Accounting changes and the costs of ending some papermaking at a West Carrollton mill led Appleton to report a net loss of $37.1 million for the final quarter of 2012, an improvement from a net loss of $59.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
For the full year 2012, Appleton reported a net loss of $148 million, compared with a net loss of $47.6 million for 2011.
But strip away one-time charges and changes, and adjusted operating income for 2012 totaled $74.8 million, up 67 percent over 2011. And adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a key cash flow measure, was $110.3 million, up 16.4 percent from 2011.
Full-year 2012 net sales fell 0.9 percent to $849 million from the 2011 total.
A change in retiree benefits accounting resulted in an adjustment of $33.6 million in the fourth quarter and $51.1 million in the fourth quarter in 2011, the company said.
The company’s decision last year to shed its “high-cost, non-integrated papermaking assets” at its West Carrollton plant “helped drive success in 2012 and better positioned the company for future growth,” CEO Mark Richards said in a statement.
The production changes at the local plant included just over $117 million for the year and nearly $29 million of restructuring expenses. There were also $77.4 million of “other related costs” and $11.4 million of “transition costs,” the company said.
Last year, Appleton chose to have Domtar supply most of its base paper. The change resulted in the loss of 330 jobs at the company’s 1030 W. Alex-Bell Road mill. Today, 113 workers were to remain at the site,, a company spokesman said. Another 10 employees work at the Monroe Distribution Center.