International Paper has posted a 54% decrease in its net earnings to $235m during second quarter (Q2) of 2023, compared to $511m in Q2 financial year 2022 (FY22).

The adjusted operating earnings (generally accepted accounting principles) for the reported quarter, which ended on 30 June 2023, totalled $204m or $0.59 per diluted share.

The company’s net sales for the reported quarter in FY23 stood at $4.68bn, representing a decline of 13.1% from $5.38bn during the same period a year ago.

The highest net sales of $3.88bn were achieved in International Paper’s Industrial Packaging segment, followed by its Global Cellulose Fibres and Corporate and Inter-segment, with $698m and $100m achieved, respectively.

The operating profit in the Industrial Packaging segment declined to $304m in Q2 FY23 while the same was $322m in the first quarter of this year and $560m in Q2 FY23.

International Paper has attributed this decline in figures to lower sales prices in North America, amidst continued soft demand for corrugated boxes and containerboard, as the destocking of its customers’ inventory also continued.

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In the case of its Global Cellulose Fibres segment, the paper and pulp company registered an increase in operating profits from $25m in Q2 FY22 to $30m in Q2 FY23.

This increase, which comes in spite of lower fluff pulp sales and decreased pulp pricing, was driven due to improvement in supply chain conditions, lower operating costs, as well as planned maintenance costs and input costs.

International Paper CEO and chair Mark Sutton said: “In the second quarter, the operations of International Paper continued to run well and we managed our businesses effectively in a challenging demand environment.

“We continued to advance our ‘Building a Better IP’ initiatives, including our commercial improvement and cost management opportunities. The benefits of that work and our strong financial foundation position International Paper well as we navigate the current economic environment.”

In this quarter, the company was able to return $200m to its shareholders, which included $160m in dividends.