Packaging Corporation's Buyouts Aid Growth Amid Rising Costs

On Dec 26, we issued an updated research report on Packaging Corporation of AmericaPKG . The company is poised to gain from the Sacramento Container acquisition, growth in e-commerce and progress in the DeRidder mill. However, higher annual outage costs are expected to affect results.

Sacramento Container Acquisition to Propel Growth

Earlier this October, Packaging Corporation acquired the assets of Sacramento Container. This buyout is likely to boost Packaging Corporation's operations both geographically and strategically. Further, the customer-focused employees and strong management teams of Sacramento Container, Northern Sheets and Central California Sheets are in sync with Packaging Corporation's growth strategy.

Growth in e-commerce to Boost Results

e-commerce is an important part of Packaging Corporation's business. The company anticipates increase in demand for boxes, which is generally driven by e-commerce growth. These days customers find a lot of different channels to sell through, including e-commerce. The company has a wide base of customers. Hence, it expects to grow along with them through its e-commerce segment.

Progress in DeRidder mill

Packaging Corporation's year-over-year production in 2017 has been benefiting from the projects of the DeRidder mill improvements on both DeRidder No. 1 and DeRidder No. 3. The company's other mills also continue to gain from continued attention on improving the mills' efficiencies. Thus, it estimates total production to be up probably 150,000 tons in 2017 over the prior year.

Higher Outage Costs to Hurt Earnings

Packaging Corporation reaffirmed total property damage and business interruption losses, including capital cost related to the DeRidder incident, in the range of $20-$25 million for 2017. Also, the company's planned annual maintenance outages for the balance of the year remain unchanged from the previous guidance.

It estimates outage costs to be 12 cents per share in the fourth quarter, higher than the third quarter, due to scheduled annual maintenance work at two containerboard mills and two paper mills. Considering these, Packaging Corporation projects fourth-quarter earnings of $1.50 per share.

Share Price Performance

Packaging Corporation has outperformed its industry with respect to price performance over the past year. The stock has gained around 41%, while the industry has recorded growth of 16.7% during the same time frame.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Packaging Corporation currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the same sector are Deere & Company DE , Kennametal Inc. KMT and Sonoco Products Company SON . While Deere and Kennametal flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Sonoco carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Deere has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 8.2%. Year to date, its shares have rallied 54%.

Kennametal has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 8.3%. Shares of the company have surged 55.2%, year to date.

Sonoco has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 4.7%. The stock has gained 1% during the same time frame.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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