 Results  (Company news)

Packaging Corporation of America (NYSE: PKG) reported second quarter 2018 net income of $187 million, or $1.97 per share and net income of $197 million, or $2.08 per share, excluding special items. Second quarter net sales were $1.8 billion in 2018 and $1.6 billion in 2017.

Reported earnings include $.11 per share of special items expense in the second quarter of 2018, primarily for certain costs related to discontinuing paper operations associated with the previously announced conversion of the No. 3 paper machine at our Wallula, Washington mill to linerboard, and no special items expense in the second quarter of 2017. Excluding special items, the $.56 per share increase in second quarter 2018 earnings compared to second quarter 2017 was driven primarily by higher prices and mix $.47 and volumes $.26 in our Packaging segment, higher prices and mix in our Paper segment $.05, lower wood and recycled fiber costs $.07, and a favorable tax rate $.16 primarily resulting from Tax Reform changes. These items were partially offset by higher operating costs ($.24), higher freight expense ($.09), Wallula No. 3 paper machine conversion-related costs ($.04), higher converting costs ($.02), higher annual outage expenses ($.01), higher depreciation ($.02), and other costs ($.03).

Results were $.12 above second quarter guidance of $1.96 per share primarily due to higher prices and mix and higher volumes in our Packaging and Paper segments and lower mill operating costs.

In the Packaging segment, total corrugated products shipments with one additional workday were up 8.3% and shipments per day were up 6.6% over last year’s second quarter. Containerboard production was 1,019,000 tons, and containerboard inventory was up 8,000 tons from the first quarter of 2018 and up 54,000 tons compared to the second quarter of 2017, partially due to the addition of recently acquired Sacramento Container. In the Paper segment, compared to the second quarter of 2017, office paper and printing and converting paper sales volumes were flat and inventories were lower by 33,000 tons.

Commenting on reported results, Mark W. Kowlzan (photo), Chairman and CEO, said, “Packaging segment demand remained strong with all-time record sales volumes in both our containerboard mills and corrugated products plants. Our price increases in the Packaging segment were realized sooner than last year’s second quarter due to the index changing a month earlier this year as well as an accelerated implementation. Additionally, our price increases in the Paper segment were also realized more quickly than anticipated. The benefits of these strong market conditions helped us offset higher inflation in many of our operating and converting costs and higher freight expenses. The scheduled maintenance outages at two of our containerboard mills went very well, and the first phase of our linerboard conversion work on the No. 3 paper machine at our Wallula Mill was executed extremely well both from a ramp-up curve perspective as well as an operating cost perspective.”

“Looking ahead as we move from the second and into the third quarter,” Mr. Kowlzan added, “we anticipate continued strong demand in our Packaging segment, however corrugated products shipments will have one less shipping day during the quarter. Although the majority of our previously announced price increases were recognized in the second quarter, we expect to implement most of the remaining portion during the third quarter. In the Paper segment, we expect to complete the implementation of our previously announced paper price increase, although volumes should be lower than normal during this seasonally stronger period as we manage our already tight inventory levels around the scheduled outage at our Jackson Mill. Finally, we should have lower operating costs related to the No. 3 machine at our Wallula Mill as the first phase of the conversion is now behind us. We expect continued inflation in most of our operating costs, including slightly higher recycled fiber prices and incremental wage pressure with a tighter labor market. In addition, we anticipate higher freight and logistics expenses, higher scheduled maintenance outage costs, as well as a slightly higher tax rate. Considering these items, we expect third quarter earnings of $2.14 per share.”
(PCA Packaging Corporation of America)

Newsgrafik #120747
 03.08.2018

Graphic Packaging Holding Company Reports Second Quarter 2018 Results  (Company news)

Highlights
-Q2 Net Sales were $1,509.3 million versus $1,094.7 million in the prior year period.
-Q2 Earnings per Diluted Share were $0.16 versus $0.14 in the prior year period.
-Q2 Adjusted Earnings per Diluted Share were $0.18 versus $0.15 in the prior year period.
-Q2 Net Income was $49.4 million versus $42.0 million in the prior year period.
-Q2 Adjusted EBITDA was $235.8 million versus $170.6 million in the prior year period.
-Integration of the SBS mill and foodservice converting assets remains on track; executing on targeted $75 million of synergies that are expected to be achieved by the end of year three.
-Completed acquisition of PFP, LLC on June 12, 2018; expanding position in the growing paperboard-based air filter frame market.

Graphic Packaging Holding Company (NYSE: GPK), (the "Company"), a leading provider of packaging solutions to food, beverage, foodservice, and other consumer products companies, reported Net Income for second quarter 2018 of $49.4 million, or $0.16 per share, based upon 311.3 million weighted average diluted shares. This compares to second quarter 2017 Net Income of $42.0 million, or $0.14 per share, based on 311.1 million weighted average diluted shares.

Second quarter 2018 Net Income was negatively impacted by a net $5.1 million of special charges that are detailed in the attached Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures table. When adjusting for these charges, Adjusted Net Income for the second quarter of 2018 was $54.5 million, or $0.18 per diluted share. This compares to second quarter 2017 Adjusted Net Income of $46.4 million or $0.15 per diluted share.

"We reported solid results in the second quarter reflecting strong performance improvements, steady volume, and continued favorable momentum from the solid bleached sulfate (SBS) mill and foodservice converting assets. Second quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $236 million included a negative $6 million impact from unplanned outages at our Augusta, Georgia, SBS mill, which occurred in late June and were associated with power interruption to the facility. The second quarter results met our expectations for the quarter before the impact of the unplanned outages," said President and CEO Michael Doss (photo).

"The business operated well in the quarter generating $19 million in performance improvements. The integration of the SBS mill and foodservice converting assets remains on track, and we are executing on the targeted year one synergies, specifically SG&A reductions and paperboard integration. Pricing improved by $8 million during the quarter reflecting the benefits of recent pricing initiatives. Importantly, we successfully implemented a second open market price increase this year for our coated recycled paperboard (CRB) grade during the quarter, and announced a second open market price increase in 2018 on our coated unbleached kraft paperboard (CUK) grade in July. We expect the successful open market paperboard price increases we achieved across our CRB, CUK, and SBS paperboard grades in the first quarter coupled with the continued positive pricing developments in the second quarter, will drive a positive pricing to commodity input cost relationship starting in the second half of 2018. We remain focused on offsetting our commodity input cost inflation with pricing initiatives over time, consistent with our long term track record."

Operating Results

Net Sales

Net Sales increased 38% to $1,509.3 million in the second quarter of 2018, compared to $1,094.7 million in the prior year period. The $414.6 million increase was driven by $360.1 million of revenue from the SBS mill and foodservice converting assets, $37.0 million of improved volume/mix related primarily to acquisitions, $9.5 million of favorable foreign exchange, and $8.0 million of higher pricing.

Attached is supplemental data highlighting Net Tons Sold for the first and second quarter of 2018 and for each quarter of 2017.

EBITDA

EBITDA for the second quarter of 2018 was $227.2 million, or $62.7 million higher than the second quarter of 2017. After adjusting both periods for business combinations and other special charges, Adjusted EBITDA increased 38% to $235.8 million in the second quarter of 2018 from $170.6 million in the second quarter of 2017. When comparing against the prior year quarter, Adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter of 2018 was positively impacted by $54.5 million of Adjusted EBITDA from the SBS mill and foodservice converting assets, $19.4 million of improved net operating performance, and $8.0 million of higher pricing. These benefits were partially offset by $11.6 million of commodity input cost inflation (primarily freight) and $5.7 million of other inflation (primarily labor and benefits).

Other Results

Net Cash Used in Operating Activities was a negative $300.2 million during the first half of 2018, compared to negative $103.9 million during the first half of 2017. Adjusting for the new GAAP guidelines related to the classification of certain cash receipts and payments associated with our receivables securitization and sale programs and the cash payments associated with special charges, Adjusted Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities was a positive $206.5 million during the first half of 2018, compared to a positive $177.3 million during the first half of 2017.

Total Debt (Long-Term, Short-Term and Current Portion) decreased $124.0 million during the second quarter of 2018 to $2,987.8 million compared to the first quarter 2018. Total Net Debt (Total Debt, net of Cash and Cash Equivalents) decreased $122.4 million during the second quarter of 2018 to $2,936.9 million compared to the first quarter 2018. The Company's second quarter pro forma 2018 Net Leverage Ratio was 3.0 times Adjusted EBITDA compared to 3.3 times at the end of first quarter 2018.

At June 30, 2018, the Company had available global liquidity of $1,164 million, including the undrawn availability under its global revolving credit facilities.

Net Interest Expense was $30.3 million in the second quarter of 2018, up compared to the $22.5 million reported in the second quarter of 2017, primarily reflecting the $660 million of debt assumed from the combination with the SBS mill and foodservice converting assets and higher average borrowing rates.

Capital expenditures for the second quarter of 2018 were $81.3 million compared to $68.4 million in the second quarter of 2017.

Second quarter 2018 Income Tax Expense was $18.5 million, compared to a $23.6 million expense in the second quarter of 2017.
(Graphic Packaging Holding Company)

News-Paginierung #2