Rock-Tenn Soars as First-Quarter Profit Beats: Atlanta Mover

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Rock-Tenn Co., the second-largest U.S. maker of corrugated shipping boxes, rose the most in more than a year after posting fiscal first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates.

Rock-Tenn rose 8.1 percent to $80.03 at the close in New York, the most since Aug. 9, 2011.

Net income in the three months ended Dec. 31 rose to $86 million, or $1.18 a share, from $76.7 million, or $1.06, spurred by higher prices for container board and shipping boxes, the Norcross, Georgia-based company said today in a statement. Profit excluding restructuring costs was $1.35 a share, topping the $1.27 average of 11 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“Rock-Tenn has been struggling in recent quarters” as it has sought to reap improved operating efficiencies from its 2011 acquisition of shipping-box maker Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., Mark Connelly, a New York-based analyst at Credit Agricole Securities USA Inc., said today in an e-mail. “These results suggest that the worst is over.”

The company expects full-year free cash flow of about $700 million, up from an earlier forecast of $650 million to $675 million, “on our improving performance and our outlook for the remainder of the year,” Chief Executive Officer James Rubright said today on a conference call.

International Paper Co., based in Memphis, Tennessee, is the largest U.S. maker of corrugated shipping boxes, according to a presentation on Rock-Tenn’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Donville in Vancouver at cjdonville@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net