International Paper reported preliminary full-year 2012 net earnings attributable to common shareholders totaling $794 million ($1.80 per share) compared with $1.3 billion ($3.03 per share) in full-year 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2012, the company reported net earnings of $235 million ($0.53 per share) compared with $281 million ($0.65 per share) in the fourth quarter of 2011. Amounts in all periods include special items and non-operating pension expense.
Full-year 2012 Operating Earnings were $1.2 billion ($2.65 per share) compared with $1.4 billion ($3.12 per share) in 2011. Operating Earnings in the fourth quarter of 2012 totaled $305 million ($0.69 per share) compared with $319 million ($0.73 per share) in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Annual sales totaled $27.8 billion in 2012 compared with $26.0 billion in 2011. Quarterly net sales were $7.1 billion in the fourth quarter compared with $6.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Full-year 2012 business segment operating profits were $2.0 billion compared with $2.2 billion in 2011. Business segment operating profits in the fourth quarter were $528 million compared with $577 million in 2011, both of which included special items.
"Our success capturing merger benefits from the Temple-Inland acquisition contributed to our fourth quarter results and IP's record cash generation from operations in 2012," said John Faraci, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Given our runway levers and ability to execute, we are positioned to deliver a step-change in earnings as we move through 2013."
The performance of the company's business segments are measured quarter to quarter without variations caused by special items, as management focuses on business segment operating profits excluding those items. Fourth quarter 2012 business segment operating profits and business trends compared with the prior quarter are as follows:
Industrial Packaging operating profits in the fourth quarter of 2012 were $368 million ($336 million including special items) compared with $342 million ($255 million including special items) in the third quarter of 2012. The profit increase in North America was the result of improved pricing, partially offset by higher planned outage-related maintenance expenses and input costs. Profits for the segment also benefited from seasonally higher sales volumes in Europe and an insurance settlement related to the earthquake that occurred in Northern Italy.
Printing Papers operating profits were $147 million (before and after special items) in the fourth quarter of 2012 versus $201 million ($202 million including special items) in the third quarter of 2012. North American operations were impacted by higher planned outage-related maintenance expenses, seasonally lower sales and lower average sales price for paper, particularly in export markets. Europe's results were stronger quarter over quarter mainly from lower planned maintenance expenses.
Consumer Packaging operating profits were $39 million ($41 million including special items) in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with $67 million (before and after special items) in the third quarter of 2012. Earnings were impacted by higher outage-related maintenance expenses and lower average sales price primarily due to mix, along with cost associated with the start-up of the coated paper machine in China.