US-based pulp and paper company International Paper has reported $5.23bn in net sales for the first quarter (Q1) of the fiscal year 2022 (FY22).

The figure represents an increase from $4.5bn in the same period of the fiscal year 2021 (FY21).

For the three months to 31 March, sales from International Paper’s industrial packaging segment reached $4.4bn.

The company’s global cellulose fibres business registered $710m in sales for the quarter, while its corporate and inter-segment sales amounted to $121m.

International Paper’s net earnings for Q1 were $360m, up from $349m in the same period a year earlier.

The company’s adjusted operating earnings increased from $198m to $288m year-over-year, though it said these were not calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

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Its earnings per share (EPS) were $0.95, compared with $0.88 in Q1 2021.

International Paper chairman and CEO Mark Sutton said: “International Paper’s earnings in the first quarter were better than our outlook.

“We generated strong cash from operations and returned $580m to shareowners, including $406m of share repurchases.

“Commercially and operationally, we performed well in the quarter to overcome significantly higher input costs.

“Looking ahead to the second quarter, we anticipate stable demand at elevated levels.

“We expect margin expansion as the realisation of prior price movements begins to outpace higher costs, and we step down from our highest maintenance outage quarter of the year.”

“We are accelerating value creation through our Building a Better IP set of initiatives and are confident in our full-year target of $200m to $225m of incremental earnings.

“In the first quarter, we achieved $40m of earnings through these actions.”

In December last year, International Paper secured approval from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for its carbon reduction target.

The target involves shifting to a low-carbon economy by using fibre-based products and supporting global forest stewardship efforts, among other actions.