Lost in last week’s merger news between packaging giants MeadWestvaco Corp. and Rock-Tenn Co. was a strong earnings report from MeadWestvaco, including record sales and earnings for its North Charleston-based specialty chemicals division.
Revenue in specialty chemicals increased 6.2 percent year-over-year to just more than $1 billion while income jumped to $242 million — 5.6 percent higher than 2013. MeadWestvaco announced last month that it plans to spin off its fast-growing specialty chemicals division into a separate company by the end of this year. The division makes wood-based chemicals that are used in printing inks, asphalt paving and adhesives.
“Our strong packaging and specialty chemicals results reinforce the benefits of the market-focused strategies we have established in each business,” John Luke, the company’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We are confident our packaging and specialty chemicals businesses will continue to be successful and contribute to long-term shareholder value creation as new companies.”
MeadWestvaco’s community development and land management division, based in Summerville, nearly tripled sales from 2013 to $58 million while turning a $6 million profit in 2014. The division lost $14 million in 2013. The improvement was driven by increased sales and earnings from real estate development projects in the Charleston area.
Through all business sectors, MeadWestvaco revenues increased 4 percent year-over-year to $5.63 billion, beating analysts’ estimates.
Richmond, Va.-based MeadWestvaco last week announced a $16 billion merger with Rock-Tenn of Norcross, Ga., that will create one of the world’s largest providers of consumer and corrugated packaging materials. The deal, expected to close by July 1, would give MeadWestvaco shareholders 50.1 percent ownership of the new company, which has not yet been named.
Tokyo-based All Nippon Airways last week said it will buy three 787-10 Dreamliners, to be made exclusively at Boeing Co.’s plant in North Charleston, to add additional flexibility to the airline’s 787 fleet. The agreement is valued at about $1.4 billion at current list prices.
All Nippon Airways has taken delivery of 34 Dreamliners, with another 46 on order.
The 787-10 is the third and longest member of the Dreamliner airplanes, which are made with lightweight carbon composite materials that boost fuel efficiency.