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Something finally happened. The US government imposed a 20% duty on Canadian softwood lumber imports to the United States. Everyone seems to have an opinion. For those that think this is something new, it’s not. This dispute has been going on for decades and will continue far into the future. Why, because both nations rely … Continue reading "North American Softwood Lumber: 20% Duty"
“Amcor’s products address the increasingly challenging needs of brand owners, retailers, and manufacturers who seek to differentiate their products in a highly competitive marketplace,” said Luca Zerbini, vice president of marketing, R&D and sustainability for Amcor Flexibles EMEA. “Our research and packaging development focuses on high performance, consumer appeal, product safety, digitalization, cost benefits as well sustainability advancements.”
Reducing Packaging’s Carbon Footprint by up to 40%
An example of more sustainable packaging that Amcor will share at Interpack is its AmLite line of metal-free films for high-barrier packaging. AmLite provides up to 40% carbon footprint reduction and up to 21% packaging weight reduction compared to standard Alu-based materials. AmLite utilizes Amcor’s extensive experience in high-barrier coating to create a lightweight, transparent material that offers excellent product protection. “Amcor performs product lifecycle assessments (LCAs) for our customers to help them make informed decisions when comparing packaging options,” said Gerald Rebitzer, director of sustainability for Amcor Flexibles EMEA and Americas. “Customers have been very impressed when reviewing LCA results for AmLite versus their current alu-based packaging. We've had customers switch to AmLite and reduce their packaging’s carbon footprint for nuts, coffee, cereals, and snacks by as much as thirty percent.” The latest option in the AmLite line is AmLite Ultra, which offers the highest transparent barrier levels, comparable to that of aluminum, using Amcor Ultra SiOx coating.
Lowering Packaging Costs While Preserving Flavour
Amcor will also showcase Vento™, the only coffee packaging system with built-in venting control, allowing coffee to be packed immediately after roasting with no additional equipment or processes. Vento™ eliminates hard valves, added machinery, and extra processing steps to deliver simplification and improved total cost of ownership.
Liepaja Coffee Factory, a leading coffee producer in the Baltic region, recently launched Konigstern, its first brand of ground coffee, in Vento™ packaging. “For us as a local manufacturer, it is important to emphasize that we offer freshly roasted coffee that rivals our competitors. The integrated Vento™ degassing system facilitates this by allowing us to pack immediately after roasting,” said Michael Buresh, sales director for Liepaja Coffee Factory. “Vento™ is an all-in-one option, so all we need to do is order the packaging,” explained Buresh. “The streamlined packing process also reduces downtime and cost.”
Liepaja’s new Konigstern ground coffee was rated as one of Latvia’s most successful new hot drinks of 2016.
Standing Out in the Grocery Aisle
Products on display that address differentiation will include Amcor’s CanSealPro line of direct seal aluminium membranes for cans; ProtectValve system that allows gentle in-pack steaming of fresh vegetables; and PushPop packaging, an innovative, patented stand-up pack with a novel easy-opening system that preserves barrier integrity. With PushPop, consumers simply push in the special perforation on the top and pop the pack wide open. Shelf stackable and printable on the entire surface, PushPop guarantees optimal in-store display and improves consumer convenience for snacking, sharing and on-the-go consumption. Amcor’s PushPop has won broad consumer acceptance for a range of products including crisps, prepared fruit and vegetables and ready-to-eat snacks.
A total of 17 Amcor products will be on display at Interpack, representing the company’s latest innovations. Amcor materials will also appear in live processing demonstrations at various machine manufacturers’ booths.
During Interpack Amcor will also assemble some of the industry’s leading packaging experts for the “Big Ideas” speaking events and panel discussions (taking place in the Amcor room Hall1/ 111). The Big Ideas sessions will provide Amcor customers and partners an opportunity to discuss key industry topics and connect with experts from Mintel, Neilson, IDEO and McKinsey, among others.
For more information download the Amcor Event Guide (PDF): bit.ly/2pHdAdL and go to: www.amcor.com/Interpack
About Liepaja Coffee Factory
Liepaja Coffee Factory, based in Liepaja, Latvia, is one of the leading suppliers of instant and ground coffee in the Baltic region. The company, founded in 1972, recently introduced its first ground coffee product, Konigstern, a premium brand utilizing the Vento™ packaging system from Amcor Flexibles. Liepaja sells its coffee products in the Baltic region and exports to the U.K. and Ukraine. In 2016, the company completed an expansion costing more than one million euros. The company renovated and added equipment to the instant coffee production line and launched a roasted and ground coffee manufacturing line. The projects were supported by the Latvian Investment and Development Agency and European Regional Development Fund. For more information, visit www.liepajaskafija.lv.
Amcor Limited (ASX: AMC; www.amcor.com) is a global leader in responsible packaging solutions, focusing on a broad range of flexible and rigid plastic packaging that enhances the products consumers use in everyday life, with 95 percent of its sales into the food, beverage, healthcare and tobacco industries. The company employs more than 31,000 people worldwide, operating in 40-plus countries and across more than 190 sites.
For further information, including interviews please contact:
Amcor Flexibles EMEA
Marketing Communications Manager
T: +41 44 316 1920
In contrast to years past, the 2017 Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) Convention in early April revealed a markedly new tone – one that was more forestry informed, and, as it appeared more supportive. The Convention opened with a formal welcome and presentation commemorating the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Coast Forest Products Association (CFPA) and AVICC (see news …
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There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
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April 28, 2017 — COLLEGE STATION, Texas — In Texas, the official state Arbor Day celebration is held in a different host city each year on the first Friday in November. Today, on National Arbor Day, Texas A&M Forest Service revealed that this year’s state celebration will be hosted in Grand Prairie, Texas. Acro
The Embera Chamí indigenous people of the Resguardo Cañamomo Lomaprieta, an indigenous reserve located in the municipalities of Riosucio and Supia in Colombia, know all too well that when it comes to protecting their territory and upholding their rights, they need to move forward autonomously.
Their small land base of only 4,826 hectares for a population of 20,790 living in 32 communities, has been carved up into mining concessions issued unilaterally by the state to companies and individuals interested in the rich gold deposits located in the Resguardo. Their water sources are also threatened from growing population pressure and encroachment by nearby urban centres. Yet the Resguardo is moving forward to protect their territory, their minerals resources and their waters.
“We might have a small land base,” said the Chief Governor of the Resguardo, Arnobia Moreno, “but we are doing everything to protect it not only from the invasion of outsiders interested in plundering our gold, but also to make sure that the little land we have, and our bountiful water sources, are protected for our future generations, and for our very survival.”
That’s why in honour of Earth Day 2017, community women, children and men gathered on one of their sacred mountains, the Cerro Sinifana, to honour the guardian spirits of the mountain, and to plant over 1,300 trees. Indeed, the Resguardo has engaged in an ambitious reforestation campaign to protect its 415 water sources (in 2016 the communities planted 20,451 trees), and encourage biodiversity while increasing food security.
There are other examples of autonomous actions of territorial defence. For example, the Resguardo has established its own rules and regulations protecting the ancestral mining its people have engaged in since before the formation of the Colombian state. Traditional authorities have banned harmful substances such as cyanide and mercury, while requiring environmental management plans. And they have declared the territory a ‘no-go’ zone for large-scale mining.
“We need to move forward autonomously to protect our territory, because this is our homeland, and the state has done nothing to protect our rights,” said the Resguardo’s Natural Resources Programme Coordinator and former Chief Governor Héctor Jaime Vinasco. “In fact, quite the contrary: the state has run roughshod over our territorial rights, ignoring our very title as one of the oldest indigenous reserves established by the Spanish Crown.”
Indeed, the Resguardo recently won a precedent-setting Constitutional Court Case, made public late January 2017, ordering the state to delimit the Resguardo’s ancestral lands, and to recognise the legitimacy of the Traditional Authorities to regulate their own mining, among other orders. Yet to date, there has been no action to implement these.
“Even though we sent our highest authorities to meet with representatives from the National Lands Agency in Bogotá to spur action on the Court’s orders to delimit our traditional territory, our delegation was stood up,” said Vinasco. “And nothing has been done.”
And he added: “We won’t give up. We will keep on pushing for the delimitation and protection of our territories. Even if we have to do it ourselves.”
New Zealand log supply will likely be curbed by recent stormy weather, as cyclones dented local production and disrupted sea freight.
“Rain and wind from the ex-Cyclones Debbie and Cook lashed the central and lower North Island in the past fortnight, slowing production rates and causing damage to trees,” AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said in his monthly forestry market report. “This should slow offerings to the market, but will obviously only benefit those not impacted by the weather.”
AgriHQ’s Brick noted that the East Coast and Hawke’s Bay were significantly impacted, areas which account for about 17 percent of the country’s pine plantations. The stormy weather conditions also caused havoc to sea conditions, forcing at least one ship to cancel its booked shipments to and from New Zealand, and delaying many other shipments, Brick said.
“Ultimately, this will curb April export volumes,” Brick said. Brick’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers showed prices were little changed this month. Domestically, structural log prices for S1 logs remained at $122 a tonne, while roundwood log prices held at $92 a tonne. Pruned logs were more varied, with the P1 price lifting $2 a tonne to $179 a tonne while lesser quality types were stable or weaker.
In the export market, all measured grades were either stable or marginally firmer, with A-grade logs fetching $126 a tonne and export pruned logs at $165 a tonne. AgriHQ noted that shipping rates to China had lifted and shipping capacity was more difficult to secure than earlier in the year.
“Commodity trading between Australia and eastern Asia, particularly in iron ore and grain, is keeping capacity active in the Pacific,” Brick said. “Weather conditions in the wake of Cyclones Debbie and Cook are also limiting sea freight options.
“There is an increasing belief that once commodity exports out of Australia settle, shipping rates will begin to weaken again.”
The post 28 Apr 2017 | NZ log volumes hurt by recent stormy weather appeared first on International Forest Industries.
Sawmilling tech series ready for September 2017
Two years ago – over two weeks – FIEA’s WoodTECH conference series achieved a record turnout of sawmilling companies drawn from throughout Australia and New Zealand. Over 350 delegates from all major sawmilling companies in the region in addition to leading technology providers from throughout Australasia, North America and Europe converged on Melbourne, Australia and Rotorua, New Zealand.
Two years later, in September 2017, WoodTECH 2017 will again be attracting scanning and sawing technology specialists, innovators and leading practitioners from around the world. The two-day programmes will provide;
- New Technology Updates.
A focused and independent platform will showcase the very latest in wood scanning, sawmilling, and mill optimisation technologies from around the globe. This will be achieved through a series of tailored presentations and on-site exhibitions.
Key companies involved in longer presentations include; USNR, US/Canada, Autolog, Canada, HewSaw, Finland, MiCROTEC, Italy, ScanWare, Sweden, JoeScan, USA. Shorter tech updates by local and international suppliers along with exhibitions are also planned.
- World Class Workshops.
For the first time in Australia and New Zealand, a series of practical workshops have been set up for local mills. They’re aimed at sawmill production and operational staff. They’ll provide a unique insight into how sawmills can extract the best performance out of their saws, their machine centers and sawing operations. Workshops of between 60-120 minutes are being given on;
– Quality & lumber size control
– Troubleshooting and improving bandmill, gang and board edger performance
– Selecting, operating and maintaining log carriage and optimiser (softwood and hardwood) operations)
– Sawguide selection, installation, operation and maintenance
The objective this year is to encourage sawmill teams – management, mill production, saw-doctors and maintenance staff – to take advantage of the line-up of international specialists being brought into the region to work alongside local mills. This will ensure that teams can collectively put the practical learnings into practice once back on site.
Workshop presenters include; Nick Barrett, SiCam Systems, Canada, Joe Shields, USNR, USA, Harry Penn, USNR, Canada, Marv Bernhagen, Lewis Controls, USA, Chuck Boaz, Corley Manufacturing, USA Ralph Wijesinghe, (Author of the Bandmill Book),Canada Josh Bergen, Precision Manufacturing, Canada, Udo Jahn, Modern Engineering, Canada.
A series of key international tech providers are also now being lined up as part of the TECH talks sessions in the programme on both sides of the Tasman.
Full details on the programme in both countries and each of the workshops can now be found on the event website, www.woodtech.events.
The post 28 Apr 2017 | Sawmilling tech series ready for September 2017 appeared first on International Forest Industries.
The Trump administration has fired the first broadside in its battle against bilateral trade imbalances. And its aim was not what most people expected. Canada, not China, is the target of the Trump trade team’s wrath.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has just announced a new 20% tariff on imports of Canadian softwood lumber. The US currently imports about $5.66 billion worth of softwood lumber from Canada every year. It is an essential input for the American construction and home repair industries.
This move is ostensibly in response to a petition from American lumber producers, who have long complained that Canada’s system of “stumpage” (charges for logging on Canada’s government-owned lands) amounts to an unfair subsidy.
The US has never managed to prove that Canada’s pricing is unfair: it has lost legal challenges at the World Trade Organisation and under NAFTA. But American lumber producers continue to complain, and American governments continue to launch futile legal action against Canada in response to their complaints. Viewed in this light, this move simply looks like yet another attempt to pacify American lumber producers.
But anyone who was paying attention to Trump’s pronouncements even before he was elected would have seen this coming. Canada was the first of six countries listed by Peter Navarro and Wilbur Ross as the primary “cause” of the USA’s trade deficit.
Consider that roughly half of our trade deficit is with just six countries: Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. If we look at the bilateral relationships of America with each of these countries, improvement in our trade balance is clearly achievable through some combination of increased exports and reduced imports, albeit after some tough, smart negotiations – an obvious Trump strength.
The paper from which this quotation comes was issued in September 2016. It is the blueprint for President Trump’s trade policy. It was therefore always inevitable that Canada would be targeted for protectionist measures. And given the long-running dispute between Canada and the USA over softwood lumber pricing, the lumber industry was bound to be first in line. It will not be the last.
Canada’s response to Secretary Ross’s announcement was prompt and robust:
– The Government of Canada disagrees strongly with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to impose an unfair and punitive duty. The accusations are baseless and unfounded…..
– The Government of Canada will vigorously defend the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber industry, including through litigation. In ruling after ruling since 1983, international tribunals have disproved the unfounded subsidy and injury allegations from the U.S. industry. We have prevailed in the past and we will do so again.
– Battle is joined. Though given the US’s stated intention to renegotiate NAFTA, and its threat to bypass WTO dispute resolution, it is difficult to see which international tribunals could now arbitrate. Canada could end up having to tolerate a level of tariff that it considers unfair, because the alternative is a highly damaging trade war. Sometimes it is better to put up with bullying.
Photo : Courtesy
Highway Trailers & Loggers
Contact: Brad French Phone: 604-855-7544
Toll Free: 1-800-661-3406
Magnum Trailer and Equipment Inc. 660 Riverside Rd. Abbotsford, BC, Canada V2S 7M6
The post 28 Apr 2017 | Trump’s tariff on Canadian Softwood Lumber slammed appeared first on International Forest Industries.
Sawmills in Quebec and Ontario are running at record high levels, resulting in difficulty finding outlets for generated residuals, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review
Record high production at sawmills in Ontario and Quebec in 2016 has generated large volumes of residues in the two provinces, reports the North American Wood Fiber Review. In the past that would have been good news for the local pulp industry, but with a declining pulp and paper sector, many sawmills are finding it difficult to sell their byproduct locally.
Sawmills in Eastern Canada have been running at record high levels in 2016, with production reaching levels almost ten percent higher than in 2015 and almost 40 percent higher than five years ago. This has been very good news to the forest industry, with sawmills running at 97% operating rates in late 2016, according to the WWPA. However, there are also worrisome developments regarding the large volumes of residual chips that are being generated and where the chips can be sold.
The pulp sector has been the key consumer of residuals in the past, but with a shrinking pulp industry in both Ontario and Quebec, there are concerns that sawmills in the region might be forced to limit production levels because it may be difficult to sell off the large volumes of chips that are being produced.
Despite the oversupply of residues in Quebec, wood chip prices have not changed much over the past few years in Canadian dollar terms. Most contract prices for residues are set on an annual basis and after four years of practically unchanged prices, they fell almost five percent in the 1Q/17. It is likely that prices will decline in the future but this will not necessarily solve the problem with access to chips in the province. Either new production capacity needs to be added (e.g. wood pulp, pellets, composite panels or bio-based products), or sawmills will have to find other outlets for their chips outside the province. Alternatively, sawmills might have to reduce production levels in the future.
Although the latter alternative would be less desirable for both the domestic forest industry and for lumber consumers in the US to which much of the lumber is exported, it could still be a reality later this year. If the new US softwood lumber import tariff is implemented at such a high rate that it reduces the profitability of the lumber companies in the two provinces, it is likely to result in reduced production levels and thus declining supply of residual chips to find a home for.
The North American Wood Fiber Review has tracked wood fiber markets in the US and Canada for over 30 years and it is the only publication that includes prices for sawlogs, pulpwood, wood chips, pellet feedstock and biomass in North America. The 36-page quarterly report includes wood market updates for 15 regions on the continent in addition to the latest export statistics for sawlogs, lumber, wood pellets and wood chips.
The post 28 Apr 2017 | Global Timber and Wood Products Market Update appeared first on International Forest Industries.
Balance sheet remained strong; net debt to operational EBITDA improved to 2.0 (2.2)
The ramp-up of Beihai Mill is proceeding ahead of plan, and the first commercial volumes of liquid packaging board and CUK (coated unbleached kraftboard) were delivered to customers.
Stora Enso's CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström comments on the first quarter 2017 results:
“Year 2017 had a promising start and our transformation into a renewable materials growth company is progressing well. I am pleased that our sales have increased for the first time since 2012. Excluding the paper business, sales increased 9.7%, primarily due to the ramp-ups of Beihai consumer board, Murów and Varkaus (board and LVL) mills.
Operational EBIT decreased by EUR 33 million mainly due to lower hardwood pulp and paper prices, ramp-up of Beihai, Varkaus and Murów mills, and other transformational costs, such as innovation and growth investments. Looking beyond these temporary costs, the underlying business shows good progress and strong promise for the future. Our balance sheet continues to strengthen. Yes, we are on the right track towards our transformation to a renewable materials growth company.
The ramp-up of Beihai Mill is proceeding ahead of plan. An important step for us, the first commercial volumes of liquid packaging board and CUK (coated unbleached kraftboard) were delivered to our customers during the quarter. Additional transformation steps include the ramp-ups of kraftliner and the production line for wooden building components (LVL) at Varkaus Mill.
We continue to invest to meet growing customer demand globally. We are investing EUR 28 million in our Heinola Fluting Mill in Finland. The investment contributes to improved quality and production capacity of our AvantFlute SC by Stora Enso; a Semi-Chemical fluting which endure demanding conditions. The timing of this investment is ideal, as we expect increased demand for high quality fluting products used for food, fruit and vegetable packaging.
We have started co-determination negotiations with our employees at Kvarnsveden Mill in Sweden regarding the plan to reorganise the mill. As we have announced earlier, this includes a permanent closure of paper machine 8 by the end of the second quarter of 2017. The entire plan would result in annual cost savings of EUR 12 million, and contribute to the mill’s competitiveness.
During the quarter, we had a very positive experience as the main sponsor of the Centenary Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland. It was a great opportunity for us to show, how everything that is made with fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. Renewable wood-based materials are one essential way to help reduce the carbon footprint of any event. We had 8 000 customers, suppliers, investors and employees on site, which contributed to a very memorable event celebrating Finland’s 100th anniversary year of independence.
As always, I would like to thank our customers for their business, our employees for their dedication, and our investors for their trust.”
1) Press conference in Helsinki at 13.15 Finnish time
Stora Enso’s CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström and CFO Seppo Parvi will present the results in a press conference hosted by EVP Communications Ulrika Lilja. The conference will be webcast live. The event will be held in English and take place at the Marina Congress Center, Katajanokanlaituri 6, Helsinki at 13.15 EEST (12.15 CEST). The webcast may be accessed at https://storaenso.videosync.fi/2017-04-27-q1
2) Webcast and conference call for analysts and investors at 14.30 Finnish time
The webcast and conference call for analysts and investors will take place at 14.30 EEST (13.30 CEST, 12.30 UK time, 07.30 EST). It will be hosted by CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström, CFO Seppo Parvi, and SVP Head of Investor Relations Ulla Paajanen-Sainio, and may be accessed at http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/kyd2jb3r
Those analysts and investors who wish to ask questions should join the conference call (details below). All participants can follow the presentation over the webcast.
The links to the webcasts are also available on the Stora Enso website: storaenso.com/investors
Dial-in details for the analyst and investor conference call
Live event at 14.30 EEST
UK +44(0)20 3140 8286
Finland +358 (0)9 6937 9543
Sweden +46 (0)8 5065 3938
USA +1 646 254 3361
Confirmation Code: 8352580
For further information, please contact:
Seppo Parvi, CFO, tel. +358 2046 21205
Ulla Paajanen-Sainio, SVP, Investor Relations, tel. +358 40 763 8767
Ulrika Lilja, EVP, Communications, tel. +46 72 221 9228
This release is a summary of Stora Enso’s Interim Report January–March 2017. The complete report is attached to this release as a pdf file. It is also available on the company website at storaenso.com/investors.
Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden constructions and paper on global markets. Our aim is to replace fossil-based materials by innovating and developing new products and services based on wood and other renewable materials. We employ some 25 000 people in more than 35 countries, and our sales in 2016 were EUR 9.8 billion. Stora Enso shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki (STEAV, STERV) and Nasdaq Stockholm (STE A, STE R). In addition, the shares are traded in the USA as ADRs (SEOAY). storaenso.com
Excluding items listed below, the Company had earnings before items1 of $20 million ($0.32 per share) for the first quarter of 2017 compared to earnings before items1 of $47 million ($0.75 per share) for the fourth quarter of 2016 and earnings before items1 of $22 million ($0.35 per share) for the first quarter of 2016.
First quarter 2017 items:
Fourth quarter 2016 items:
Closure and restructuring impact of $(1) million ($(1) million after tax); and
Negative impact of purchase accounting of $1 million ($1 million after tax).
First quarter 2016 items:
Closure and restructuring costs of $2 million ($2 million after tax); and
Impairment of property, plant & equipment of $21 million ($16 million after tax).
“The Ashdown mill continued to focus its efforts on the production and quality of fluff pulp; we shipped primarily softwood bales in the quarter, but we are making good progress with the qualification of our grades and we’re receiving positive feedback from our customers,” said John D. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our pulp business is growing and becoming more meaningful. We’ve shipped nearly 25% more tons when compared to the same quarter last year, and current initiatives will support continued profitable growth. Our nearly 2 million tons of high-quality softwood, fluff and specialty market pulp capacity provides us with a scale business that will add momentum to our growth strategy for years to come.”
Mr. Williams added, “In Personal Care, strong sales growth and operational improvements in the first quarter continue to offset currency, price and cost headwinds. We are focusing our efforts on rolling out our growth plans, capturing the benefits of our cost savings program and building value for our customers to effectively compete in this competitive environment. Our sales pipeline remains active with numerous opportunities to grow in both North America and Europe.”
Operating income was $42 million in the first quarter of 2017 compared to an operating income of $74 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. Depreciation and amortization totaled $80 million in the first quarter of 2017.
Operating income before items1 was $42 million in the first quarter of 2017 compared to an operating income before items1 of $74 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
(In millions of dollars) 1Q 2017 4Q 2016
Sales $ 1,304 $ 1,274
Operating income (loss)
Pulp and Paper segment 34 74
Personal Care segment 16 13
Corporate (8 ) (13 )
Total operating income 42 74
Operating income before items1 42 74
Depreciation and amortization 80 85
The decrease in operating income in the first quarter of 2017 was the result of higher maintenance costs, lower productivity, lower average selling prices and higher raw material and other costs. These factors were partially offset by higher volume, lower selling, general and administrative expenses and favorable exchange rates.
When compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, manufactured paper shipments were up 1% and pulp shipments increased 9%. The shipments-to-production ratio for paper was 105% in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 104% in the fourth quarter of 2016. Paper inventories decreased by 36,000 tons and pulp inventories decreased by 61,000 metric tons when compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.
LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL
Cash flow from operating activities amounted to $91 million and capital expenditures were $34 million, resulting in free cash flow1 of $57 million for the first quarter of 2017. Domtar’s net debt-to-total capitalization ratio1 stood at 30% at March 31, 2017 and at December 31, 2016.
For the remainder of the year, we anticipate paper shipments to be in-line with market demand. We expect to benefit from recently announced pulp price increases, while mix should continue to improve as we convert to more fluff pulp sales at our Ashdown mill. Costs, including freight, labor and chemicals are expected to marginally increase. In Personal Care, market growth, investments in advertising and promotion in addition to new customer wins should drive higher sales, while raw material costs are expected to marginally increase.
EARNINGS CONFERENCE CALL
The Company will hold a conference call today at 10:00 a.m. (ET) to discuss its first quarter 2017 financial results. Financial analysts are invited to participate in the call by dialing 1 (800) 499-4035 (toll free - North America) or 1 (416) 204-9269 (International) at least 10 minutes before start time, while media and other interested individuals are invited to listen to the live webcast on the Domtar Corporation website at www.domtar.com.
The Company will release its second quarter 2017 earnings results on July 27, 2017 before markets open, followed by a conference call at 10:00 a.m. (ET) to discuss results. The date is tentative and will be confirmed approximately three weeks prior to the official earnings release date.
Domtar is a leading provider of a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication, specialty and packaging papers, market pulp and absorbent hygiene products. With approximately 10,000 employees serving more than 50 countries around the world, Domtar is driven by a commitment to turn sustainable wood fiber into useful products that people rely on every day. Domtar’s annual sales are approximately $5.1 billion, and its common stock is traded on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges. Domtar’s principal executive office is in Fort Mill, South Carolina. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.