International Paper profit beats on box sales

Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:26am EDT
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By Ernest Scheyder

(Reuters) - International Paper Co (IP.N: Quote), which acquired rival packaging maker Temple-Inland Inc in February, posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong sales of shipping boxes and paper.

The company, which operates around the world and became the largest North American producer of corrugated packaging in the buyout, said pockets of weakness remain -- especially in Europe -- but signs of recovery are emerging.

"I feel very good about the rest of the year," Chief Executive John Faraci said in an interview on Friday. "It's not a macro-bullish story. It's a macro-positive story."

North America is "sluggishly slow, but positive;" Europe likely will be in a "shallow" recession for the rest of the year; and China and India's economies are "slowing down a bit, but still have strong GDP growth," Faraci said.

For the first quarter, International Paper posted net income of $188 million, or 43 cents per share, compared with $281 million, or 65 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding restructuring charges and other one-time items, the company posted profit of 57 cents per share.

By that measure, analysts had expected earnings of 50 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 4.6 percent to $6.66 billion. Analysts had expected $6.79 billion in revenue.   Continued...