Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) has reported an increase in quarterly net income on a year-on-year basis, driven by strong packaging demand.

In the first quarter of this year, the company’s net income totalled $166.5m, or $1.75 per share. This was up from $141.7m, or $1.49 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Excluding special items, PCA’s net income for the quarter stood at $169m.

The company’s first-quarter net sales also increased from $1.7bn to $1.8bn.

In the three-month period ending 31 March, PCA’s packaging segment income was $257.9m. The figure had increased from $199.8m posted in the same period last year.

The income of the company’s paper segment fell from $32.5m to $8.7m on a year-on-year basis.

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In the packaging segment, total corrugated products shipments with one less workday increased by 6.6%, and shipments per day by 8.3% over last year’s first quarter.

Containerboard inventory was up by 41,000t compared with the first quarter of last year.

In the paper segment, sales volume declined by 48,000t compared with the first quarter of last year, but increased by 5,000t from the fourth quarter.

PCA CEO and chairman Mark Kowlzan said: “Packaging segment demand remained very strong throughout the first quarter as we set a new all-time quarterly record for containerboard volume and matched our all-time quarterly total box shipments record.

“The Number Three machine at our mill in Jackson, Alabama, produced linerboard for the entire quarter, and the announced plans for permanently converting the machine from uncoated freesheet to linerboard are well underway.

“We were able to build some containerboard inventory ahead of our busiest planned outage quarter, but we ended the quarter at a record low weeks-of-inventory supply for this time of year.”

PCA is one of North America’s largest producers of containerboard products and uncoated freesheet paper.

The company operates a total of eight mills, as well as 90 corrugated product plants and related facilities.