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International Paper’s net earnings increase in full-year 2017

International Paper has reported full-year 2017 net earnings of $2.1bn ($5.13 per diluted share) compared with net earnings of $904m ($2.18 per diluted share) for full-year 2016.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, the Company reported net earnings of $1.5 billion ($3.50 per diluted share) compared with $218 million ($0.53 per diluted share) in the fourth quarter of 2016. 

Fourth quarter and full-year 2017 net earnings included a provisional net tax benefit of $1.2 billion ($2.93 per diluted share) related to the U.S. enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 reported as a special item. Net earnings in all periods include the impact of special items, if any, non-operating pension expense and discontinued operations.

Full-year 2017 adjusted operating earnings were $1.5 billion ($3.49 per diluted share) compared with $1.3 billion ($3.09 per diluted share) in 2016. Adjusted operating earnings in the fourth quarter of 2017 totaled $530 million ($1.27 per diluted share) compared with $279 million ($0.67 per diluted share) in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Annual net sales totaled $21.7 billion in 2017 compared with $19.5 billion in 2016. The year-over-year revenue increase was primarily due to the pulp business that was acquired from Weyerhaeuser in late 2016. Quarterly net sales were $5.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with $5.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Full-year business segment operating profits were $2.1 billion in 2017 compared with $2.1 billion in 2016. Business segment operating profits in the fourth quarter of 2017 were $824 million compared with $442 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Cash provided by (used for) operations was $1.8 billion for the full-year 2017 and $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017.  Free cash flow (non-GAAP) was $2.0 billion for the full-year 2017 and $732 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

International Paper chairman and CEO Mark Sutton said: "We made outstanding progress integrating the Global Cellulose Fibers business and delivering synergies, while also making an important strategic move in consumer packaging that further enables us to focus on growing meaningful value in our core businesses.

“Looking at the fourth quarter, the company delivered its best results in a decade, driven by healthy demand and excellent commercial performance in Industrial Packaging and Global Cellulose Fibers. All in, the momentum we've built throughout 2017 positions us well for another year of strong earnings growth in 2018."