Commercial initiatives drive stronger sequential performance
KINGSEY FALLS, QC , Aug. 4, 2022 - Cascades Inc. (TSX: CAS) reports its unaudited financial results for the three-month period ended June 30, 2022.
- Sales of $1,119 million (compared with $1,038 million in Q1 2022 and $956 million in Q2 2021)
- As reported (including specific items)
- Operating income (loss) of $32 million (compared with $(4) million in Q1 2022 and $23 million in Q2 2021)
- Operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBD) of $95 million (compared with $56 million in Q1 2022 and $87 million in Q2 2021)
- Net earnings per common share of $0.10 (compared with net loss per common share of ($0.15) in Q1 2022 and net earnings per common share of $0.02 in Q2 2021)
- Adjusted (excluding specific items1)
- Operating income (loss) of $28 million (compared with $(2) million in Q1 2022 and $34 million in Q2 2021)
- Operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBD) of $91 million (compared with $58 million in Q1 2022 and $98 million in Q2 2021)
- Net earnings per common share of $0.10 (compared with net loss per common share of ($0.15) in Q1 2022 and net earnings per common share of $0.07 in Q2 2021)
- Net debt1 of $1,712 million as of June 30, 2022 (compared with $1,549 million as of March 31, 2022). Net debt to adjusted OIBD ratio1 of 5.4x, up from 4.8x as of March 31, 2022.
- Total capital expenditures, net of disposals, of $116 million in Q2 2022, and $212 million in the first half of 2022. Forecasted 2022 net capital expenditures of $450 - $470 million, including $310 - $330 million for the Bear Island containerboard conversion project in Virginia, USA.
Some information represents Non-IFRS financial measures, other financial measures or Non-IFRS ratios which are not standardized under IFRS and therefore might not be comparable to similar financial measures disclosed by other corporations. Please refer to the "Supplemental Information on Non-IFRS Measures and Other Financial Measures" section for a complete reconciliation.
Mario Plourde, President and CEO, commented: "Our packaging businesses delivered good sequential performances in the second quarter, with improved pricing and sales mix, higher volumes, and lower raw material costs in the case of Containerboard outweighing the impact of continued cost inflation. Sequentially, results in our Tissue Papers business highlight the momentum being generated by the profitability initiatives underway. While pricing and mix improvements realized to date helped to mitigate the unprecedented headwinds on the cost side, these initiatives are trailing the pace of the current high inflation environment. These initiatives remain on track to generate important contributions in the back half of 2022, and are being closely monitored and regularly adapted to address the changing cost environment.
We continued to advance the Bear Island project in the quarter. The capital investments for this project, which totaled $81 million in the second quarter and $145 million year-to-date, combined with lower consolidated financial results, has resulted in an increase in our leverage in the second quarter. As we have previously stated, this trend is expected to reverse with improved business performance through the remainder of 2022 and throughout 2023 as well as the positive contribution from this facility following its start-up."
Discussing near-term outlook, Mr. Plourde commented, "We are focused on driving benefits from profitability initiatives underway in our Tissue Papers segment. While the level of expected long-term financial contributions remains intact, persistent cost headwinds and adjustments to the implementation timing of announced industry price increases have reduced our forecasted OIBD range for this segment to $25 - $40 million for 2022, from the previously stated $60 - $80 million2. This revision does not change the 2024 OIBD targets provided in our strategic plan in February. The current inflationary environment has also had implications for our Bear Island project in 2022. Higher cost levels combined with labour and material availability constraints, which have led to temporary delays in certain construction milestones, increased the total projected cost for this project to a range of $595 - $615 million (US$470 - US$485 million). Our team is working closely with contractors to mitigate any potential delay caused by these elements in order to meet the targeted mid-December 2022 start date. However, it is important to note that the timing of some critical construction milestones may be at risk due to these issues and, as a result the start-up of paper production may be delayed to the first quarter of 2023.
At the operations level, we are forecasting sequentially stable results in our packaging businesses in the third quarter, during which favourable pricing momentum is expected to mitigate continued cost inflation. As we have previously stated, the Tissue Papers business is expected to return to a trajectory of positive contribution in the upcoming quarters as meaningful benefits from implementation of the profitability initiatives begin to be realized."
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