-see above links for press release and full summary
International Paper performed well for the greater part of 2008, however was hammered in the 4th quarter. While international demand is definitely slowing, and they are closing mills, this company is still the industry leader, and is the best bet in this sector when it picks back up. I like the strategy that the company is employing to deal with the downturn, and some of the main points are summarized below:
At year end, International Paper had $1.1 billion in cash and $2.5 billion in committed liquidity facilities, and increased its free cash flow in 2008 to about $1.7 billion, or about 160 percent over 2007 levels, by reducing capital spending, focusing on working capital management and reducing overhead spending. In 2009, the company is taking additional measures to improve its cash position including continuing to reduce capital spending, suspending 2009 merit raises for U.S. salaried employees and matching company contributions to the Salaried Savings Plan with shares of company stock rather than with cash.
"International Paper had a solid year overall despite a weak fourth quarter," said International Paper Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Faraci. "Free cash flow for the year was an all-time record and continued to be strong in the fourth quarter despite a severe contraction of global demand, particularly in North America. We started to take action early in 2008 and continued to focus on maintaining solid free cash flow in the current difficult environment."
I believe we should still hold on to this.