Feb. 9, 2016 - Graphic Packaging Holding Company (NYSE: GPK), (the "Company"), a leading provider of packaging solutions to food, beverage and consumer product companies, today reported Net Income for fourth quarter 2015 of $57.2 million, or $0.17 per share, based upon 329.6 million weighted average diluted shares. This compares to fourth quarter 2014 Net Income of $41.5 million, or $0.13 per share, based on 331.0 million weighted average diluted shares.
Including the tax impact, fourth quarter 2015 Net Income was negatively impacted by $5.8 million of special charges (primarily Charges Associated with Business Combinations). When adjusting for these charges, Adjusted Net Income for the fourth quarter of 2015 was $63.0 million, or $0.19 per diluted share. This compares to fourth quarter 2014 Adjusted Net Income of $70.1 million or $0.21 per diluted share. The decline versus the prior year was driven by non-recurring tax benefits in Q4 2014.
For the full year 2015, Net Income was $230.1 million, or $0.70 per share, based on 330.7 million weighted average diluted shares. This compares to 2014 Net Income of $89.7 million, or $0.27 per share, based on 330.5 million weighted average diluted shares. Including the tax impact, full year 2015 Net Income was negatively impacted by $16.9 million of special charges (primarily Charges Associated with Business Combinations). When adjusting for these charges, 2015 Adjusted Net Income was $247.0 million, or $0.75 per diluted share, compared to full year 2014 Adjusted Net Income of $238.1 million, or $0.72 per diluted share.
"We delivered a very strong quarter in the face of difficult markets and foreign exchange headwinds," said President and CEO Michael Doss. "Sales increased 2.4% and we continue to gain share in many of our markets. Strong performance drove Adjusted EBITDA Margin higher by 40 basis points to 17.6%. We continued to execute on our operating improvement programs across the organization, achieving $74 million of performance improvements in 2015."
Mr. Doss continued, "We've been very busy since the end of the third quarter with the announcement of four strategic tuck-under acquisitions. Investing in high return projects and strategic acquisitions remains a core part of our profitable growth strategy. Two of the acquisitions, Virginia-based Carded Graphics and Minnesota-based Walter G. Anderson, bring state-of-the-art assets and enhance our leadership position in key North American food, beverage and consumer product markets.
"I am also excited about our international expansions in Mexico and Australia/New Zealand. The G-Box acquisition, completed in early January, adds two strategically located folding carton plants which strengthen our footprint in the growing Mexican food and beverage markets. While Graphic Packaging has been operating successfully in Australia for over two decades, the acquisition of market-leader Colorpak, and its three folding carton manufacturing facilities, allows us to expand in the Australia and New Zealand food, beverage and consumer product markets."
"Graphic Packaging's financial performance and balance sheet have strengthened considerably over the past several years. We are now returning cash to stockholders while maintaining financial flexibility to invest for future profitable growth. During 2015, the Company declared $65 million of dividends and repurchased $63 million of our stock, including $40 million in the fourth quarter. To date in 2016, we have purchased an additional $20 million of stock, increasing share repurchases to $83 million since announcing the $250 million program in February of 2015."
Net Sales increased 2.4% to $1,024.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to $1,001.1 million in the prior year period. The $23.8 million increase was driven by $50.4 million of improved volume/mix, related to acquisitions. The sales increase was partially offset by $21.2 million of unfavorable foreign exchange rates and $5.4 million of lower pricing.
Full year 2015 Net Sales decreased 1.9% to $4,160.2 million compared to $4,240.5 million in 2014. The decrease was driven by $221.6 million of lower sales due to business divestitures, $109.0 million from unfavorable foreign exchange rates and $15.6 million of lower pricing. The sales decrease was partially offset by $265.9 million of improved volume/mix, related to acquisitions.
Attached is supplemental data showing Net Tons Sold, Net Sales and Income (Loss) from Operations for each quarter of 2015 and 2014.
EBITDA for fourth quarter 2015 was $172.7 million, or $27.2 million higher than the fourth quarter of 2014. After adjusting both periods for special charges, Adjusted EBITDA increased 5.2% to $180.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 from $171.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. When comparing against the prior year quarter, Adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter of 2015 was positively impacted by $13.8 million of improved net operating performance, $5.0 million in commodity deflation, net of pricing and $2.5 million of favorable volume/mix. These benefits were partially offset by $7.7 million of unfavorable foreign exchange rates and $4.7 million of other inflation (primarily labor and benefits).
Full year 2015 EBITDA increased 46.4% to $728.0 million from $497.3 million in 2014. After adjusting both periods for special charges, Adjusted EBITDA increased 5.7% to $751.2 million in 2015 from $710.8 million in 2014. When comparing against 2014, Adjusted EBITDA in 2015 was positively impacted by $73.7 million of improved net operating performance, $28.9 million of favorable volume/mix and $3.6 million of commodity deflation, net of pricing. These benefits were partially offset by $28.2 million of unfavorable foreign exchange rates, $28.2 million of other inflation (primarily labor and benefits) and $9.4 million from divested businesses.
Total Net Debt declined $78.4 million during the fourth quarter of 2015 to $1,834.3 million. The Company's year-end 2015 Net Leverage Ratio declined to 2.44 times Adjusted EBITDA from 2.66 times Adjusted EBITDA at the end of 2014. At December 31, 2015, the Company had available domestic liquidity of $1,080.1 million, including the undrawn availability under its $1.25 billion U.S. revolving credit facility.
Net Interest Expense was $16.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to $18.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. Full year 2015 Net Interest Expense was $67.8 million compared to $80.7 million in 2014. The decrease was due to lower debt balances and lower overall interest rates.
Capital expenditures for the fourth quarter of 2015 were $62.4 million compared to $50.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. For full year 2015, capital expenditures were $244.1 million compared to $201.4 million in 2014. These increases are primarily the result of investments made in the Company's paperboard mills, including the previously announced Cogen investment at the West Monroe, LA mill.
Fourth quarter 2015 Income Tax Expense was $28.1 million compared to $14.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. For the full year 2015, Income Tax Expense was $130.4 million compared to $45.4 million in 2014. The increase was primarily due to higher pretax earnings in 2015 as compared to 2014, as well as certain non-recurring tax benefits recorded during 2014, including the benefit of a multi-year Research Tax Credit study. As of December 31, 2015, the Company had approximately $470 million of NOLs for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which may be used to offset future taxable income.
Graphic Packaging International, Inc., a subsidiary of Graphic Packaging Holding Company (NYSE: GPK), headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a leading provider of packaging solutions for a wide variety of products to food, beverage and other consumer products companies. The Company is one of the largest producers of folding cartons and holds a leading market position in coated-unbleached kraft and coated-recycled board. To learn more about Graphic Packaging, please visit: www.graphicpkg.com.