- Q1 GAAP net loss of $1 million / $0.01 per share
- Adjusted EBITDA of $32 million
- Completed acquisition of three U.S. South sawmills
- Operating all segments as essential services, adjusting to economic slowdown
MONTRÉAL, April 30, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - Resolute Forest Products Inc. (NYSE: RFP) (TSX: RFP) today reported a net loss for the quarter ended March 31, 2020, of $1 million, or $0.01 per share, compared to net income of $42 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, in the same period in 2019. Sales were $689 million in the quarter, a decrease of $106 million from the year-ago period. Excluding special items, the company reported a net loss of $29 million, or $0.33 per share, compared to net income of $30 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2019.
"The first quarter's results reflect a resurgence in market prices for lumber that began late in 2019 together with lower maintenance costs in pulp and paper, but they were unfavorably affected by lower newsprint prices," said Yves Laflamme, president and chief executive officer. "The tissue business is progressing well in the current context as we grow our customer base with the increase in demand and we demonstrate our products and capabilities. While we continue to operate across all of our business segments, we've had to take a number of measures in the face of the dramatic reduction in economic activity due to the coronavirus pandemic, such as reducing our operational footprint to demand levels consistent with essential needs, drawing on our credit facilities to keep higher levels of cash, reducing SG&A expenses and suspending or deferring capital spending. We are well-positioned financially and operationally to face this challenge, but this situation contains a very high degree of uncertainty and the extent of the potential consequences are impossible to predict."
Non-GAAP financial measures, such as adjustments for special items and adjusted EBITDA, are explained and reconciled below.
Operating Income Variance Against Prior Period
The company reported an operating loss of $8 million in the first quarter, compared to $69 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. The narrower loss reflects costs incurred in the fourth quarter with the indefinite idling of the Augusta (Georgia) mill ($31 million), as well as a $31 million improvement in other manufacturing costs, mostly for maintenance. The overall impact of transaction pricing was unfavorable ($4 million), due to weaker newsprint prices despite higher prices for wood products, while the market pulp and tissue segments contributed to the overall improvement in volume ($3 million).
The operating loss in the market pulp segment narrowed to $3 million in the quarter, an improvement of $15 million from the previous quarter. This reflects a reduction in manufacturing costs of $18 million, which includes lower maintenance as a result of less spending and the timing of the Saint-Félicien (Quebec) outage in the previous quarter. Accordingly, the operating cost per unit (or, the "delivered cost") fell by $68 per metric ton, or 10%, compared to the fourth quarter. Shipments were 10,000 metric tons higher, but the average transaction price slipped by $16 per metric ton. After two negative quarters, EBITDA in the segment improved to $3 million. Finished goods inventory remained low for the third consecutive quarter, ending at 69,000 metric tons.
The tissue segment reported its first operating income quarter since the start-up of the tissue machine in Calhoun (Tennessee), at $2 million, which is an improvement of $3 million over the fourth quarter. The better performance is due to a 22% increase in shipments (5,000 short tons), even as prices continued to trend upward on improving customer mix. The delivered cost also improved, falling by a further $66 per short ton, or 4%. Segment EBITDA was $6 million.
Source: Resolute Forest Products