Net sales of $2,456 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2015 increased $62 million compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2014 as a result of sales from the Tacoma Mill acquisition completed in fiscal 2014 and higher corrugated volumes.
Segment income of $222 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2015 increased $20 million compared to the prior year quarter. The increase in segment income was primarily due to the achievement of an estimated $22 million in productivity improvements, lower fiber and energy prices, less weather disruption than in the prior year quarter and higher corrugated volumes which were partially offset by decreased corrugated selling prices, lower merchandising displays income and other costs across our business.
“Our adjusted earnings per share of $0.85 significantly exceeded the $0.63 in the prior year quarter and our most recent earnings guidance due to strong revenue and operating performance late in the month across all of our businesses,” said Steve Voorhees, RockTenn CEO. “Our free cash flow of $1.11 per share in the quarter and $5.86 per share for the past 12 months, when combined with our leverage ratio of 1.74 times at March 31, provides a solid foundation for us to build on as we expect to complete the merger with MWV in June. The merger integration work we have underway is confirming the outstanding and complementary capabilities that we will have in the new company to serve packaging markets around the globe and create long-term shareowner value.”
Corrugated Packaging segment net sales increased $76 million to $1,728 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2015 compared to the prior year quarter, primarily due to sales from the Tacoma Mill acquisition and increased corrugated segment shipments. Segment income increased $37 million to $170 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2015 compared to the prior year quarter primarily due to higher volumes.
Consumer Packaging segment net sales decreased $4 million to $486 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2015 compared to the prior year quarter primarily due to the impact of the planned major maintenance outage at the Demopolis, AL bleached paperboard mill which was partially offset by increased folding carton sales. Segment income decreased $2 million to $48 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2015 primarily reflecting the impact of higher manufacturing costs.
Merchandising Displays segment net sales in the second quarter of fiscal 2015 of $213 million were relatively flat compared to the prior year second quarter as higher volumes from the two display acquisitions completed in fiscal 2014 were offset by lower promotional activity. Segment income was $5 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2015 primarily due to higher costs.