International Paper Company

International Paper Company (NYSE:IP) reported Thursday their first quarter earnings, which increased to $318 million or $0.71 per share versus net earnings of $235 million or $0.53 per share in the previous quarter and 188 million or $0.43 per share in the first quarter of 2012. The first quarter profit jumped by 69 percent when compared with the year earlier quarter owing to an impressive performance from industrial-packaging.

Operating earnings for the quarter came in at $292 million ($0.65 per share) against $305 million ($0.69 per share) in the previous quarter and 272 million ($0.63 per share) in the year earlier quarter. Net sales for the company at $7.1 billion were similar to that in the previous quarter but were up from the first quarter of 2012 by $0.4 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated operating earnings of 74 cents a share and $7.05 billion in revenue.

International Paper Company (NYSE:IP)’s earnings from continuing operations increased to $289 million from $187 million last year. Some of the special items include pre-tax charges of $59 million related to restructuring, a pre-tax charges of $12 million related to Temple-Inland acquisition.

“Industrial Packaging posted solid results driven by improved pricing and synergies,” however, the results were adversely effected by “seasonally slow demand across our global operations, weak earnings from xpedx and an unfavorable foreign exchange swing at Ilim,” according to John Faraci, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Segment Information

Industrial Packaging division reported an operating profit of $369 million for the first quarter against $368 million in the previous quarter.

Printing Papers posted an operating profit of $149 million versus $147 million in the fourth quarter.

Consumer Packaging reported an operating profit of 51 million compared with $39 million in the previous quarter.

Group’s North American distribution business, xpedx posted an operating profit of $2 million versus $11 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. The drop in earnings was primarily due to seasonally slow demand, weaker margins and declining commercial printing and publishing volumes.

International Paper Company (NYSE:IP)’s Ilim Joint Venture reported an equity loss of $11 million against equity earnings of $8 million in the previous quarter.

Last year, the company completed a $3.48 billion acquisition of rival Temple-Inland Inc. The paper and pulp company has since divested some of its assets including three U.S. container-board mills. In December, International Paper Company (NYSE:IP) announced it will offload Temple-Inland’s building-products division to Koch Industries Inc. for $750 million.

Shares of International Paper Company (NYSE:IP) were down 1.4 percent in the pre-market trading after closing at $45.89 yesterday. This year so far the stock is up 15 percent.