|By PR Newswire||
|February 5, 2014 01:18 AM EST||
JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Financial summary for the quarter
- Profit for the period US$18 million (Q1 2013 US$12 million)
- EPS excluding special items 2 US cents (Q1 2013 3 US cents)
- EBITDA excluding special items US$147 million (Q1 2013 US$159 million)
- Net debt US$2,348 million (Q1 2013 US$2,095 million)
Commenting on the result, Sappi (JSE: SAP) Chief Executive Officer Ralph Boettger said:
"The group returned to positive earnings in the quarter with an EBITDA excluding special items of US$147 million, an operating profit excluding special items of US$60 million and a profit for the period of US$18 million.
"We continue to generate good returns in the Specialised Cellulose business and the dissolving wood pulp market experienced strong demand in an increasingly competitive market. Conditions are generally difficult in the global graphic paper markets, in line with our expectations in Europe and more challenging than anticipated in North America.
"The past year has reinforced the importance of our strategy to reposition Sappi for growth, higher margins, improved profitability, and with less reliance on graphic paper. The two major dissolving wood pulp conversion projects are both now contributing to earnings and profitability, whilst the paper businesses, although dealing with difficult market conditions, continue to generate cash that will enable us to reduce debt.
"Capital expenditure for the full year is expected to be less than US$300 million and, along with the expected improvement in profitability when compared to the prior year, should allow the group to reduce debt levels to approximately US$2 billion by the end of the fiscal year.
"Our outlook for the year continues to be one of improved profitability for the 2014 financial year when compared to 2013."
Key figures: (US$ million)
Operating profit (loss)
Special items – (gains) losses **
Operating profit excluding special items**
EBITDA excluding special items **
Profit (loss) for the period
Basic earnings (loss) per share (US cents)
Key ratios: (%)
Operating profit (loss) to sales
Operating profit excluding special items to sales
Operating profit excluding special items to capital employed (ROCE)
EBITDA excluding special items to sales
Return on average equity (ROE)**
Net debt to total capitalisation**
Net asset value per share (US cents)
* During the year, the group adopted IAS 19 (Revised) Employee Benefits. Refer to the group results for the accounting policy change.
** Refer to the published results for details on special items, the definition of the terms and the reconciliation of EBITDA excluding special items to profit/loss for the period.
The table above has not been audited or reviewed.
The quarter under review
The group has benefited from the strategic decision to invest in and grow the Specialised Cellulose business, with 286kt of dissolving wood pulp sold during the quarter (an increase of 63% over the equivalent quarter last year), generating US$74 million in EBITDA excluding special items at an EBITDA margin of 30%. We continue to benefit from our low cost position at each of our dissolving wood pulp mills and the weaker Rand/Dollar exchange rate during the quarter.
The South African business had another good quarter, benefiting from additional sales volumes in the Specialised Cellulose business from the Ngodwana Mill, the weaker Rand/Dollar exchange rate and a gradual improvement in the paper business. The European business returned to a small operating profit after three quarters of losses, with a reduction in fixed cost offsetting lower selling prices. The North American business experienced a difficult quarter, with volume and price declines in the paper segment as well as increased variable costs leading to a small operating loss.
NBSK paper pulp list prices, to which most of our dissolving wood pulp sales are linked, increased during the quarter, reaching its highest levels in two years. Due to the competitive nature of the market and weak viscose pricing, we expect increased pressure on our NBSK linked prices going forward.
Net debt of US$2,348 million is up, compared both to the prior quarter, US$2,214 million, and the equivalent quarter last year, US$2,095 million, as a result of the seasonal increase in cash utilisation, and the past year's capital expenditure respectively.
The strategic actions to reduce costs and improve our profitability enabled the European business to return to an operating profit this quarter. The paper market remains tough, with demand continuing to decline and pricing under pressure, particularly in a strong Euro/Dollar exchange rate environment. The Alfeld PM2 conversion to speciality paper has been completed with successful trial runs and customer quality acceptance.
The North American business experienced a challenging quarter, and the graphic paper business was particularly difficult with lower sales volumes and prices in very competitive markets. Domestic coated freesheet paper demand in North America declined some 5% compared to the prior year, and whilst our sales declined by less than this, the loss of volume and a decline in coated web pricing over the past year had a significant impact. Higher cost purchased fibre also impacted paper costs compared to the prior year.
Dissolving wood pulp production and sales volumes were close to full capacity with excellent quality. In optimising the global Specialised Cellulose business we have seen lower average pricing and higher logistics costs in our North American operation, resulting in lower average returns for the business in North America.
The Southern African Specialised Cellulose business continues to perform well, and this quarter included sales from the recently converted Ngodwana Mill for the first time. Average net selling prices for dissolving wood pulp were flat compared to the prior quarter, but significantly higher than for the equivalent quarter in the prior year due to higher NBSK reference prices as well as a weaker Rand/Dollar exchange rate. The South African paper business returned to profitability, aided by the weaker Rand/Dollar exchange rate. However, the local graphic paper market remains weak, with continued cost pressure and a competitive import market. The domestic packaging market, though seasonally weaker in this quarter, continues to see good demand levels and improved pricing.
There were no major special items for the quarter. The gain of US$10 million included a positive plantation fair value price adjustment of US$8 million and an asset impairment reversal of US$2 million. Finance costs of US$48 million were in line with the restated equivalent quarter last year. Earnings per share for the quarter was 3 US cents (including a gain of 1 US cent in respect of special items), compared to 2 US cents (including a charge of 1 US cent in respect of special items) in the equivalent quarter last year.
Both the European and South African paper businesses returned to profitability during the quarter and we expect to see further improvement in the performance of these paper businesses. Plans are in place to return the North American paper business to previous profitability levels.
Paper markets are expected to remain challenging for the remainder of the year and we continue to focus on costs across all our regions, with each of them striving to ensure they are amongst the lowest cost producers in their respective markets.
Demand in the Specialised Cellulose business is expected to remain firm, but with continued pressure on pricing. Currency, particularly the Rand/Dollar exchange rate will continue to remain a factor in the overall profitability of this business.
The full results announcement is available at www.sappi.com
There will be a conference call to which investors are invited. Full details are available at www.sappi.com using the links Investor Info; Investor Calendar; 1Q14 Financial Results
Certain statements in this release that are neither reported financial results nor other historical information, are forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements that are predictions of or indicate future earnings, savings, synergies, events, trends, plans or objectives. The words "believe", "anticipate", "expect", "intend", "estimate", "plan", "assume", "positioned", "will", "may", "should", "risk" and other similar expressions, which are predictions of or indicate future events and future trends and which do not relate to historical matters, and may be used to identify forward-looking statements. You should not rely on forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which are in some cases beyond our control and may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from anticipated future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements (and from past results, performance or achievements). Certain factors that may cause such differences include but are not limited to:
the highly cyclical nature of the pulp and paper industry (and the factors that contribute to such cyclicality, such as levels of demand, production capacity, production, input costs including raw material, energy and employee costs, and pricing);
- the impact on our business of the global economic downturn;
- unanticipated production disruptions (including as a result of planned or unexpected power outages);
- changes in environmental, tax and other laws and regulations;
- adverse changes in the markets for our products;
- the emergence of new technologies and changes in consumer trends including increased preferences for digital media;
- consequences of our leverage, including as a result of adverse changes in credit markets that affect our ability to raise capital when needed;
- adverse changes in the political situation and economy in the countries in which we operate or the effect of governmental efforts to address present or future economic or social problems;
- the impact of restructurings, investments, acquisitions, dispositions and other strategic initiatives (including related financing), any delays, unexpected costs or other problems experienced in connection with dispositions or with integrating acquisitions or implementing restructuring or strategic initiatives (including our announced dissolving wood pulp conversion projects), and achieving expected savings and synergies; and
- currency fluctuations.
We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any of these forward-looking statements, whether to reflect new information or future events or circumstances or otherwise.
For further information
Andre F Oberholzer
Group Head Corporate Affairs
Tel +27 (0)11 407 8044
Mobile +27 (0)83 235 2973
Group Head Investor Relations and Sustainability
Tel +27 (0)11 407 8391
Mobile +27 (0)83 320 8624
PO Box 31560
Tel +28 (0)11 407 8111
SOURCE Sappi Limited
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Jan. 19, 2017 01:15 AM EST Reads: 6,091
Due of the rise of Hadoop, many enterprises are now deploying their first small clusters of 10 to 20 servers. At this small scale, the complexity of operating the cluster looks and feels like general data center servers. It is not until the clusters scale, as they inevitably do, when the pain caused by the exponential complexity becomes apparent. We've seen this problem occur time and time again. In his session at Big Data Expo, Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ...
Jan. 19, 2017 01:15 AM EST Reads: 7,785
Security, data privacy, reliability, and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house, client-hosted environments to a cloud platform. Quality assurance plays a vital role in ensuring that the appropriate level of risk assessment, verification, and validation takes place to ensure business continuity during the migration to a new cloud platform.
Jan. 19, 2017 01:00 AM EST Reads: 1,273
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 19, 2017 12:45 AM EST Reads: 4,659
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and containers together help companies achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of Dev...
Jan. 19, 2017 12:00 AM EST Reads: 4,174
One of the hottest areas in cloud right now is DRaaS and related offerings. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Dale Levesque, Disaster Recovery Product Manager with Windstream's Cloud and Data Center Marketing team, will discuss the benefits of the cloud model, which far outweigh the traditional approach, and how enterprises need to ensure that their needs are properly being met.
Jan. 18, 2017 11:15 PM EST Reads: 4,464
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
Jan. 18, 2017 09:45 PM EST Reads: 6,513
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
Jan. 18, 2017 09:30 PM EST Reads: 5,743
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Jan. 18, 2017 09:30 PM EST Reads: 7,628
In their general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Michael Piccininni, Global Account Manager - Cloud SP at EMC Corporation, and Mike Dietze, Regional Director at Windstream Hosted Solutions, reviewed next generation cloud services, including the Windstream-EMC Tier Storage solutions, and discussed how to increase efficiencies, improve service delivery and enhance corporate cloud solution development. Michael Piccininni is Global Account Manager – Cloud SP at EMC Corporation. He has been engaged in t...
Jan. 18, 2017 08:15 PM EST Reads: 4,859
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Jan. 18, 2017 07:30 PM EST Reads: 3,148
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
Jan. 18, 2017 06:15 PM EST Reads: 4,197
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
Jan. 18, 2017 05:30 PM EST Reads: 4,886
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
Jan. 18, 2017 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,168
Hardware virtualization and cloud computing allowed us to increase resource utilization and increase our flexibility to respond to business demand. Docker Containers are the next quantum leap - Are they?! Databases always represented an additional set of challenges unique to running workloads requiring a maximum of I/O, network, CPU resources combined with data locality.
Jan. 18, 2017 05:00 PM EST Reads: 334