Net sales were $5.8 billion in the second quarter of 2018 compared with $5.6 billion in the first quarter of 2018 and $5.4 billion in the second quarter of 2017.
Business segment operating profits were $697 million in the second quarter of 2018 compared with $512 million in the first quarter of 2018 and $157 million in the second quarter of 2017.
"International Paper delivered a very strong second quarter and year-over-year earnings growth," says Mark Sutton, Chairman/CEO. "We had outstanding commercial performance, with sequential volume growth and price realization across our three businesses. Operationally, our global team members performed well in a heavy maintenance outage quarter and continue to work aggressively to offset higher distribution and continuing input cost pressure. We see healthy demand across our global operations and are confident in our commitment to deliver a second consecutive year of strong earnings growth."
Second quarter 2018 business segment operating profits and business trends compared with the prior quarter are as follows:
Industrial Packaging operating profits in the second quarter of 2018 were $537 million ($569 million excluding special items) compared with $437 million ($464 million excluding special items) in the first quarter of 2018. In North America, continued strong box and export containerboard demand and higher sales prices across all channels drove improved earnings. Input costs were favorable in the quarter driven by lower recovered fiber.
Global Cellulose Fibers operating profits in the second quarter of 2018 were $66 million ($69 million excluding special items) compared with $11 million ($15 million excluding special items) in the first quarter of 2018. Earnings were favorably impacted by continued price realization for fluff and commodity grades across all regions, lower planned maintenance outage expense and lower operating costs.
Printing Papers operating profits in the second quarter of 2018 were $94 million versus $64 million in the first quarter of 2018. In North America, improved earnings were driven by higher sales volume, continued price realization, better geographic mix, improved mill operations and lower input costs, which were partially offset by higher distribution and planned maintenance outage expense. In Brazil, earnings improved driven by price realization and favorable foreign currency impacts which were partially offset by the impact of a truckers' strike. In Europe and Russia, higher sales prices and favorable mix were offset by lower sales volumes due to higher planned maintenance outages and by higher input costs.