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Boise Inc. - NYSE

4/16/2014, 5:57 AM ET
Quote & Analysis Breaking News StockTalk Description
Sector: Consumer Goods
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Country: United States

Boise Inc. is a large, diverse United States-based manufacturer of packaging products and papers, including corrugated containers, containerboard, label and release and flexible packaging papers, imaging papers for the office and home, printing and converting papers, newsprint, and market pulp. We own pulp and paper mill operations in the following locations: Jackson, Alabama; International Falls, Minnesota; St. Helens, Oregon; and Wallula, Washington, all of which manufacture uncoated freesheet paper. We also own a mill in DeRidder, Louisiana, which produces containerboard (linerboard) and newsprint. In addition, we have a network of five corrugated container plants located in the Pacific Northwest, a corrugated sheet plant in Nevada, and a corrugated sheet feeder plant in Texas. We are headquartered in Boise, Idaho, and have approximately 4,100 employees.

On February 22, 2008, Aldabra 2 Acquisition Corp. completed the acquisition (the Acquisition) of Boise White Paper, L.L.C., Boise Packaging & Newsprint, L.L.C., Boise Cascade Transportation Holdings Corp. (collectively, the Paper Group), and other assets and liabilities related to the operation of the paper, packaging and newsprint, and transportation businesses of the Paper Group and part of the headquarters operations of Boise Cascade, L.L.C. (Boise Cascade). Subsequent to the Acquisition, Aldabra 2 Acquisition Corp. changed its name to Boise Inc. The acquired business is referred to in this report on Form 10-K as the “Predecessor.”

We operate our business in three reportable segments: Paper, Packaging, and Corporate and Other (support services). We present information pertaining to each of our three segments and the geographic areas in which they operate in Note 18, Segment Information, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in “Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Form 10-K.

The accompanying Consolidated Statement of Income (Loss) and Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows for the year ended December 31, 2008, include the activities of Aldabra 2 Acquisition Corp. prior to the Acquisition and the operations of the acquired businesses from February 22, 2008, through December 31, 2008. The Predecessor Consolidated Statements of Income (Loss) and Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the period of January 1 through February 21, 2008, and for the year ended December 31, 2007, are presented for comparative purposes. The period of February 1 (Inception) through December 31, 2007, represents the activities of Aldabra 2 Acquisition Corp.

Raw Materials and Input Costs

Wood fiber is our principal raw material in this segment. During the year ended December 31, 2009, wood fiber costs accounted for approximately 27% of materials, labor, and other operating expenses in this segment. The primary sources of wood fiber are timber and byproducts of timber. Most of our manufacturing facilities are located in close proximity to active wood markets. Because of the decline in the housing and construction markets, a significant number of building products manufacturers have curtailed or closed their facilities. These curtailments and closures affect the availability and price of wood chips, wood shavings, and other timber byproducts, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. As a result, we have increased our ability to manufacture wood chips from whole logs, which we purchase from third parties.

All of our paper mills, except St. Helens, have on-site pulp production facilities. Some of our paper mills also purchase pulp from third parties pursuant to contractual arrangements. We negotiate these arrangements periodically, and terms can fluctuate based on prevailing pulp market conditions, including pricing and supply dynamics. As we are currently configured and under normal operating conditions, we are a net consumer of pulp, producing and selling approximately 80,000 to 100,000 short tons less pulp volume annually on the open market than we consume.

We generally purchase raw materials through contracts or open-market purchases. Our contracts are generally with suppliers located in closest proximity to the specific facility they supply, and they generally contain price adjustment mechanisms to account for market price and expense volatility.

Our Paper segment consumes substantial amounts of energy, such as electricity, natural gas, and a modest amount of fuel oil. During the year ended December 31, 2009, energy costs accounted for approximately 12% of materials, labor, and other operating expenses in this segment. We purchase substantial portions of our natural gas and electricity under supply contracts. Under most of these contracts, the providers are bound to provide us with all of our needs for a particular type of energy at a specific facility. Most of these contracts have pricing mechanisms that adjust or set prices based on current market prices. In addition, we use derivative instruments such as three-way collars, natural gas caps, call spreads, and swaps, or a combination of these instruments, to mitigate price risk for our energy requirements.

We consume a significant amount of chemicals in the production of paper. Important chemicals we use include starch, caustic, sodium chlorate, precipitated calcium carbonate, dyestuffs, and optical brighteners. During the year ended December 31, 2009, chemical costs accounted for approximately 15% of materials, labor, and other operating expenses in this segment. Many of our chemicals are purchased under contracts, which provide more stability than open-market purchases. However, many of these contracts are negotiated annually at prevailing rates. Higher prevailing rates may result in increases to overall chemical costs.

Customers

Our largest customer in this segment is OfficeMax. During the year ended December 31, 2009, sales to OfficeMax accounted for $545.4 million of Paper segment sales. Sales to OfficeMax constitute 41% of total uncoated freesheet sales volume and 63% of our office papers sales volume. Pursuant to a long-standing contractual agreement, OfficeMax has agreed to purchase its full North American requirements for cut-size office paper from Boise Inc. through December 2012. OfficeMax’s purchase obligations under the agreement will phase out ratably over a four-year period beginning one year after the delivery of notice of termination, but in no event will the purchase obligation be reduced prior to December 31, 2012. The price for paper sold under this supply agreement approximates market prices. However, due to the structure of the contract, price changes to OfficeMax lag the market by approximately 60 days.

In addition to OfficeMax, we have approximately 800 uncoated freesheet paper customers. Our customers include paper merchants, commercial and financial printers, paper converters such as envelope and form manufacturers, and customers who use our paper for specialty applications such as label and release products. In addition to the paper supply agreement with OfficeMax, we have long-term relationships with other customers. No single customer, other than OfficeMax, exceeds 6% of segment sales.

Packaging

Products

We manufacture and sell corrugated containers and sheets as well as linerboard and newsprint. Containerboard is used in the production of corrugated containers and sheets. Our corrugated containers are used in the packaging of fresh fruit and vegetables, processed food, beverages, and other industrial and consumer products. Corrugated sheets are sold primarily to converting operations, which finish the sheets into corrugated container products. During the year ended December 31, 2009, our Packaging segment produced approximately 544,000 short tons of linerboard, and our Paper segment produced approximately 126,000 short tons of corrugating medium, both of which are used in the production of corrugated containers. During the year ended December 31, 2009, our corrugated container and sheet feeder plants consumed approximately 451,000 short tons of containerboard (including both linerboard and corrugating medium) or the equivalent of 67% of our containerboard production.

We operate our Packaging segment to maximize profitability through integration between our containerboard and converting operations and through operational improvements in our facilities to lower costs and improve efficiency. We plan to increase our integration levels and leverage our corrugated box position in the agricultural and food markets. We are a low-volume producer of newsprint, and we believe that our newsprint production has a low delivered cost to the southern U.S. markets. In April 2009, we announced that we had indefinitely idled the #2 newsprint machine (D-2) at our mill in DeRidder, Louisiana. The idled machine has an annual capacity of 186,000 short tons of newsprint. We continue to operate the #3 newsprint machine (D-3).