During the first quarter of 2019, WestRock reported earnings of $0.54 per diluted share and $0.83 of adjusted earnings per diluted share compared to $4.38 per diluted share and $0.87 of adjusted earnings per diluted share in the prior-year quarter.
“We completed the KapStone acquisition and have moved quickly to integrate these operations into our company. The WestRock team overcame the challenges of Hurricane Michael and high input costs to deliver solid financial and operating results for the first fiscal quarter,” said Steve Voorhees, WestRock’s CEO. “Our outlook for fiscal 2019 and beyond remains positive as we invest to improve our cost structure and advance our differentiated strategy.”
The company reported sales of $4,327.4 million, up from $3,894 million in 2017. The $433 million increase in net sales compared to the prior year quarter was primarily attributable to $414 million of increased Corrugated Packaging segment net sales, mainly due to the KapStone acquisition and higher selling price/mix.
Net cash provided by operating activities was $303 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 compared to $245 million in the prior year quarter. Total debt was $10.8 billion at Dec. 31, 2018.
In the Corrugated Packaging segment, WestRock reported sales of $2,733.8 million, up from $2,319.7 million. Segment net sales increased $414 million and segment net sales adjusted for recycling increased by $535 million.
The Corrugated Packaging segment delivered a segment EBITDA margin of 17% and a North American adjusted segment EBITDA margin of 21%, down 190 basis points and up 10 basis points, respectively.
In the Consumer Packaging segment, sales were 1,618.8 million, slightly up from $1,601.3 million in 2017. Segment income decreased $17 million as $34 million of higher selling price/mix and $12 million of productivity improvements were more than offset by $45 million of cost inflation, $9 million of lower volumes, and other items.