Resolute Forest Products Inc. reported net income for the quarter ended March 31 of $87 million, or $1.06 per diluted share, compared to net loss of $1 million, or $0.01 per share, in the same period in 2020.
Sales were $873 million in the quarter, an increase of $184 million from the year-ago period. Excluding special items, the company reported net income of $119 million, or $1.45 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $29 million, or $0.33 per share, in the first quarter of 2020.
The company reported operating income of $177 million, compared to $4 million in the fourth quarter. The improvement reflects higher selling prices in all segments ($148 million), partially offset by lower overall shipments ($23 million), and a higher share-based and variable compensation provision ($7 million). The company also incurred a charge of $12 million related to a process improvement program to improve the financial performance of the Calhoun (Tennessee) operations.
Remi G. Lalonde, president and chief executive officer, said: "This has been a very good quarter for our strong and growing wood products business as the lumber tailwind continues. We are making good progress with the ramp-up at our El Dorado (Arkansas) and Ignace (Ontario) sawmills, both of which are now running on two-shifts, helping to increase production in favorable markets. Our balance sheet got stronger and our business more competitive this quarter with the timely refinancing and deleveraging of our senior notes, the refresh of our senior secured credit facility and the approximately $30 million in annual free cash flow improvement once the implementation guidance for U.S. pension relief measures take effect. These moves will support our progress as we continue to accelerate our evolution to generate long-term value for shareholders and to drive sustainable economic activity in the communities where we operate."
Resolute Forest Products is a global leader in the forest products industry with a diverse range of products, including market pulp, tissue, wood products and papers.