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International Paper reports 9% year-over-year revenue growth in 2022

International Paper reports 9% year-over-year revenue growth in 2022
Mark Sutton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

“In 2022, International Paper grew revenue and earnings in a dynamic and challenging macro environment and returned $1.9 billion to our shareowners,” said Mark Sutton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our commercial and mill operational performance was solid, while significant inflation and lower demand impacted margins. We also delivered $250 million of earnings benefits from our Building a Better IP initiatives, exceeding our target for the year and building solid momentum going forward.”

Sutton added, “As we enter 2023, International Paper is well-positioned to navigate various economic environments from a position of strength, given our strategic customer relationships, our highly talented teams, our track record of solid cash generation and our strong balance sheet.  We also remain focused on creating value for all our stakeholders as we continue Building a Better IP.”

Segment information

Industrial Packaging operating profits (losses) in the fourth quarter of 2022 were $416 million compared with $369 million in the third quarter of 2022. In North America, earnings increased driven by higher sales prices for corrugated boxes and lower input costs, primarily for recovered fiber and energy. Sales volumes for corrugated boxes and containerboard were lower, reflecting continued consumer spending focus on non-discretionary goods and retailer inventory destocking. Lower demand resulted in increased economic downtime which negatively impacted operating costs. Operating costs also increased due to seasonality, inflation and the impact of Winter Storm Elliott. In EMEA, earnings improved driven by seasonally higher sales volumes in Morocco and lower energy costs.

Global Cellulose Fibers operating profits (losses) in the fourth quarter of 2022 were $35 million compared with $95 million in the third quarter of 2022. Earnings decreased driven by higher planned maintenance outage expenses and lower sales volumes, partially offset by higher sales prices for fluff pulp and lower input costs, primarily for energy. Volume was lower due to additional pull through of shipments in the third quarter as supply chain velocity began to improve. Operating costs were higher driven by the impact of Winter Storm Elliott and isolated reliability incidents.

Highlights

Full-year 2022 net earnings (loss) attributable to International Paper of $1.5 billion ($4.10 per diluted share) compared with $1.8 billion ($4.47 per diluted share) for full-year 2021.

Full-year 2022 adjusted operating earnings* (non-GAAP) of $1.2 billion ($3.18 per diluted share) compared with $944 million ($2.41 per diluted share) for full-year 2021.

9% full-year revenue growth; 24% full-year operating earnings growth.

Building a Better IP initiatives delivered $250 million of earnings benefit in 2022, including $75 million in fourth quarter.

$2.2 billion of full-year 2022 cash provided by operations, including $761 million of cash provided in fourth quarter.

Returned $1.93 billion to shareholders through $1.26 billion share repurchases and $673 million in dividends in full-year 2022; $355 million returned to shareholders in fourth quarter.

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