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Fly News Breaks for February 28, 2020
Feb 28, 2020 | 08:23 EDT
Stephens analyst Mark Connelly noted that some paper companies were raising their "already-high" dividends as containerboard prices headed toward peak levels and that some of these producers are already struggling to meet cash commitments following modest price cuts. As a group, he contends that paper companies "should take a closer look" at their dividend policies, although he acknowledges they are not "in trouble" financially. On specific companies, Connelly noted that Packaging Corp. (PKG) "didn't get caught up in the dividend hike fad," adding that although WestRock (WRK) may be more levered, International Paper (IP) has had to stop buying back stock "only a few quarters after promising to be a more consistent buyer." Given recent price cuts in both recycled and bleached board grades, Connelly has cut his estimates for Graphic Packaging and WestRock, he noted.