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RockTenn Sees Q2 Earnings Below Estimates - Update

RockTenn Co. (RKT) Friday forecast adjusted earnings per share for its second quarter below analysts' consensus estimates. However, the packaging products maker continues to expect significant earnings improvement beginning in fourth quarter of 2012 and the first and second quarters of fiscal 2013.

James Rubright, chairman and chief executive officer of the company said the earnings improvement will begin "when we complete our major projects at the Hodge and Hopewell mills and begin to realize the benefit of the $480 million in capital expenditures we are making this year to reduce operating costs and improve the performance of our operations."

The company expects to report second-quarter earnings in the range of $0.35 to $0.40 per share. On an adjusted basis, excluding items, earnings are expected to be between $0.85 and $0.95 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect second-quarter earnings of $1.12 per share. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

RockTenn said its estimated earnings per share exclude nearly $0.50 per share of restructuring costs and loss on extinguishment of debt. The loss on extinguishment of debt is mainly related to redemption of its $300 million 9.25 percent Senior Notes due March 2016.

Restructuring and other costs are mainly due to facility closure charges in connection with the February 2012 closure of its Matane, Quebec corrugated medium mill.

RockTenn sees a decline in its second-quarter adjusted earnings per share compared to the fiscal first quarter, due to the impact of about 149,000 additional tons of economic and maintenance downtime at its containerboard mills.

In its first quarter, the company had reported a decline in profit, reflecting lower margins and maintenance outage expenses, despite tripling of revenues due to contribution from the Smurfit-Stone acquisition. Adjusted net income for the quarter was $85.2 million or $1.18 per share.

RKT closed Thursday's regular trading at $71.41 on the NYSE.

by RTT Staff Writer

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