Koppers Holdings posts fourth-quarter net loss

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Koppers Holdings reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $4.1 million, or 20 cents per share, and said its profits took a hit largely because of restructuring costs that include shuttering plants and reducing its workforce.

The loss compared to net income of $13.6 million, or 65 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Fourth-quarter sales fell by 9 percent to $341.8 million. Sales of railroad and utility products dipped by 3 percent, the Downtown-based company said, as a result of lower volumes for railroad crossties and increased competition from hardwood lumber suppliers. Sales in the carbon and chemicals unit fell 12 percent because of lower volumes and prices that resulted from reduced aluminum production in the U.S. and excess supplies in Europe and the Middle East, Koppers said.

Adjusted net income for the quarter -- not including restructuring charges of $13 million -- fell to $9 million, or 44 cents per share, from $13.9 million, or 66 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Adjusted income was well below analysts’ average estimates of 61 cents per share. Quarterly sales also missed analysts’ estimates of $379 million.

For all of 2013, net income was $40.4 million, or $1.94 per share, down from $65.6 million, or $3.13 per share in 2012. Sales for 2013 slipped 5 percent to $1.48 billion, from $1.56 billion in 2012. Revenues from railroad products were up 3 percent for the year -- mainly due to the acquisition of a utility pole business in Australia at the end of 2012, Koppers said. Carbon and chemical sales fell by 9 percent for all of 2013.

Adjusted income for the year fell to $54.1 million, or $2.60 per share, missing analysts’ average estimate of $2.77 per share. For all of 2012, adjusted income was $68.7 million, or $3.27 per share.

Walt Turner, Koppers’ president and chief executive, said a higher tax rate also hurt fourth-quarter adjusted income. He projected that steps to restructure the business -- including closing a plant in the Netherlands and cutting jobs at a plant in Follansbee, W.Va., should result in pre-tax savings of $9 million in 2014 and $11 million per year beginning in 2015.

Joyce Gannon: jgannon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1580.

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